UnidosUS, formerly National Council of La Raza (NCLR) (La Raza), is the United States's largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization. It advocates in favor of progressive public policy changes including immigration reform, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and reduced deportations.
|Formation||1968(as National Council of La Raza)|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
In 1963, a group of Mexican Americans in Washington, D.C. formed the National Organization for Mexican American Services (NOMAS). The organization existed primarily to provide technical assistance to Hispanic groups and bring them together under one umbrella. NOMAS presented a proposal to the Ford Foundation to establish an organization that could provide technical assistance and organizational structure to the Mexican American community. The Ford Foundation hired Herman Gallegos, Julian Samora, and Ernesto Galarza to travel the Southwest and make a recommendation on how the Ford Foundation could help Mexican Americans.
Gallegos, Samora and Galarza founded the Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR) in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1968. SWCLR was given financial support from the Ford Foundation, the National Council of Churches, and the United Auto Workers, and the organization received 501(c)(3) status later that year.
In 1973, the SWCLR became a national organization, changed its name to the National Council of La Raza, and moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C. Early disagreements among the organization's leadership caused the Ford Foundation to threaten to withhold funding, resulting in President Henry Santiestevan's resignation and the election of Raul Yzaguirre.
The Spanish word raza is often translated into English as race. The phrase La Raza has a particular history in the context of political activism in which NCLR uses it. NCLR uses "La Raza" to refer to "the people" or "the Hispanic people of the New World."
Beginning in about 1975, the NCLR began expanding its focus to include the issues of non-Mexican American Latinos. This policy was made official in 1979. By 1980, the NCLR was funded almost entirely by the federal government.
When the Reagan Administration reduced available federal funding, the NCLR cut back the scale of its operations. As a result, the organization began focusing on national policy and concentrating its efforts in Washington, D.C. After the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, state governments exerted more control over the disbursement of welfare funds, which led to the development of the NCLR's Field Advocacy Project to influence decisions at the state and local levels.
The organization holds an annual conference. In 2016, Elizabeth Warren and Steve St. Angelo spoke at the conference.
UnidosUS gives away several annual awards for contributions made by Hispanic Americans including: the Maclovio Barraza Award for Leadership, the Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award, the Ruben Salazar Award for Communications, and the Raul Yzaguirre President's Award.
Prior to 2000, three-quarters of the organization's funding came from private sources, including individuals and corporations, and one-quarter of its funding came from the federal government. As of 2015, the organization reported receiving 85% of its funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and 15% of its funding from the government.
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