April 13, 2022

Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Expands Native American Scholarship Program

Partnership expansion with Education Forward Arizona will support 200 Native American students

The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation recently announced an investment of $6 million to increase access to higher education for Native American students as part of an expanded partnership with Education Forward Arizona, to help 200 Native American students graduate by 2026.

This partnership expansion will support two cohorts of 100 Native American students, providing scholarships of up to $6,000 annually and support services to help them succeed in pursuing and completing a postsecondary certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree. The first cohort will be selected this fall and the second cohort in the fall of 2023.

In 2020, 29% of Native American students in Arizona were enrolled in a postsecondary institution the semester after graduating high school.

Arizona Education Progress Meter

“The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation has provided more than 374 scholarships to Native American students over the past 12 years, and we remain deeply committed to helping students from tribal communities pursue higher education,” said Freeport-McMoRan Foundation President Tracy Bame. “Arizona has the second largest population of Native American students in the country, but with attainment rates at only 18% compared with 46% for the entire state, we feel it is critical to increase the effort to ensure these students have greater opportunity to achieve higher education and the socio-economic mobility it enables.

“We are proud of our continued work with Education Forward Arizona and see the tremendous impact this partnership can have in creating resilience for individuals, families and Native American communities at large as graduates return to serve their communities in impactful ways. We are especially pleased to expand the number of scholarships so significantly from 23 in 2021 to 200 for 2022-23 and beyond, which will also include the support services that ensure these students have the best possible opportunity for success. We look forward to following and supporting their journey.”

Eligible students must be an enrolled member of one of the qualifying Tribal Nations which include Hualapai Tribe, Navajo Nation, San Carlos Apache Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe and Tohono O’odham Nation. While priority will be given to students from these five tribes, enrolled members of nine additional Tribal Nations are also eligible which include Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Hopi Tribe, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Tonto Apache Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe and Zuni Pueblo.

“This is an exciting time to expand our support to Native American students across Arizona, and this program will be an important contributor to achieving one of our main objectives of increasing the state attainment rate, particularly among underserved populations,” said Vince Roig, Chairman of the Board, Education Forward Arizona. “Thank you to The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation for their partnership and investment in moving education forward in Arizona.”

April Victor, 2021-2022 Freeport-McMoRan scholarship recipient.

April Victor, a recent scholarship recipient, knows what the Freeport McMoRan scholarship will mean to other Native American students.

“I was just hired by the local hospital on my reservation as part of the IT department,” said Victor, a San Carlos Apache Tribe member and recent Arizona Central College graduate.

“I wanted to thank Freeport-McMoRan and Education Forward Arizona for giving me the opportunity to complete my final semester under the scholarship program…I am beyond grateful!”

Watch her recent interview with Arizona’s Family here.

As the scholarship administrator, Education Forward Arizona will manage the application process, select and award the scholarship recipients and distribute the funds to each school. In addition to the scholarships, each recipient will receive support services from Education Forward Arizona Success Advisers, which are key to ensuring students can successfully navigate their educational path, persist through higher education and graduate with a degree or credential. These support services include mentoring sessions, enrollment counseling, academic tracking, financial aid advice, peer networking, professional development, and more.

“This year, more than any other year, students need as much support as possible as they pursue their postsecondary education,” said Education Forward Arizona President and CEO Rich Nickel. “The scholarships help them start the process and the success advisers help ensure they persist to completion. Partnerships are also critical to the work we do. We are grateful for our partnership with the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, which has helped to broaden our services statewide during the past several years.”

About Education Forward Arizona

Education Forward Arizona was created to change the way people think about and support education as the key driver to improving the economy and the quality of life in Arizona. The organization’s work includes providing scholarships and innovative programs to students and advocating for policies and funding that move the Achieve60AZ postsecondary attainment goal and other Arizona Education Progress Meter goals forward. Learn more at EducationForwardArizona.org.

About Freeport-McMoRan

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. is a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. The company operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold, and molybdenum. Freeport-McMoRan is one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers. The company’s portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits; and significant mining operations in North America and South America, including the large-scale Morenci minerals district in Arizona and the Cerro Verde operation in Peru.

Freeport-McMoRan collaborates with communities, governments, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders to maximize the benefits of mining and contribute to community well-being and resilience, including Native American communities near the company’s operations or those with historical cultural affiliation to lands on which the company operates. Learn more: Freeport In My Community–Native American Initiatives or Freeport-McMoRan–Sustainability–Indigenous People