Dear members and friends,
During Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), I want to take the time, and ask you all to do the same, to reflect on the long and arduous road those who paved the path for us had to walk. Many of them are reading this right now. Please know that your contributions, sweat, and tears have benefited our community immensely. They have, more importantly, opened the door to a vast ocean of opportunities for Latinos and Hispanics, particularly here in Maryland.
To those who have benefited from the selflessness and leadership of others, please reach out to a young Latino, become his or her mentor, join a committee in our Chamber, remain excellent and proud of your craft and what you do, and remember that the future of this nation is directly tied to the success of our generation and the next generation of Latino leaders. What you do matters. How you do it matters even more.
Many in our board will be reaching the conclusion of their board terms and will be stepping down from leadership positions within our Chamber. It is time to pass the torch to a new set of passionate, driven, hungry, and highly talented group of individuals. For that, we need your help.
If you or someone you know has unbendable ethics, vision, a desire to help without expecting returns to benefit you or your business directly, grit, perseverance and commitment to follow through with what you say you will do, then please send an email with a resume/CV and a letter of intent to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered.
I am also very happy to report that our Chamber has been awarded its largest ever grant by the MAERDAF. This is a true testament to our mission and to the people who volunteer their time for the betterment and prosperity of our organization, and thus, Maryland Hispanic-owned businesses. The project charges the MDHCC with gathering data related to Maryland Hispanic businesses.
One benefit of the results of this project will be to provide a more accurate depiction of Hispanic and Latino commercial activity that may be under-counted today. Additionally, there may be unique needs for Hispanic start-up businesses that may not otherwise be reached by traditional financing channels. If we can identify where they are, we can encourage expansion and connect these entrepreneurs to mainstream activities.
This project holds the promise to offer several tangible impacts for the State of Maryland to be confident in the investment of these grant funds:
- Maryland employee retention and community building among Maryland’s Hispanic residents
- Identifying businesses and providing connection services
- Engaging Hispanic businesses and collecting appropriate data into communities that are otherwise underserved.
- Spurring economic activity by connecting Hispanic and non-Hispanic businesses.
I want to thank Gigi Guzman and Katie Nash, both Board Directors of the MDHCC and all who contributed to the writing of the grant as well as recommendation letters. This was indeed a team effort that will move our community forward.
Please have a wonderful month of October and don’t forget to celebrate #HispanicExceptionalism!
Jorge Eduardo Castillo
Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce