The Affiliate Network, in many ways, is at the core of the work done by UnidosUS. As stated on our website, “Our relationship with our Affiliate Network is key to our mission. In providing capacity-building assistance, policy analysis, advocacy, and special initiatives that complement the work of our Affiliates, we are able to continue to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.” Given the importance of the Network, we want to take some time to introduce our newest Affiliates and highlight the amazing work that they do. This year, there are seven new Affiliates who come from every part of the country, and who do work in a variety of areas.
By Sam Primis, Affiliate Engagement Team, UnidosUS
First we have Chicago-based Northwest Side CDC, a subsidiary of the our Affiliate Northwest Side Housing Center. Founded in 2019, Northwest Side CDC provides housing assistance and business development to residents of Chicago’s northwest side. As Executive Director Jason Estremera states:
“Our mission is to provide the Northwest Side and Belmont Cragin with the tools and resources to preserve affordable housing and prevent displacement and provide business development assistance to local small businesses. We accomplish this work by providing culturally and linguistically relevant training and advising to homeowners, renters, and business owners.”
Mr. Estermera and the rest of the Northwest Side CDC team are very excited to be part of the UnidosUS Network, saying:
“We expect to take advantage of capacity-building opportunities, professional development t raining, be part of peer-to-peer collaboration and learning, apply to relevant funding opportunities, and contribute any of our knowledge/resources to the benefit of the larger Network. We look forward to being an engaged, collaborative partner that values giving as much as we receive from our affiliation.”
The next Affiliate we are excited to welcome is Inclusive Action for the City (IAC). Based out of Los Angeles, was founded in 2008 with the goal of alleviating poverty and improving the standard of living in predominantly Black and Latino low-income communities throughout the city. IAC is excited about working with UnidosUS to help uplift small businesses, street vendors, immigrant entrepreneurs, among other underserved Latinx populations. Marco Covarrubias, the Development and Communications Manager at IAC elaborated on their partnership with UnidosUS, explaining how, “Joining the UnidosUS Network would be an excellent opportunity to further Inclusive Action’s strategic goals while contributing to the advancement of Latinxs across the U.S.”
Also based out of Los Angeles, Great Public Schools Now seeks to provide Los Angeles students from underserved communities with a quality public school education. Through partnering with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), advocacy, and investment, Great Public Schools Now is doing important and effective work toward creating better educational opportunities for students in the L.A area. Isabel Acosta, Director of Operations at Great Public Schools Now, stated how they, “would benefit from the capacity-building assistance, policy analysis, advocacy and special initiatives offered by UnidosUS. Collaboration and convening, in particular across sectors, is key if we are to innovate and have impact and improve outcomes for Latinos.”
The final California Affiliate joining in 2021 is the Social Justice Collaborative (SJC). Located in Berkeley, SJC provides legal services to vulnerable immigrant populations at risk of deportation, minors, asylum seekers, victims gender-based or domestic violence, and more. In order to provide free and low-cost legal services, however, SJC relies on fundraising and donations. Rodrigo Martinez, an Executive Assistant at the organization, wrote about how, “The affiliation with UnidosUS will hopefully help us to connect with Latinx business and philanthropic organizations that will provide fundraising opportunities for us.”
In the Far West, Denver-based Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC) seeks to uplift Latino communities across the state through capacity-building initiatives with other Colorado nonprofits, investing in Latino communities with grants and philanthropic donations, as well as providing space for Latinos to use their voice and celebrate their community. Carlos Martinez, the CEO of LCFC spoke on how UnidosUS’s policy and advocacy work will assist them in pursuing their organization’s mission:
“The purpose of UnidosUS affiliation to have access to information (data, policy, trends, etc.) and stay informed on the Latino community, learn how to best position our organization for policy/advocacy work, learn how best to communicate positions on critical issues affecting the Latino community, and explore ways by which we can partner to build the vibrancy of the Latino community in Colorado.”
Joining the UnidosUS Network from White Plains, New York, is Latino U College Access, Inc. (LUCA). Having gained nonprofit status in 2012, LUCA serves low-income, first-generation students seeking a college education by providing individualized coaching and culturally relevant programming to help them have a successful university experience. Focusing on reducing inequity in educational access is a central part of what LUCA looks forward to in working with UnidosUS. As Jessica Timms, Director of Advancement at LUCA stated, “Affiliate Membership with UnidosUS to strengthen our advocacy efforts in support of educational equity and to enhance our capacity-building goals for scalability of our programs.”
LUCA also aims to promote their organization with UnidosUS’s help, “In addition, we are eager to increase our organization’s profile by highlighting our work through the broad reach of your integrated communication.”
Lastly, in the Southeast Region, is Ser Familia, Inc. Based out of Kennesaw, Georgia, Ser Familia provides family services that help Latino families by offering couples workshops, youth programs, parent workshops, family counseling and therapy, domestic violence services in partnership with other local organizations, and much more. Ser Familia anticipates being able to advance their mission in their community by partnering with UnidosUS, as Development Officer Myriam Hysa expressed, “We believe that with the strategic partnership of the two organizations, a special synergy could be created to continue pushing the missions in our communities.”
All in all, we are ecstatic to welcome these seven new Affiliates to the UnidosUS family! Whether strengthening families, helping student gain access to quality education, or representing underserved immigrant populations in court, this group provides high quality and essential services in needed areas from New York to Los Angeles. We look forward to a long, successful partnership with each of them!