"One of my top priorities is to work closely with our affiliates, to create a new covenant with our affliliates, of reinforcing their role and the work they do," says Ms. Murguia, who has undertaken a "listening tour" to meet with affiliate members across the country. "We have grown fairly quickly in a relatively short time, with 300 affiliates in six different regions of the country, which reflects the growing demands and interests of the Hispanic community."
The current step forward in growth is the latest for the group transformed over the years by Mr. Yzaguirre from its regional roots into a leading national organization. From its founding in 1968, NCLR has increased to include offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its affiliate network includes more than 300 Hispanic community-based organizations that serve 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia and are involved in services from education and job readiness to homeownership and health. Last year, NCLR reported 35,000 members and revenues exceeding $42 million.
"When I took over in 1974, we had 17 affiliates, five employees and one funding source," says Mr. Yzaguirre. "Now there are various funding sources, 140 employees, and we have an institution that is the largest Hispanic service provider in the nation, and we pioneered public policy in the Latino community that was empirically fact-driven."
Mr. Yzaguirre recalls that growth during the organization's fledgling years was difficult. "The country wasn't ready to listen to another minority group [after the years of the civil rights movement]. It had what I'd call 'compassion fatigue,' and we were moving toward a more conservative era [in Washington]. But we had a clear vision of what we wanted to do and with hard work and commitment by many we built it into this premier institution."
Brent Wilkes, Washington director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), notes Mr. Yzaguirre's accomplishments. "[Mr. Yzaguirre] leaves a tremendous legacy at NCLR and in the Latino community in general," he says. "The work he has done to move the organization forward and its agenda of helping Hispanics is enormous."
NCLR Yzaguirre" />
President, CEO |
Joined NCLR: 1974
Education: bachelor of science, George Washington University
Board seats include: Sears, Roebuck & Co.; United Way of America; AARP Services Inc.; National Hispanic Leadership Agenda; Salvation Army
For the past several months, Mr. Yzaguirre has been working with Ms. Murguia on the transition. "While I have no intention of retiring and I hope to do other things, it is time for me to end my career [at NCLR]. I haven't made up my mind where I'm going to go or what I'm going to do, but I hope to make the transition within a year," says Mr. Yzaguirre, who is battling Parkinson's disease. "It's my objective to continue to be involved and try to make a difference, and at the same time focus on my health and my family and be able to give that more attention."