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History of the Foundation

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In or about 1992, the Mexican Consulate approached the City of Austin with a proposal to partner in sponsoring an annual 16th de Septiembre celebration. The Consulate arranged for entertainers from Mexico to perform for the event and the City of Austin provided inkind support for the logistics. The highlight then, as it is now, is the re-enactment of “El Grito” by the Consual General of Mexico.

The first two events were held outdoors in downtown Austin. The Consualte was located in a building across the street from the Driskill Hotel on Brazos and the event was held in that street. As the event grew, the need for a larger location was indicated, as well as the need for a planning and fund raising committee.

In 1994, then Council Member Gus Garcia, recruited Roberto Chapa and Rosie Mendoza to work with him. Together they established the Fiesta de Independencia Foundation to be the fund raising arm and money depository for the event, and the Fiesta del Grito de Independencia Committee to be responsible for planning the event and along with the City of Austin, for implementing the event. The first Chair of the Committee was Lala Niemeyer, who served two years. In 1996, Council Member Garcia appointed Gloria Mata Pennignton to serve as Chair, a position in which she continues to serve.

In 2006, the members of the Fiesta de Independencia Foundation met with the group who had been operating the Hispanic Committee for Scouting. The group wanted to broaden the scope of their work to include serving the Hispanic youth of the community for more than one purpose. The members of the Foundation decided the scope of work of the group was consistent with the purpose of the Foundation and agreed to manage their funds for as long as their work remained unchanged. Since that date the group has organized and managed the annual Robert T. Chapa, Sr. Memorial Golf Tournament for the purpose of raising the dollars necessary to fund scholarships for Hispanic students and the granting of funds to local non-profits that serve Hispanic youth. The group is comprised of the two sons of the late Robert T. Chapa, Sr.; Roberto T. Chapa, Jr. and Ricardo Chapa, along with Richard Mendoza.

Mission of the Foundation

The mission of the Fiesta de Independencia Foundation is to assist the Hispanic community through the provision of scholarships for Hispanic students and the sponsorship of community events that promote the Hispanic culture.


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