To create experiences that engage achieving high school and college age youth in community leadership roles that advance our quality of life.
To be the leading organization that fosters future community leaders for the expanding Latino community throughout the United States and Latin America.
Since the late 1970s, the founders of the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), Ernesto Nieto, and co-founder, Gloria de Léon, saw the rapidly expanding U.S. Latino youth population as a source of bright, forward thinking young minds that could become involved in community leadership development. They recognized that if the Latino community did not cultivate their brightest young minds to reinvest in community causes, their potential could forever be lost to other interests.
Given the strong attention given to college planning and career readiness, most high achieving Latino youth had simply not been asked to engage in community endeavors. There was little exposure to playing key roles in service to others and leading change. They also did not know how enriching and fulfilling it could be. Nieto and de León needed to design something to attract youth to recognize and value the human potential they represented as community leaders. They identified three critical elements that were essential to cultivate this valuable human resource and to establish an ongoing supply of articulate and educated future community leaders. They included:
Over a span of 40 years, the founders, staff and thousands of committed volunteers of the National Hispanic Institute have invested money, time and effort to develop these three initiatives. Our collaborative efforts include: