The Laguna Madre Education Foundation was formed by the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce in an effort to fund and manage a leadership development program, as well as a scholarship program to provide financial assistance for Port Isabel High School students wishing to pursue post-secondary education, whether it is a college education or technical training education.
The Laguna Madre Education Foundation was formed in 1996. Beginning in 1996, 20 Leadership Laguna Madre classes were conducted. The adult leadership program was retired after completion of the 20th class. A Junior Leadership Program was added and 16 Junior Leadership classes for Port Isabel High School students have been successfully completed.
In 1996, the Foundation awarded one $1000 scholarship to a graduate of Port Isabel High School. Over the years, student interest in the Scholarship Program has steadily grown. Through 2019, a total of 707 scholarship applications have been received, with a total of $286,250 awarded to 140 graduates of Port Isabel High School.
The Leadership Laguna Madre Program is funded through financial donations from area businesses and the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce.
The Laguna Madre Education Foundation Scholarship Program is funded by the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce through an Annual Scholarship Fundraiser. Occasionally area businesses and personal benefactors contribute directly to the Foundation.
The Laguna Madre Education Foundation is exempt from federal income tax under tax code 501(a) as an organization described in section 501(c)(3). The Foundation is subject to an annual review conducted by an independent auditor, as required by their corporation by-laws. The Foundation is administered by a Board of Directors who are elected annually by the Foundation members. Foundation members are the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.