Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) has awarded scholarships to East Chicago, Ind. residents since 1998. It is always the hope of FEC that East Chicagoans will use these scholarships to obtain a college education and make a difference not only in the world, but to come back to make a difference in the City of East Chicago.


Vanessa Hernandez-Orange received a $1,000 scholarship from FEC in the year 2001 when she was set to graduate from East Chicago Central High School.


“I applied for the FEC scholarship because, financially, I could not afford college. Any money, free money, is a blessing, not only to yourself, but to your parents who also help pay for your education,” said Hernandez-Orange.


She used her renewable FEC scholarship to attend the University of Indianapolis, Indiana State University and American Public University in pursuit of a degree in Recreation Sports Management.


“I personally loved my college experience. I loved meeting different people from different races and different parts of the state or country. I definitely broadened my horizons.”


After Hernandez-Orange obtained her degree, she came back to the city that started it all for her.


“Being out on my own allowed me to find myself and what my true passions were.”


Hernandez-Orange currently lives in East Chicago and has been coaching basketball at East Chicago Central, her alma mater, for 10 years.


“I see many recipients of this scholarship accept it but not understand how lucky they are,” said Hernandez-Orange. “I see the many programs that FEC has brought to our city to better the youth of East Chicago.”


For more information on the FEC scholarship program, visit