News Column

Corner Office

May 11, 2011

Jesus Chavarria, Editor and Publisher

No doubt the best posture to assume in these times of economic and business doldrums is one of "guarded optimism." Very guarded is advisable. It is not reassuring that the first quarter performed at an anemic 1.8 percent growth, rather than the 3 percent or 4 percent forecast by economists and analysts not that long ago.

As we consider aspects of the 2010 performance of the Hispanic nonprofit market tracked annually by HispanicBusiness, we find management hedging their bets. With great reluctance, they're adjusting their services and at the same time empowering their fundraising efforts. Dependent as they have long been on government funding, given the low participation by foundations in giving to minority nonprofit organizations, daily events are now pushing with greater urgency to diversify their funding sources. Most of the leaders of this influential group of social entrepreneurs and enterprises are proceeding with caution, the reader will find, even as some of their colleagues deal with growth.

In a nutshell, the nonprofit group of executives, managers and program developers in the nonprofit market space are an impressive group of savvy individuals who know that good works require commitment and long hours if you are reaching out for growth. We have profiled several of their leaders to provide more context and nonprofit operations detail.

Growth is what General Motors has in mind. And to achieve it, it is very mindful of which way the census is pointing. GM is not a neophyte to the world of diversity. It has long had a major network of minority dealers distributed throughout the country: north, southeast, Texas, Midwest, the west. Most major metro markets are covered. Of late, automotive data has indicated Hispanic consumers are showing an interest in upscale brands such as Buick and Cadillac, along with the historical consumer following Chevrolet has posted for numerous generations. And then there are the census results, also covered in this issue. Both the nonprofit and automotive worlds are driven by the same social forces: people in need of services and/or transportation.

And the census numbers show just how much Hispanics are becoming an integral part of the American fabric. Surpassing 50 million in population and accounting for half the growth in the United States over the last decade, Hispanics are poised to be a larger share of the population each decade.

The Hispanic population is younger, also, and that makes this demographic group an important part of economic growth and financial stability in the United States.

"Opportunities arise from seizing these emerging domestic markets," Juan Solana, chief economist for HispanicBusiness magazine, said, "but threats come from ignoring them and allowing competitors to gain a stronghold in this segment of increasingly affluent consumers."

But the data show something more than just numbers. There is a migration occurring. Even as the major cities and states that have been Hispanics' traditional homes increase their base Hispanic populations, Hispanics are on the move. The suburbs and counties around major metropolitan areas are seeing a rapid growth in Hispanic population. The same holds true for states. All but one of the 10 states with the largest percentage growth of Hispanics were located in the South.

And as Mr. Solana notes in the census story, such migration to suburban life is consistent with Hispanics who are "native-born, English-dominant, middle-class, entrepreneurial and integrated into the U.S. society."

Source: (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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