BOISE, Idaho—After their mother died in 2000, Maria Gonzalez Mabbutt and her sister, Delia Gonzalez, wanted to do something to honor her memory.
Guadalupe C. Gonzalez had emigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was 19, pregnant with Mabbutt and carrying Mabbutt’s 15-month-old brother on her hip. She went to work in the blazing West Texas fields and worked in agriculture the rest of her life.
“My sister and I had discussed how we didn’t get where we are without help, and once we achieved some level of security, it was time to help others,” Mabbutt said.
The sisters, also veterans of agricultural work, created the Campesinos Unidos “Families from the Fields” Scholarship Program to help farmworkers and their children go to college.
They awarded three scholarships the first couple of years. Then a chance encounter expanded their ability to help. Lynd Hoover, a former plumbing inspector for the cities of Meridian and Nampa, saw their announcement seeking scholarship applicants.
While he was alive, Hoover wanted his donations to remain anonymous.
Months before he died, Hoover named his niece Stephanie Dickey executor of his will and required that she be involved in choosing the scholarship recipients.
Mabbutt spoke at his memorial in June 2004, where Dickey met her for the first time.
He had willed all of his retirement investments that would have otherwise been taxed, about $400,000.
Mabbutt and Dickey plan to award at least 12 scholarships this year of up to $2,500 each. They choose students who are just starting college and some who are finishing up.
About 50 scholarships have been awarded since the program began in 2002; 16 of them for the current school year.
“In this country, education is the key to success,” Mabbutt said. “The more access young people have, that builds power for our community, and we deserve a place at the table. Idaho can and will be richer for that. I continue to be optimistic.”
Maria Gonzalez Mabbutt
803 10th St. S., Nampa, Idaho 83651 208-230-2416