Hispanic puzzle

Rapid growth challenges state to plan for services to serve Hispanics.

By Federico van Gelderen

[03.22.04] — Facing the fastest Hispanic growth rate in the U.S. in the last decade, North Carolina needs to plan for the allocation of services and resources to serve its Hispanic population.

Education, housing, health care and public transportation need to be addressed to transition through the integration process, and all of us must celebrate the benefits that this new diversity can bring to our state.

The failure to understand the reality and the consequences of not taking action is not simply bad business or bad morality: It could be self-destructive for our community.

The nonprofit world can play a huge role, and grassroots efforts are needed to solve one of the major problems we face, and those are education and the language barrier.

Cost-effective methods are needed to help Hispanics navigate the system, and to accommodate the system to serve these new customers, better allocating resources and tailoring them to those customers’ new needs.

Partnerships also are needed between American nonprofits and Hispanic nonprofits.

These partnerships should match organizations’ respective strengths and added-value so they can stay loyal to their missions, concentrate on solving particular problems by sharing their experience on how to run effective programs, and execute them efficiently, rather than falling into a vicious cycle of ineffectiveness that could keep donors from making  contributions.

This integration process has to be done through joint ventures and community partnerships because shaping our new society must concern all of us.

Collaboration and cultural sensitivity will lead to effective and efficient nonprofits with a niche, a focus, a mission and a coherent strategy that will give donors confidence.

Federico van Gelderen is publisher of Que Pasa Newspaper & Radio, Triangle Edition, Raleigh, N.C.

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