Since 1992

El Centro Hispano emerged as a response to the pressing need for growth and support within the Latine communities.

The year was 1990, and the landscape of North Carolina was undergoing a demographic transformation. At that time, 76,726 residents identified as Hispanic, constituting 1.2% of the state’s population. Fast forward thirty-two years, and the Hispanic population in the state had skyrocketed to over a million individuals. El Centro Hispano, founded in 1992 as the Hispanic Resource Center and later evolving into an independent nonprofit organization, played a pivotal role in adapting to these changing dynamics.

From its early roots as a collaborative project between the Catholic and Episcopal churches, El Centro Hispano transformed into a multifaceted entity, addressing the diverse needs of the Hispanic community through services, education, leadership development, and community organizing. As we delve into the history of El Centro Hispano, we witness its evolution in step with the changing demographics and emerging challenges faced by the Hispanic population in North Carolina. From pioneering financial initiatives to inclusive programs addressing the LGBTQ community, the organization has consistently demonstrated a commitment to holistic support and advocacy.

32 Years Serving the Community

The following timeline highlights key milestones in the organization’s journey, showcasing its dedication to fostering empowerment, inclusivity, and equity within the North Carolina’s Hispanic community.

1992: El Centro Hispano (ECH) under the name of The Hispanic Resource Center was founded on January 1, 1992 as a collaborative effort between the Catholic and Episcopal churches. Initially established with the goal of providing resources and support to the Hispanic community, the center aimed to address the unique needs and challenges faced by this demographic.

1997: El Centro Hispano underwent a significant transformation when it transitioned into an independent nonprofit organization. This marked a pivotal moment in our history, as it expanded its scope beyond being a religious-affiliated project. El Centro Hispano now embraced a multifaceted approach, combining service provision, education, leadership development, and community organizing.

2000: In collaboration with partners such as Self-Help Credit Union, State Employees Credit Union, and the NC Minority Support Center, ECH played a crucial role in the establishment of the first Latino Community Credit Union in North Carolina. This financial initiative aimed to provide greater economic empowerment and financial services to the Latino community in the state.

2002: ECH demonstrated its commitment to inclusivity by launching the LGBTQ+ Program, becoming a pioneering program in the Southeast. This initiative addressed the specific needs and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community within the broader Hispanic population.

2010: El Centro Hispano expanded its reach by opening a branch in Carrboro, thereby extending its services to the Orange County community. This strategic move allowed the organization to better cater to the needs of a broader demographic and establish a stronger presence in the region.

2015: The organization further diversified its offerings by establishing the Casa for Employment & Leadership within its Carrboro branch. This new facility aimed to provide targeted support for employment-related issues and leadership development within the Hispanic community.

2016: The Advocacy and Civic Participation Department, formerly known as Community Engagement & Advocacy, was created in 2016. This marked a significant step towards enhancing El Centro Hispano’s impact by actively engaging in advocacy efforts and promoting civic participation within the Hispanic community.

2020: We continued its expansion by opening a branch in Raleigh, extending its services to the Wake County community. This move allowed the organization to reach an even larger population and address the unique needs of the Hispanic community in the region. Recognizing the pressing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, El Centro Hispano played a pivotal role in the response efforts. Engaged by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), the organization led COVID-19 response efforts in eight counties. This involved deploying Community Health Workers as first responders and collaborating with testing and vaccination providers to curb the spread of the virus.

2021: Responding to the landscape of social justice and equity issues, ECH implemented the Advocacy and Equity Area within the organization. This initiative underscored our commitment to addressing systemic issues and promoting equity within the Latine community and beyond.

2023: In tandem with the dynamic needs of our expanding community, our services continued to broaden. Establishing our administrative offices in the heart of Durham, our prompt response and the delivery of complimentary services have effectively addressed the immediate needs of the community.

Ready to join hands with El Centro Hispano in uplifting the Latine/Hispanic community?

Be a corporate supporter and become an integral part of El Centro’s mission to uplift the Latine community. Join us in advancing opportunities, fostering growth, and building a stronger, more inclusive future together.

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