Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brownsville Achieves Progress in Education and Unemployment


Micheal “Mike” Hernandez III is a respected presence in the Dallas business community who has guided D & M Leasing for more than three decades. Having grown up in Brownsville, Mike Hernandez III has a longtime commitment to South Texas and leads a nonprofit focused on revitalizing Brownsville's economy, which is one of the poorest performing nationwide.

Despite the region’s economic struggles, Cameron County does have much potential, as it features a port city situated on the Mexican border. A recent article in the Brownsville Herald drew attention to a RentCafe report, which analyzed census numbers from more than 300 cities across the United States. 

With Odessa, Texas, ranked first, Brownsville achieved ranking at number nine in the “Most Prosperous Cities in the United States” list. Midland achieved a 10th place ranking, while major Texas cities such as Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston did not even appear on the list.

One reason for Brownsville’s high ranking is that the list does not rely on conventional wealth metrics, but rather progress achieved in a half dozen “prosperity indicators.” As well as home value, these include income, population, poverty rate, higher education, and unemployment.

The city has witnessed a 30 percent population expansion since the last census, with the unemployment rate dropping 28 percent and the poverty rate by 9 percent. At the same time, that percentage of the population holding at least an undergraduate degree has increased by 35 percent.

Unfortunately, despite tech-driven inroads in diversifying the local economy, the median household income stands stubbornly at less than $35,000 in a state where the median household income is more than $56,000.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

OP 10.33 Visualizes Brownsville as a Land of Opportunity by 2033


Micheal (Mike) Albert Hernandez III serves as the chief executive officer of D & M Leasing in Dallas, Texas. Semi-retired since 2011, Mike Hernandez III focuses a significant portion of his time on philanthropic pursuits that include establishing the OP 10.33 project. 

The nonprofit OP 10.33 focuses on Cameron County and its county seat, Brownsville, which the Houston Chronicle identified as “the poorest city in America” in 2013. OP 10.33 operates with the single goal of transforming the area into a land of opportunity by October 2033. According to OP 10.33’s mission statement, its projects will focus on organized efforts to increase private-sector business growth and support political candidates who have a history of generating funding from government agencies. OP 10.33 also fosters education beyond high school through the implementation of coordinated degree plans at every school level. 

In addition to its grand-scale goals, OP 10.33 strives to provide a range of individual services, from legal assistance and health care alternatives to feeding Cameron County residents in need. Individual entities that benefit from the organization’s support include the Brownsville Scholars Program, Mission Metroplex, and the Cameron County Education Initiative.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Texas A&M’s Long History of Creating New Opportunities


Michael Albert “Mike” Hernandez III, now partially retired after decades of service and leadership to D & M Leasing in Dallas, Texas, channels his personal wealth into nonprofit efforts to improve the lives of youth and families in his hometown of Brownsville and beyond. Through his Brownsville Scholars program, he gives college-age young people from the severely under-resourced community free tuition to Texas A&M University for four years of study. Mike Hernandez III is himself a graduate of Texas A&M, where he studied industrial distribution.

Texas A&M offers a rich variety of academic and extracurricular activities to some 60,000 students. The school’s proud history goes back to its establishment as Texas’ first publicly funded state higher education institution, in the days of land-grant colleges of the mid-1800s.

In the midst of the Civil War, the United States Congress passed the Morrill Act, which contributed public lands to individual states to found colleges teaching agriculture and allied trades, as well as traditional academic subjects. In 1871, Texas followed up on this promise of an opportunity to democratize education by approving the creation of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

Famous supporters have included the 41st President George H. W. Bush, who elected to house a presidential library on the Texas A&M campus.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Many Texans Lack Access to Education Needed for 21st Century Success


Thanks to Texas businessman and philanthropist Michael Albert “Mike” Hernandez III, a total of 10 young adults have been able to attend Texas A&M University on full scholarships this year. Mike Hernandez, a native of the South Texas city of Brownsville, has reached out to the underserved community where he grew up to fund new opportunities for youth who otherwise would have little chance of making their dreams come true.

