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National Council of La Raza Records
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Collection Overview
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The collection contains board minutes, correspondence files, administrative files, internal memoranda, policy statements, contracts, project reports, evaluation files, videotapes, and audiotapes documenting the first 18 years of the history of the National Council of La Raza and its various components
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) was founded in February 1968 under the name of the Southwest Council of La Raza as a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization established to reduce poverty and discrimination, and improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Its Central Office was originally located in Phoenix, Arizona and in 1970 it opened its National Services Office in Washington, D.C. Its early efforts were focused primarily in the Southwestern states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. In 1973, the organization changed its name to the National Council of La Raza and moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C. to reflect its increasingly national focus. Henry Santiestevan served as the President and Executive Director of the Council from its inception through 1974, when Raul Yzaguirre, the current President and CEO of NCLR, came into office. NCLR focuses its efforts on two primary, complementary approaches: Capacity-building assistance to support and strengthen Hispanic community-based organizations: providing organizational assistance in management, governance, program operations, and resource development to Hispanic community-based organizations in urban and rural areas nationwide, especially those which serve low-income and disadvantaged Hispanics. Applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy: providing an Hispanic perspective on issues such as education, immigration, housing, health, employment and training, and civil rights enforcement, to increase policy-maker and public understanding of Hispanic needs, and to encourage the adoption of programs and policies which equitably serve Hispanics. NCLR also focuses its efforts on public information and media activities and special and international projects. These include innovative programs, catalytic efforts, formation of and participation in coalitions, and other special activities which use the NCLR structure and credibility to create other entities or projects. NCLR is the largest constituency-based national Hispanic organization, serving all Hispanic nationality groups in all regions of the country. NCLR has over 200 formal affiliates who together serve 37 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia - and a broader network of more than 20,000 groups and individuals nationwide - reaching more than two million Hispanics annually. Capacity-building assistance to support and strengthen local Hispanic groups - provided from NCLR's Washington, D.C., headquarters and its field offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, and San Antonio - focuses on resource development, program operations, management, and governance. NCLR provides services not only to its own affiliates, but also to other local Hispanic organizations; unlike organizations which serve only their own 'chapters,' NCLR welcomes affiliation from independent Hispanic groups which share NCLR's goals and self-help philosophy. NCLR also assists Hispanic groups which are not formal affiliates through issue networks dealing with HIV/AIDS, for example, community health, the elderly, education, and leadership. NCLR's Policy Analysis Center is the pre-eminent Hispanic "think tank," serving as a voice for Hispanic Americans in Washington, D.C.; the Albuquerque Tribune has called NCLR "the leading Hispanic think tank in the country," and the Baltimore Sun routinely refers to NCLR as "the principal" Latino advocacy group. Its unique capacity to provide timely policy analyses, combined with its considerable advocacy expertise, a reputation for political independence, and an identifiable constituency, permits NCLR to play an important role in policy and advocacy efforts. Its policy-related documents command extensive press and policy-maker attention, and NCLR is consistently asked to testify and comment on public policy issues such as immigration and education, as well as other issues of broad concern, from free trade to affordable housing, health policy, and tax reform. NCLR works closely with the private sector and has a broad base of financial support. NCLR maintains a diverse revenue base; the organization receives two-thirds of its funding from corporations and foundations, and the rest from the government. Its Corporate Board of Advisors, which includes senior executives from 25 major corporations and their liaison staff, provides ongoing consultation and assistance on a variety of efforts, from education and community health projects to visibility and fund raising. NCLR believes in cooperation and collaboration. NCLR staff belong to many issue-focused coalitions and associations, cooperating with other nonprofit organizations and private-sector entities on issues ranging from welfare reform to energy. All of NCLR's national-emphasis projects, which sometimes include pass-through funding - health, housing and community development, employment and training, education, the elderly, volunteerism, and leadership - include efforts to educate mainstream organizations, public and private, about Hispanic needs, and help them develop partnerships with Hispanic community-based organizations. NCLR also carries out joint projects with other organizations; NCLR is a partner, for example, with the National Urban League Project PRISM (Partners for Reform in Science and Mathematics), a national education reform project funded by the Annenberg/CPB Project. Some of NCLR's major reports have included: Burden or Relief? The Impact of Taxes on Hispanic Working Families; the third in a series of statistical analyses on the status of Hispanic education, Hispanic Education: A Statistical Portrait 1990; a comprehensive analysis of the Immigration Reform and Control Act's objective-related performance, Unfinished Business: The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986; an analysis of the performance of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in serving Hispanics, The Empty Promise: EEOC and Hispanics; a statistical "snapshot" of the status of the Hispanic population, State of Hispanic America: 1991; an analysis of Hispanic participation in elderly-related federal programs, On the Sidelines: Hispanic Elderly and the Continuum of Care; a major analysis on Hispanic health status, Hispanic Health Status: A Disturbing Diagnosis; a report providing an empirical basis for comparing the magnitude of the effects of alternative anti-poverty strategies on Hispanics, An Emerging Latino Anti-Poverty Agenda; and a report documenting the negative portrayal of Hispanics in the media and entertainment industry, and its effects on Hispanic and non-Hispanic public opinion, Out of the Picture: Hispanics in the Media. NCLR publishes a quarterly newsletter, Agenda, as well as other issue-specific newsletters on education, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and the elderly. NCLR's extensive series of policy reports and training modules are briefly described in its Publications Guide.
circa 1101 Linear Feet
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.
Collection is open for research; material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use. Personnel files are restricted until 2066. Contract files indicating contractor income are also restricted until 2066. Videotape materials require at least a two-week waiting period between they are requested and when they can be made available, to allow for use copies to be made from the master tapes. Accession 2005-068, 53 cartons, is unavailable until processing is complete. Digital collection is closed until processed.