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HISTORY

In 1996, the Mas family established a scholarship whose purpose is to advance the education of talented young Cuban and Cuban American men and women, furthering their commitment to promoting the benefits and opportunities that can be garnered through hard work in a free society.  Since its establishment, over 160 students have been able to obtain a college education thanks to the Mas Family Scholarship, making it the largest scholarship program for students of Cuban descent. Many of these students have gone on to become leaders in their respective communities, reflecting the potential of what individuals can achieve given the freedom and opportunity to do so.

The Mas Family Scholarships are an initiative of the Jorge Mas Canosa Freedom Foundation, whose mission is the advancement and preservation of Jorge Mas Canosa’s legacy: love of God, family and homeland; the dignity of human life; the ideals of freedom and democracy; and the education of future generations in the appreciation of these ideals.

Jorge Mas

JMS

Jorge Mas is a business leader, entrepreneur, philanthropist and an active defender of human rights.

Mr. Mas is Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of MasTec, Inc. (NYSE:MTZ) and has been involved in all phases of the firm’s development since its creation in 1994. Mr. Mas began his career at Church and Tower, MasTec’s predecessor in 1984. MasTec is a $3.6 billion revenue  network infrastructure contractor employing over 12,000 individuals in six distinct business lines; Power Generation and Industrial Renewable, Natural Gas and Oil Pipeline, Electrical Transmission, Wireless, Wireline Utility Services and DirecTV Install to the home.

In 1990 Mr. Mas founded Neff Corporation (NYSE:NFF) a provider of rental construction and utility equipment. He led and oversaw this business’ growth from a single store in South Florida to over 80 branches nationwide, becoming one of the 5 largest firms of its type in the United States until its sale in 2005.

He is also the managing partner of a Private Equity Group which has investments in the fields of banking, aviation, healthcare, commercial real estate and fixed income trading market maker. Mr. Mas has served on over a dozen corporate boards assisting in strategic growth  and corporate governance and has lectured on topics relating to entrepreneurship, corporate strategy and how to develop and motivate leadership teams.

Mr. Mas is Chairman of the Board of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), an institution founded in 1981 dedicated to the promotion of a free and democratic Cuba.  The CANF supports the principles of respect for human rights; freedom of thought and expression; freedom of religion; the right of people to freely elect their government; the right to private property; free enterprise; and economic prosperity with social justice.

As Chairman, Mr. Mas directs the CANF’s general programs- recognized and respected nationally and internationally- promoting freedom and democracy in Cuba, while enlightening public opinion on issues of concern to Cubans, including the defense of human rights, the promotion of cultural achievements, and fighting bigotry.  Under his leadership as Chairman, the CANF has spearheaded efforts to develop an independent civil society inside Cuba, promoting a nonviolent democratic transition and economic and social development in international forums such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Polish Solidarity Labor Union, and the Civil Society World Assembly sponsored by CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation. In his travels on behalf of a democratic Cuba, he has met with multiple heads of state including Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, President Lech Walesa of Poland, President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, President Carlos Menem of Argentina, President Julio Maria Sanguinetti of Uruguay, President Martin Torrijos of Panama, President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, President Alejandro Toledo of Peru, Presidents Violeta Chamorro, Enrique Bolaños, and Arnoldo Aleman of Nicaragua, and Francisco Flores of El Salvador, advocating the release of political prisoners in Cuba and the establishment of democratic institutions. In addition, he attended the swearing in ceremonies of President Enrique Bolaños of Nicaragua and President Alejandro Toledo of Peru as part of the official delegation and has met with Nobel Peace prize recipient Vaclev Havel. Recognizing that the values of freedom, respect for human rights and the protection of institutions are above partisan politics, Mr. Mas has met with Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. Mr. Mas is a founding member of Consenso Cubano, established in Rome in 2005.

