The Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) impacts its scholarship recipients in a variety of ways. All receive financial support for college, many receive emotional support for getting through the tough times, and still more receive guidance and inspiration for their own futures. Marino Solorio, a 2003 scholarship recipient, received all three.

Marino graduated from East Chicago Central High School and went on to pursue a college degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. However, as the first in his family to go away to college, Marino struggled a bit with being so far from home.

“The first issue was the distance,” said Marino. “But the college experience helped me also value my heritage and family more.”

After finishing his bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Development, a career that can take one to any city in the world, Marino decided to return home to help the city that gave so much to him.

“I decided that I would commit 5 – 10 years in East Chicago making a difference in some sort of way,” he explained. Marino now serves as the Planning and Economic Development Director for the City of East Chicago.

Marino encourages East Chicago students to apply for the FEC scholarship because FEC wants to invest in the future of East Chicago youth. He also says that being serious about goals and having clear expectations are things that students heading to college should keep in mind.

“These scholarships are a privilege, so treat them as such,” he advises.

Marino believes that the support lent to community youth by FEC is one of the major reasons East Chicago natives come back to the city after college.

“Organizations such as FEC are the reason why many of us are still here helping within our communities. FEC has had a direct impact on who I am today and, for that, I will always be grateful.”

To learn more about scholarship recipients like Marino, visit