We envision a world where our Latinx community of all stages of their career are civically engaged, connected, supported, and seen as a vital voice of influence nationwide.
About Our Organization
Get to know us
Who we are
We bring together Minnesota Latinx leaders from across the state, that include various ethnicities, generations, and working sectors to have a greater social impact through collaboration, power building, and leadership development.
We strive to increase our knowledge on pressing issues facing Latinxs in Minnesota, spotlight successes, and cultivate LatinoLEAD as a respected force of influence.
We are Latinx leaders across all sectors who join together to create innovative strategies to drive and define policies and perceptions that advance Latino collective influence, success and power.
Our core values and guiding principles
Our actions, interactions, and reactions within the context of this consortium will reflect and demonstrate our core values — both as outward facing values to the greater communities we serve as well as inward facing in the manner in which we collaborate with each other — so as to innovate solutions for the most pressing challenges before us.
LatinoLEAD began as the brainchild of three Latinx leaders and has quickly grown into a vast network of more than 1,500 leaders. It began in February of 2013, when Sandra Vargas, President and CEO at The Minneapolis Foundation, Luz Maria Frias, Vice President of Community Impact at The Minneapolis Foundation and Mike Fernandez, Corporate Vice President at Cargill, initiated dialogue around joining forces in the forming of a Latinx leadership group. Over the course of the next several months, they brought together Latinx leaders to define the group’s organizational framework and soon determined that the community would benefit from a cross-sector network of Latinx leaders organizing to increase members' knowledge of crucial issues that impact our communities in Minnesota. Later that year, LatinoLEAD officially became an initiative established by The Minneapolis Foundation and began with a network of 100 leaders.
Since then, LatinoLEAD has become a space for leadership development and advancement of Latinxs across all sectors. We bring together people from nonprofit service providers, grassroots activists, and business sectors, helping each learn from other points of view. We believe that together we can create innovative strategies to drive and define policies and perceptions that advance our collective influence, success, and power of our community. We are guided by our core values (LEAD) of Leadership, Equity, Achievement, and Diplomacy.
In 2015, we built five volunteer community lead teams to address the education gap, negative perceptions of the community, public policy issues most impacting the community, and leadership development. These teams spent over a year learning and sharing knowledge and strategies that helped increase awareness on how we can address these issues in our respective sectors of work and community. Additionally, we launched a successful campaign highlighting the contributions of Latinx Leaders and communities in Minnesota.
In 2017, Latino LEAD created its first board of directors and created bylaws modeled after the African American Leadership Forum. Shortly after, we hired our first executive director and began having stronger representation in the community and hosting forums that have included State Commissioners, legislators, nationally recognized experts on networking, and prominent news anchors from the Latinx community in mainstream media.
In 2019, we expanded our board, hired a second executive director, and developed the first strategic work plan to guide the vision and mission of the organization with constituent input. While transition can be difficult, 2019-2020 has been a time of great excitement and growth. Since Irma Marquez Trapero joined the organization in June of 2019, we’ve continued to build capacity for our network by increasing new partnerships within and across sectors.
In 2020, was recognized by Gov. Tim Walz for its leadership in convening, communicating and engaging Latinxs across the state during COVID-19. The network also has been heavily involved in the rebuilding of Lake Street in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder.
LatinoLEAD ended a successful 2020 by becoming an official nonprofit organization, earning its 501(c)(3) status.
As LatinoLEAD establishes itself as a separate nonprofit with consistent leadership and focus, we are building capacity to provide programming to support the interests and expectations of various sectors of our community, so we move forward on our goal of seeing Latinx leadership reflected in positions of influence and power in all sectors.
Support Our Work
We value your contribution!
When you contribute to LatinoLEAD you are supporting the collective efforts of an organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latinx people from across Minnesota.