Netspend and Austin FC Unite to Fund Change through Verde Fellowship Program

July 15, 2022- At Netspend, we believe that education is a path to empowerment and economic stability. Since 2016, the Netspend Scholarship program has offered scholarships for those pursuing a degree, certificate, training, or opportunity that spells success for the future. To date we have awarded 390 scholarships for a total of $951,386. As an Austin-based organization, we consider ourselves fortunate to be surrounded by so many universities and other organizations that are dedicated to furthering education and we are honored to give back by supporting students at St. Edward’s University and Huston-Tillotson Fellows through the Verde Fellowship Program.

In 2021, Netspend was proud to support a new initiative in collaboration with Austin FC to provide two paid fellowships to St. Edward’s University and Huston-Tillotson students. The Verde Fellowship Program is part of Netspend’s ongoing partnership with Austin FC to make a lasting impact on the Austin community by supporting non-profit organizations and local universities like St. Edward’s University. Along with funding this important scholarship, the fellowship also helps aspiring first-generation college students gain valuable work skills in a uniquely Austin professional development experience with Austin FC and Netspend. The program has entered into its second year where Netspend is honored to participate with Austin FC again this year.

"At Netspend, we believe that education and professional development empowers young people to nurture their skills and pursue their dreams," said Netspend President, Kelley C. Knutson. "We were honored to partner with Austin FC and St. Edward’s University to support these two very deserving Fellows as they continue to work towards achieving their academic and professional goals while making a positive impact in our community."

By working closely alongside student leaders and future entrepreneurs, Netspend hopes to fund brighter futures through education, experience, and service. As part of the fellows program, Austin FC gave St. Edward’s students Victoria Hernandez and Rachelle Cardoza the opportunity to intern with the organization and learn about all the aspects of a professional soccer organization. Each fellow also received a $7,500 scholarship and personal mentorship from Netspend throughout their tenure.   

21-year-old Victoria Hernandez is from coastal Brownsville, Texas, and majors in entrepreneurship and marketing at St. Edward’s University. Along with her recent fellowship with Netspend and Austin FC, the highly decorated student is also a Johnson-Turpin Scholar, a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Scholar. Aligning with the values of both organizations, the Netspend and Austin FC fellowship focuses on community outreach and teaching students the power of service firsthand — as Victoria equally believes. 

“The best part of the program so far has definitely been working with the community,” Victoria said. “I’ve been able to volunteer and plant trees, as well as help the community through [Austin FC goalkeeper] Brad Stuver’s collaboration with The Laundry Project, help build an altar to celebrate Día de los Muertos; the list goes on. Being able to celebrate and work with the community has been amazing and Austin FC is the best way to bring together a community of people regardless of their background.”

Rachelle Cardoza is a 23-year-old kinesiology student with an emphasis on pre-physical therapy. Like her fellow scholarship recipient, the Weslaco, Texas native is also a Johnson-Turpin Scholar, McNair Scholar, a CAMP Scholar, and an honor student as well. Rachelle shares Netspend’s passion for investing in her community, and is excited to apply the skills she’s learned from working with Netspend and Austin FC.

“Each project or task was a learning experience and became an opportunity to grow,” Rachelle said. “The skills I developed — including timeliness, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills — will be so useful in both my academic and professional journey.”

Through the scholarship partnership, Netspend, Austin FC are continuing their support of the fellowship program this year and we are united by our common goal: using educational spaces and institutions as springboards to uplift and benefit larger communities. Through financial support and mentorship, Netspend strives to enable young Austinites with the incredible value of service, and equip them with the professional skills and experience necessary to continue driving change and positive impact.