Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Interview: Investing in Leadership and Strengthening Families

By Sandy Chase

The Future Leaders Academy has evolved over the years into the community-recognized Future Leaders Academy (FLA) Barancik Scholars.  Because of Barancik Foundation’s leadership, partnership, and unwavering support, FLA continues to flourish—turning lives around as first-generation students succeed in their postsecondary education—prerequisites to their career goals—ultimately strengthening our community and nation.

According to Luz Corcuera, UnidosNow executive director, “Barancik Foundation’s partnership has been instrumental in our success and ability to empower our hard-working and talented students and their families—promoted by visionaries Charles and Margery Barancik.” 

UnidosNow and other community nonprofits have fought hard against the onslaught of the pandemic—thanks to Barancik Foundation’s COVID -19 Response Initiative—a joint venture with Gulf Coast Community Foundation—another staunch UnidosNow ally.  

The Latino nonprofit has adapted and innovated in order to respond to these challenging circumstances. (See

Barancik Foundation President and CEO Teri A Hansen.

Barancik Foundation President and CEO Teri A Hansen set aside time to exemplify how its partnership with UnidosNow helps bolster the nonprofit’s mission.  As Barancik Foundation is proud to say, “Together, our work echoes louder.”

When and why did your organization choose to assist the nonprofit and its executive director?

Chuck Barancik built his companies’ success through sound strategic planning and investment in leadership.  In much the same way, our board of directors identifies organizations who follow the same wisdom.  It was hard to ignore the trajectory of this small but mighty nonprofit who was making incredible strides in lifting up young leaders.  After a meeting with Luz in 2018, we made our first investment.  The partnership was born.

What did that support look like?

We made an initial investment of $75,000 to support the Future Leaders Academy.  The comprehensive college-prep program includes one-on-one mentoring and assistance completing scholarship and financial-aid applications.  The support was initially to help supplement the program and focus on the students who were currently enrolled.

How was that support different from your current collaboration?

UnidosNow has always utilized a multigenerational approach to creating opportunities for their scholars.  Since that first grant in 2018, we have provided almost $700,000 in funding to bolster the program’s effectiveness.  While the focus is still on the scholars, increased and flexible funding has allowed UnidosNow to expand their efforts in assisting students’ families to help with economic stability and success.  The grants also allow UnidosNow to increase their recruitment efforts and follow the scholars further into their college and professional years.

How does UnidosNow continue to contribute to our community?

We’ve seen firsthand how UnidosNow is changing lives and opening doors, and the organization has stepped up in big ways to address the needs that COVID brought.  The organization has become a central hub for families to reach out for help and support if they have experienced lost wages or housing.  Additionally, we were proud to see some of our scholars participate in efforts to promote public health advice as well as increase young Latino voters’ participation in the electoral process.  

One of the many things we love about Luz and her staff is that they are problem solvers.  No matter what request comes up, it is always a matter of finding a solution. There’s never a “no” or a “maybe.”  Luz has been a champion for many, and I think we sleep better at night knowing there are people like her in our community.