As a product of the Chicago Public School system, investment banker Cesar Maldonado had a dream of helping Chicago-area students celebrate Mexican heritage and culture while continuing to learn about music. In 2012, Maldonado founded the Mariachi Heritage Foundation — an organization dedicated to preserving the art of mariachi by partnering with K-12 schools to implement mariachi music programs.
“We started with five schools now we’re in seven schools,” Maldonado told Medill News Service. ”We have about 1,700 students. The program takes place during the school day, integrated as part of the general curriculum. The Mariachi curriculum aligns with the music and arts standards in Illinois, and the national standards."
He added, "It's part of our culture, it's part of our identity. You hear mariachi everywhere around the world, and as Mexican-Americans, you always feel proud when you hear mariachi music."