JRG: The annual report available online has a few financial highlights. Right now the [auditing] process is complete. We wanted make sure the convention revenue was included, because it's a big factor. The preliminary [auditor's opinion] letter has been faxed to me. To what extent additional information will be released, I don't know.
HB: Is the information from the convention all the organization plans to disclose, or is there more to come? Does the board plan to revisit financial accountability, especially in light of the proposed profit-sharing arrangements?
JRG: On the financial disclosure issue, we have completed the audit. We have a favorable letter from the auditors. The board will see this information at the [USHCC strategic planning] retreat in January. We haven't seen the numbers yet, but all indications are that they look good. Any decision to release more information would be taken up by the board.
HB: What about USHCC media ventures. Does the board exercise any oversight of the ventures, and do you see any changes this year?
JRG: The board monitors media ventures; we ask about the TV show at every board meeting. The magazine has just been launched, so it's kind of early to comment on that. On the TV show, it's positive in that it's now in its third year. We're in 90 markets, and we have solid advertisers. So we have projected profits for Hispanics Today in the coming year.
HB: Any other comments you'd like to add?
JRG: Communication is at an all-time high. The responsiveness is there. And this board recognizes the need for it. Also, I'd like to emphasize projects in the works [that] will give members more value for their membership. In particular, I'm excited about developing programs in which chambers can participate in the revenues.
THE MAN WHO STARTED IT ALL
Mr. Lizárraga is CEO of the nonprofit TELACU (The East Los Angeles Community Union) and vice-chairman of LINC (Latino Initiatives for the Next Century). Mr. Lizárraga spoke with Hispanic Business by telephone from his Los Angeles office.
HB: What are some of the issues the coalition hopes to tackle?
DL: The frustrations that led to the formation of the coalition stem from the apparent inability of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber to reach down to its membership – in regard to Los Angeles, the LBA and the California Hispanic Chamber. [They] were hosts [of the USHCC convention], and California Chamber felt that they weren't included in the process [of organizing the convention].
But I don't want to discuss the sour grapes. I want to talk about how the coming together of approximately 130 chambers was significant. A trade organization is only as strong as its members, and there's no need for or benefit from failing to communicate with those members. Up to this point, the USHCC has neglected servicing their local chambers.