Mr. Mas has appeared on national television programs, including One on One with John McLaughlin, The McNeil-Lehrer report, Sixty Minutes, Larry King Live, Fox’s Equal Time, Frontline, Dateline NBC and the Early Morning Show with Bryant Gumble, among others. Mr. Mas has testified before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and lectured at university conferences and has written articles appearing in the Washington Post and the Miami Herald among other national publications.

Among his charitable and civic activities, he is Executive Director of the Mas Family Foundation, which currently manages a $5 million endowment funded by the Mas family that supports a vast array of charitable organizations. Conscious of the importance of an educated society in the preservation of democratic principles, Mr. Mas and his family are committed to excellence in education through the Mas Family Scholarships, a private scholarship fund for meritorious Cuban-American students of limited financial resources, of which he is Executive Director.  Since its creation in 1996, the Mas family has awarded scholarships in excess of $1.2 million benefitting over 160 young men and women.

Mr. Mas currently serves on the Board of Overseers of the University of Miami School of Business and has been active in lectures and presentations to students across the country about self-empowerment and the challenges and opportunities awaiting them in the global marketplace.

Mr. Mas has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States by Latino Leaders Magazine. He is the past recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center National Community Service Award for his contribution toward freedom. Mr. Mas received the Bravura Award for his defense of free speech.

Mr. Mas graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration in 1984 and a Master in Business Administration in 1985.

Forging Leaders for a Free Society

This speech was delivered by Jorge Mas at the inception of the Mas Family Scholarships in 1996

Today, I would like to share a personal anecdote with you. My brothers and I, since a very young age, have been stressed the importance of an education. But it was not until May 1993 that I was able to comprehend the true meaning and importance of what the gift of education is.

And that happened during my younger brother Jose’s, graduation from the masters program at the University of Miami.  As he received his diploma and walked back to his seat, I looked over to my parents; as their eyes swelled and tears poured, I did not see the pride of a parent, but the story of a couple who had to leave their homeland and start a new life in a new country. It is because of their sacrifice and unselfishness, as I remember my father putting money away for our education when times were difficult, that we received the gift of education that they could not. On behalf of my brothers, thank you!

This is an experience that is not exclusive to us, as many of you here today have had similar situations. But this would not have been possible without this community and this great country which has given so much to us.

This community has opened its arms and hearts to waves of refugees. This great country, often standing alone like a beacon in the night, has stood next to the Cuban community in our struggle for a free Cuba.

Only in America can a small, local, family business that started digging ditches in Ft. Lauderdale in 1969, be today the country’s largest telecommunications service provider with operations in Europe and Latin America. Many of you here have congratulated me for the performance of our stock and for our economic performance. The legacy of our family, however, goes beyond economics and dollars and reflects upon each and every single one of you, who through friendship and support, have paved the path that has allowed us to take advantage of all that we have today. I would especially like to note the presence of someone who is very, very special to our family: Aristides Sastre. Aristides Sastre of Republic National Bank was the person that my father went to for help in 1969. At that time, my father had no money, no collateral — only a dream. It was Aristides Sastre who offered a helping hand and loaned my father his first dollar to build Church and Tower. You, Aristides, are a great part of our success. Thank you. Thank you.

It is in this spirit of generosity that we stand before you today and announce the creation of the Mas Family Scholarships.

There is no better investment that we can make in our future than that of education than to give those who otherwise could not have it otherwise, a chance and opportunity for a college education. Our objective is to assist and contribute to the formation of our future leaders, CEO’s, publishers, doctors, and educators, and to enrich the ideals upon which this country was founded.

I was recently asked by a Herald reporter what were my personal aspirations for a free Cuba. I got a funny reaction: I told her, “I want to be president,” and she ran to publish the story before deadline. All kidding aside, my response to her was very simple. To bring back to the youth of Cuba that which was so cruelly taken by the Castro regime: hope. The ability to hope for a better future, to dream of something that they cannot capture and bring it to heart.

