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Public-Private Partnership Launches Orchestra Program for Underprivileged Los Angeles Youth

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 7, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A unique public-private partnership today launched the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra, providing more than 200 underprivileged Los Angeles school children the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. The youth orchestra is a joint effort among Grupo Salinas and its Fundación Azteca, The Andrew Nikou Foundation, OpenGate Capital, the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Beyond the Bell and Community Partners.

Los Angeles students received their new instruments from 100 students from the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra of Juarez, Mexico, during an event with program supporters, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Ricardo Salinas, President and Founder, Grupo Salinas; Andrew Nikou, CEO and Managing Partner, OpenGate Capital, and Founder, The Andrew Nikou Foundation; Gil Cedillo, City Councilmember for the First District; and Alvaro Cortes, Executive Director of Beyond the Bell. The Juarez youth orchestra also performed.

"It is an honor for the City of Los Angeles to be the home of the first Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra in the United States," said Mayor Garcetti. "I am confident that here in Los Angeles we will create a model program that can be implemented in cities throughout the United States."

Grupo Salinas and Fundación Azteca launched the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra in Latin America in 2009. The program now includes 70 orchestras and choirs throughout Mexico and El Salvador. More than 14,000 Latin American children between the ages of five and 18 have benefited from the program.

"Esperanza Azteca is an example of how, with the right tools and opportunities, children can do remarkable, inspiring things," said Mr. Salinas. "The program has the power to change lives and create better individuals through music, while also instilling life-changing lessons about teamwork, dedication, discipline, self-esteem and passion."

The orchestra will begin its first year at Florence Nightingale Middle School, with plans to expand to other schools in the district and students of all ages during the 2015-2016 school year. Fifteen music teachers, including a conductor, will work with students every afternoon following school, teaching them the basics of reading music and providing lessons with their individual instruments. The program plans to hold the orchestra's first concert in the spring of 2015.

"The Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra offers students in the Los Angeles Unified School District the opportunity to complement their classroom education with the empowering benefits of music and the arts," said Dr. John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. "The orchestra will not only instill and hone our students' musical talents, but will provide a positive and nurturing environment for them to become creative, engaged individuals."

The Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra will help to further support and cultivate the minds and talents of Los Angeles's underprivileged students, enhancing their educational opportunities and engagement with their classmates and community. The orchestra from Juarez exemplifies the power and impact of this program on children, their families and the larger community. The Mexican city of Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is among the cities hardest hit by the drug war.

"It is rewarding and exciting to bring this opportunity to the children of Los Angeles that can learn about, and develop a love for music," said Mr. Nikou. "Through the Esperanza Azteca program, these terrific children will see how education and hard work can pay off, not only to the applause of their parents, but to all of Los Angeles, building a brighter, more confident future for all."

About Esperanza Azteca

Esperanza Azteca is a network of youth orchestras and choirs that provide young people from low-income families a better quality of life. We seek to form better human beings through music. The project is a joint effort among local communities, local, state and federal governments and the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, spearheaded by Fundación Azteca. The program currently features 70 orchestras in Mexico and El Salvador, encouraging values such as discipline, excellence and teamwork in over 14,000 talented youth. For more information, visit www.fundacionazteca.org or Twitter @EsperanzaAzteca

About Grupo Salinas

Grupo Salinas (www.gruposalinas.com) is a group of dynamic, fast growing, and technologically advanced companies focused on creating shareholder value, building the Mexican middle class, and improving society through excellence. Created by Mexican entrepreneur Ricardo B. Salinas (www.ricardosalinas.com), Grupo Salinas operates as a management development and decision forum for the top leaders of member companies. These companies include: Azteca (www.tvazteca.com.mx; www.irtvazteca.com) Azteca America (www.aztecaamerica.com), Grupo Elektra (www.grupoelektra.com.mx), Banco Azteca (www.bancoazteca.com.mx), Advance America (www.advanceamerica.net), Afore Azteca (www.aforeazteca.com.mx), Seguros Azteca (www.segurosazteca.com.mx) and Grupo Iusacell (www.iusacell.com). Each of the Grupo Salinas companies operates independently, with its own management, board of directors and shareholders. Grupo Salinas has no equity holdings

About The Andrew Nikou Foundation

The Andrew Nikou Foundation was formed by investor Andrew Nikou and is dedicated to supporting educational, non-profit organizations whose mission is to support and capture the imagination of all people across the globe. The Foundation's grants and volunteer work are directed towards organizations and communities where we can become a change-agent and deliver real benefits to create more enjoyable and rewarding lives. The Foundation supports those groups focused in the areas of environment, global development, life sciences, and education. The Foundation's mission is simple; Live to Love, Love to Live.

About OpenGate Capital

OpenGate Capital is a global private buyout firm specializing in the acquisition and operation of businesses seeking revitalization through growth and operational improvements. Established in 2005, OpenGate Capital is headquartered in Los Angeles, California and maintains offices in Paris, France and São Paulo, Brazil. OpenGate's professionals possess the critical skills needed to acquire, transition, operate and build successful businesses. To date, OpenGate Capital has executed more than 30 transactions ranging from corporate divestitures to turnaround acquisitions, industry consolidations and other special situation investments. The OpenGate portfolio generates approximately $3 billion in revenue and includes businesses from a wide range of industries and geographic markets. For more information, please visit www.opengatecapital.com.

About the Los Angeles Unified School District

The second largest in the nation, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) enrolls more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, at over 900 schools, and 187 public charter schools. The boundaries spread over 720 square miles and include the mega-city of Los Angeles as well as all or parts of 31 smaller municipalities plus several unincorporated sections of Southern California. All youth achieving, the mission of LAUSD, is reflected in continued double-digit growth on the state Academic Performance Index (API); the upward trend in the graduation rate, progress in the pass rate on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and other academic indicators.

About LAUSD's Beyond the Bell Branch

Beyond the Bell Branch offers after school programs at the elementary, middle, and high school level to more than 100,000 students every day. The mission of the Beyond the Bell Branch is to ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high quality, safe, and supervised academic, enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day (before and after school and Saturdays). For more information visit www.btb.lausd.net or Twitter @BTBLA.

CONTACT: Grupo Salinas and Fundacion Azteca Alyssa Tran Atran@webershandwick.com (310) 854-8270; mobile: (858) 224-2661 Dustin Lawrence dtlawrence@webershandwick.com (310) 854-8242; mobile: (619) 813-3414 Daniel McCosh dmccosh@gruposalinas.com (5255) 1720-0059 The Andrew Nikou Foundation and OpenGate Capital Alanna Chaffin achaffin@opengatecapital.com (310) 432-7060 LAUSD Ellen Morgan LAUSD Office of Communication Ellen.Morgan@lausd.net (213) 241-6766 Cynthia Montalban LAUSD Beyond the Bell cynthia.montalban@lausd.net (213)241-7900

Source: Grupo Salinas