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by Sharon Garcia January 23, 2019

Colegas,

Latino communities are essential to a healthy US economy.  The overall economic strength of this nation increasingly relies on our fast-growing community’s hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, enormous spending power and leadership.

In the past month, Latinos and immigrants have been publicly misrepresented and disrespected by the current Presidential Administration with a shrillness and desperation that echoes the final month of the 2016 campaign season.  This Administration’s argument about the need to shut down our government over funding for a border wall fundamentally relies on an inaccurate and malevolent caricature of Latinos and immigrants. It also blatantly ignores their vital economic contributions.

Members of the NALCAB Network are mission-driven institutions that build and preserve assets in Latino communities all across our country.  We invest in our communities by building affordable housing, addressing gentrification, supporting small business growth, and providing financial counseling on issues such as credit building and homeownership.  The large majority of the people served by the NALCAB Network are immigrants, or the children of immigrants.  Our work is about giving hard-working people a shot to make it in this country.  We are strengthening the US economy by investing in our nation’s youngest, fastest growing major demographic segment.  

In 2018, NALCAB provided Latino-serving non-profit organizations with more than $1 million in grants, trained 350+ practitioners and provided a wide range of technical assistance, including supporting more than $11 million in successful federal grant applications.  In partnership with our members, NALCAB directly invested more than $7 million in affordable housing and small businesses.  We influenced local and federal government agencies, as well as private foundations, about how to most effectively invest in Latino communities.

At our national conference in Orlando last April, we enjoyed keynote presentations by CNN Commentator, Ana Navarro and the CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network, Lisa Mensah.  We also announced the re-naming of NALCAB’s fellowship for next generation Latino leaders in community development to honor our founding Board Chairman, Pete Garcia.  With the graduation of the seventh class of the Pete Garcia Fellowship in November, we have now surpassed 100 alumni.

Over the last year, NALCAB aggressively defended the Community Reinvestment Act and advocated for greater diversity in the governance of the Federal Reserve System, in collaboration with other national and regional organizations that represent consumers and diverse communities.  NALCAB supported our members to engage in Congressional advocacy, including hosting our second annual Hill Day which focused on appropriations for key federal community development programs.

In 2019, we will not only continue to scale our efforts to open access to capital and credit in Latino communities, but we will redouble our efforts to defend against poisonous public rhetoric aimed at devaluing our economic contributions.   We will communicate the reality that Latinos are essential to the health of the entire US economy.

As part of our communications efforts, NALCAB will start using the hashtag #LatinoEconomicEngine to highlight data that demonstrates the economic value that Latinos and immigrants bring to this country and strategies that build assets in our communities.  We invite you to join us in using #LatinoEconomicEngineto coordinate our voices on this issue and to highlight your own asset building work.

Juntos somos más,
Noel A. Poyo

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