We hope to leave a legacy not only for Cuban-Americans in the U.S. today, but one that ensures that someday—God willing, someday soon—present and future generations of our brothers and sisters in the homeland can take advantage of the Mas Scholarships and can become the pillars and caretakers of the institutions of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and individual liberties so that these institutions become perpetually engrained in the fabric and foundation of our homeland, and that a history of 36 years of brutality and repression are never again repeated.

Our family faces many obstacles on a day-to-day basis, as the search for freedom does not come without a price.

A massive disinformation campaign, spearheaded by the government of Cuba, has been launched against our family.

We will continue to stand tall in the face of adversity and unbending and unyielding in our convictions for that which is honorable.

It is our commitment that with the same passion that we defend what is just, that our scholarship program makes this a better community.

This is our humble contribution back to a community which has given us so much.

I want to thank you all for sharing this very special day with myself and my family. May God bless you. Thank you!

SCHOLARSHIP REQUIREMENTS

Students are eligible to apply for a Mas Family Scholarship if they were born in Cuba or are of direct Cuban descent, have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, are considered financially needy (as determined by a specific formula that takes into account the applicant and their family’s financial situation in terms of how much they can contribute), and complete and submit their application with all other required materials by the specified date.

Scholarship awards are based on the applicant’s academic performance, leadership qualities, potential to contribute to the advancement of a free society, and their likelihood of success in their chosen career.

Each applicant is evaluated through three-steps of selection. A screening process analyzes and confirms their academic standing and financial need. Semi-finalists are selected based on the strength of their application. Finalists are chosen from the pool by interviews and character evaluations, and scholarships are awarded by a final selection committee.

Scholars may receive up to $32,000 over four years of college, as long as scholars maintain the prerequisites for receiving them. While full scholarships cannot be awarded to recipients receiving full-tuition scholarships and/or stipendiary support from other sources, recipients are still eligible for partial awards.

Portions of our application can be submitted online, but some sections must be sent by mail. The deadline to apply is January 16, 2015; items that are mailed in must be postmarked by that date.

HOW TO APPLY

Follow these 9 steps in order to be considered for a 2015 Mas Family Scholarship

Personal Info

Personal Info

We just need some basic information to start your application process. All information you share is confidential and will not be released to outside sources. Click here to get started!

Educational Expenses

Educational Expenses

Please send us one (1) hard copy of your school’s most recent statement regarding tuition costs for the upcoming academic year. * If undecided as to which college you will be attending, submit the tuition cost information for your top choice.

FAFSA Statement of Need

FAFSA Statement of Need

Please fill out the ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’ (FAFSA) Form, available here. Please print and submit one (1) copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Test Scores

Test Scores

If you have attended high school in the United States, you must submit either your SAT scores or your ACT scores..

Personal Essay

Personal Essay

Please answer the essay prompt found in your application packet in a clear, well organized, 1,000 word essay. It should be typed, double spaced, and either submitted here or mailed in.

Recommendations

Recommendations

In your application packet, you will find a Character Reference Sheet. Follow the instructions on the application packet in order to submit three (3) references.

Official School Transcripts

Official School Transcripts

Please send one (1) official school transcript from the Office of the Registrar at each college or university you have attended. If you are currently in high school, please send your most recent report card or grades.

Proof of Cuban Descent

Proof of Cuban Descent

If you were born in Cuba, please send in one (1) copy of your birth certificate; if you were born outside of Cuba, we will need one (1) copy of your parents’ or grandparents’ birth certificate, or a notarized affidavit.

Proof of Admission

Proof of Admission

If you are entering college this upcoming academic year, please send one (1) copy of the letter notifying us of your admission as soon as you receive it.

Contact us

Get in touch with us

If you are looking for more information on how to apply for a scholarship or how you could contribute to this program, please get in touch with our main office through one of the avenues listed.

Jorge Mas Canosa Freedom Foundation
Attn: Mas Family Scholarships
1312 S.W. 27th Ave
Miami, FL 33145

(305) 592-7768