Brownsville Scholars Program
Michael Albert “Mike” Hernandez III, now semi-retired as the principal of D & M Leasing in Dallas, remains connected to his South Texas roots. An active philanthropist and community leader, Mike Hernandez supports a range of efforts to improve the lives of people in the Brownsville area where he grew up.
Among these is the Brownsville Scholars Program through the Texas A&M University Foundation. Mr. Hernandez started the program with a donation of more than $1 million in 2016. Funds are designated to provide four-year tuition at the university’s College Station campus for Brownsville-area students with demonstrated financial hardships.
At the conclusion of the program’s first year, inspiring student stories emerged. One of the new Brownsville Scholars chose to go into medicine because she had witnessed how family and friends in her community had to seek care in Mexico because of the high cost of health care in the United States. Now a biomedical student, this scholar hopes to become a pediatrician and work with the children of Brownsville. Another student, majoring in sports management, wants to work with underserved youth through coaching Brownsville sports teams. Both these students are typical of Brownsville Scholarship recipients in that they are the first in their families to attend college.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
A veteran business leader who has served Dallas-based D & M Leasing since 1984, Michael “Mike” Albert Hernandez III now focuses primarily on philanthropic activities in the Brownsville area. Among the organizations Mike Hernandez III supports is the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a collective of Christian volunteers committed to doing what they can to help those in need.
The society’s visiting and befriending program is a key part of its efforts. Volunteers provide their time and personal care to the ill and elderly, building trusting relationships with those who would otherwise struggle to confront issues such as loneliness and depression. Visits are often as simple as providing somebody with a friendly person to chat with, though volunteer support often extends to helping others conduct a range of activities, such as decorating, shopping, and filling out important forms.
A select group of society volunteers also become prison visitors, which may involve visiting prisoners directly or providing child-care services to family members who wish to visit someone in prison.
Mike Hernandez III
Based in Dallas, Mike Hernandez III has guided D & M Leasing for more than two decades and built up one of America’s largest and most successful vehicle leasing companies. Mike Hernandez III currently focuses much of his efforts on the Brownsville economic and social development-focused nonprofit, OP10.33, which he established in early 2016.
Speaking about the political action committee with the Brownsville Herald in 2016, Micheal Albert Hernandez III spoke of having a broad emphasis on improving social services through offerings encompassing computer, Internet, and alternative health care access for low-income residents.
Another focus is on kickstarting activities that revitalize Brownsville’s historic downtown. One project that was under consideration involved restoring the Hotel El Jardin, although that lacks financial feasibility at the present. Not seeking to be a “kingmaker,” Mr. Hernandez described his PAC as providing support for local political candidates who share the same progressive aim as his organization. He has also established a major scholarship program in tandem with the Texas A&M Foundation aimed at students from underrepresented backgrounds.
Based in Dallas, Micheal Albert Hernandez III serves as CEO of D & M Leasing and has enabled thousands of customers nationwide to achieve car ownership. Mike Hernandez III also supports a number of civil and social efforts in Brownsville, an economically underserved community on Texas’ Gulf Coast. In early 2016, he launched the group OP 10.33 with high-profile billboards and slogans such as “We want jobs … now!”
The strongly positive message underscored a transformative agenda of reaching out to young people and providing them with pathways to higher education. Mike Hernandez III is also leading the group in taking aim at official corruption and providing assistance in areas not covered by social services. Another goal involves seeking out business investment that drives employment growth in the local community.
A major impetus for the organization came after extensive research revealed that significant amounts of money earmarked for the city never found their way to actual recipients. A core mandate of OP 10.33 is to act as a political action group and support those candidates that find common cause with its goals.
Mike Hernandez III
A respected Dallas entrepreneur, Micheal Albert Hernandez III heads D & M Leasing as chief executive officer. He also has a strong connection with the Brownsville community, where he was born and raised. Through the PAC OP 10.33, Mike Hernandez III focuses on a Gulf Coast region that suffers from high unemployment, despite a location strategically near the Mexico border.
With OP 10.33, Mike Hernandez III aims to increase regional economic activity in ways that help local residents build a better future. In December 2016, he was selected by the Brownsville Avenger as “Person of the Year.” This recognition reflected his high-profile mission to turn around “the city that always sleeps.” In particular, he brought to the table not only an action blueprint, but also funds to turn his plans into reality in areas such as politics and education.
In making the selection, the Avenger opined that Mr. Hernandez appears to be focused on effecting long-term community change and predicted that 2017 will emerge as “an even bigger and better year” for OP 10.33. The organization aims to raise $10 million in community investment within the next several years.
Now in semi-retirement, Micheal Albert Hernandez III has overseen operations at D&M Leasing in Dallas, Texas, since he purchased a stake in the company in 1990. Beyond his work, Mike Hernandez III is involved in local philanthropy, with a focus on his home city of Brownsville.
In 2013, the Houston Chronicle reported that Brownsville was the poorest city in the United States. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 36 percent of the city’s residents lived below the national poverty line, which is more than double the 17 percent average for the State of Texas. Further, the data discovered that over a third of residents had not earned their high school diplomas, whereas almost a quarter only have that diploma and no other educational certification.
In response to this news, Mike Hernandez III formed OP10.33 with the aim of opening up educational opportunities and transforming the Cameron Country area into a more prosperous region. The organization funds projects throughout the area that further this aim, with the goal of achieving a full transformation by 2033.