The Brownsville Scholars Program is supported through a $1 million contribution from Mr. Hernandez, the semi-retired head of Dallas-based D & M Leasing. Each of the recipients will be able to complete a four-year degree through the program.

Studies have shown that Texans in general lag behind in their ability to access higher education and the higher-paying jobs that come with it. In 2015, for example, only one-third of Texans of working age had completed two or more years of postsecondary education. The problem is acute for low-income residents and adults already in the workforce. Within the next few years, about two-thirds of available jobs will require a college education.

And Brownsville is especially affected. According to the United States Census Bureau, less than two-thirds of the city’s adults possess a high school diploma, and only about 17 percent hold a four-year college degree – numbers that donors like Mike Hernandez can help change for the better.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hernandez Shares Philanthropic Goals with The Brownsville Herald


As the CEO of D&M Leasing and Hernco, Inc., Micheal “Mike” Albert Hernandez III has amassed decades of experience in industries including auto leasing, real estate development, energy, and cattle ranching. A native Texan, Mike Hernandez III is dedicated to giving back to his community, and he recently sat down with local publication The Brownsville Herald to share some of his civic efforts. 

The piece by staff writer Steve Clark delves into the history of Mr. Hernandez’ significant philanthropic involvement. A native of Brownsville, Texas, who has lived and worked in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since high school, Mr. Hernandez always kept a soft spot for his hometown. When success at the helm of D&M Leasing allowed Mr. Hernandez to focus his efforts on his personal passions, he set out to enrich the community that helped shape his identity. 

Speaking with the Herald, Mr. Hernandez described his initial shock at the largely stagnant economic growth in Brownsville and Cameron County. “I personally don’t see a reason for it,” he said, noting that Brownsville’s location “on the border by the sea” makes it a significant economic asset to the county.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mike Hernandez III Named Brownsville Avenger's Person of the Year


The chief executive officer of D&M Leasing, an auto leasing company in Dallas, Micheal “Mike” Albert Hernandez III is a native of Brownsville, Texas. In an effort to drive prosperity in his hometown, Mike Hernandez III supports OP10.33, through which he encourages positive change in Brownsville and the wider Cameron County area. 

In 2016, The Brownsville Avenger named Mr. Hernandez its “Person of the Year.” Noting the difficulty in fostering change in an area that traditionally has been unwelcoming to outside influences, The Avenger noted that Mr. Hernandez is perhaps the most active philanthropist in the region and commended him for not only talking about the changes he wishes to make in terms of local politics, education, and economy but also providing the capital to support his ideas.

The Brownsville Avenger, a news blog based in the city of Brownsville, Texas, stated its belief that OP10.33 would experience a bigger and better 2017 under the guidance of Mike Hernandez III.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Brownsville Scholars Program Fund




A Brownsville, Texas, native, Michael “Mike” Albert Hernandez III serves as Dallas-based D&M Leasing’s CEO and oversees all aspects of the company’s operations. Since entering semi-retirement, Mike Hernandez III has focused on his philanthropic efforts, primarily through the OP 10.33 organization, which aims to bring prosperity to Cameron County by 2033. Among his contributions to the foundation’s work is the Brownsville Scholars Program Fund.

Created in conjunction with Texas A&M University and the Hernandez Foundation, the Brownsville Scholars Program Fund has access to over $1 million in funds, which it will distribute to a selection of Brownsville’s most promising low-income students to support them as they enter college.

The scholarship was presented to its first round of 10 students in July 2016, with each scholar receiving $4,500 per year to help with university fees, in addition to a free laptop each. Beyond this, Brownsville scholars gain access to a maximum of $4,000 in stipends, for use in academic enrichment programs, and receive free entry into A&M University’s fish camp program.