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Latino State News

Advancing a ‘Shared Future’ through Local Latino Leaders

Advancing a ‘Shared Future’ through Local Latino Leaders

Photo: Latino Policy Forum

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Strengthening the Latino nonprofit sector in economically challenging times, the Latino Policy Forum announces the 10 local organizations selected to participate in the third cohort of its Illinois Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academy.

Two representatives – including an executive-level and an emerging leader – from each organization will participate in the intensive nine-month academy, building personal and organizational leadership skills while exploring their role as leaders in both the Latino community and larger society. Participants will complete a series of three, day-long retreat sessions, scheduled in August, November and March, and will receive one-on-one consulting, tailored to their organizations’ needs. The Academy is estimated to invest $13,000 per organization and comes at no cost to participating organizations.

“The Academy fills a critical void in leadership development here in the Midwest,” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum. “Few programs focus specifically on building organizational and leadership skills in the Latino community. The Academy is unique in that it engages organizations across a large spectrum of size, budget and mission.”

The Academy invests in leadership to rectify two conflicting trends: the rising Latino population and the decrease in state investment. While tough economic times have reduced state grant funding to many Latino-serving organizations, Illinois’ Latino population grew by 33 percent over the past decade.

“We are positioning the nonprofit sector to better serve the growing Latino community, and, in turn, contribute to their local economies, even with increasingly diminishing resources,” said Puente. “Last year, our 10 participating organizations had combined budgets of $25.5 million, 342 staff and mobilized over 700 volunteers. Beyond their vital role in providing services to Latinos, these organizations also feed their local economies. The Academy is supporting leaders who will play a greater role in shaping our shared future.” 

Organizations participating in this year’s cohort include: Casa Guanajuato Quad Cities, Centro San Bonifacio, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos: Immigrant Workers’ Project, Erie Neighborhood House, HACES (Hispanic American Community Education and Services),  Latino Consortium, P.A.S.O. (Proyecto de Acción de los Suburbios del Oeste) West Suburban Action Project, Project VIDA, Inc., Spanish Community Center, and Youth Service Project, Inc. Collectively these organizations serve the Latino community in areas as diverse as health, workforce development, education, and civic engagement, among others. Participants were selected from a pool of Latino-led and -serving organizations by a panel of past Academy participants and funders, based on their organizational mission and ability to both contribute to and benefit from Academy activities.

The Latino Policy Forum thanks The Center for Leadership Innovation (TCLI), the original architects of the Illinois Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academy, for their work to achieve more equitable access to opportunity for those who live in disadvantaged communities across America.