Eva Longoria Is Empowering the Latina Community Through Education

Eva Longoria Is Empowering the Latina Community Through Education

eva longoria
(Image credit: Peter Hapak)

Who: Eva Longoria, Founder, Eva Longoria Foundation, and Cofounder, Eva's Hero's

Day Job: Actress.

Pomp and Circumstance: Recently, Eva Longoria, 39, presided over a graduation ceremony of sorts: presenting diplomas to parents in Compton, California, who'd passed a nine-week course on improving their children's education.

The Big Picture: It's all part of Longoria's plan to close the education gap plaguing Latinas, and for those who participate, it is life-changing: 90 percent of kids with parents who finish the program graduate from high school. Many of the parents themselves never made it through grade school.

Proof Positive: "I talked to a parent with a third-grade education who was crying because she had never had a certificate in her life," Longoria recalls. "Now she's taking a class at a community college—and that model behavior can be emulated by her daughter: If Mom can do it, I can do it, too."

Extra Credit: She has advocated for immigration reform and children with special needs; started a political action committee; and created a program that provides training, mentoring, and seed capital to Latina business owners. "The people I want to help most are women," she says, "because they are the center of our societies."

Get Involved: evalongoriafoundation.org/donate or donate to Padres Contra El CancerEva Longoria Foundation, or Eva's Heroes

Related: 19 Other Women Who Are Changing the World

Photo via Peter Hapak