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Hispanic Heritage Month a perfect time to inspire future generations

The Kudaka Family Hispanic Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 at the Community Foundation to support Casa Hispana’s Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to Hispanic/ Latino students in our communities pursuing a post-secondary education.   

Originally established by UMOS (United Migrant Opportunity Services), and now a core program of Casa Hispana, this quiet scholarship program has awarded upwards of $195,000 to more than 300 students since 1993. 

Mito Kudaka at a Casa Hispana scholarship event

Education has been a constant among priorities instilled in me by my family. That started with my Oji-chan (grandpa in Japanese) who, as a Japanese immigrant to Peru, became an entrepreneur, ensured his three sons not only finished high school, but also university, and even gifted them the land where each of them built their homes and raised their families.  

In the late 1990s, it was an easy decision to support the Hispanic Scholarship program, and all the great work Casa Hispana continues to do. Several years later, in 2012, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps and wanted to leave a legacy supporting the cause most important to me. This is how the Mito Kudaka Hispanic Scholarship Fund was initially established and endowed, to support this program forever. At that time, I had no idea I would find myself back in the Fox Cities. This was a way to say ‘good-bye’ and yet still have a presence. 

I served in the U.S. Peace Corps Albania for three years, where I met and married Alkida (who is from Albania), and then we moved to the Fox Cities to raise a family.  Education is also of great importance to Alkida; she just recently earned her PhD in Sociology. We renamed the fund to The Kudaka Family Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Our family is now blessed with the addition of our daughter Gwen. We continue to support Casa Hispana and the Hispanic Scholarship Program.   

During Hispanic Heritage Month we raise awareness of the contributions and richness of the generations of Hispanics in our communities and nation. Casa Hispana does indeed contribute to such richness and is a hidden gem we should support and help thrive. Their investment in education and youth has already paid great dividends serving our communities, many scholarship recipients are professionals and leaders in our communities. The Kudaka Family is honored to be a small contributor to their work. 

Pictured above: Gwen, Alkida and Mito 

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