DURHAM, N.C. — Andrea Bazán, president of the Triangle Community Foundation, has been elected board chair of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino advocacy group in the U.S.
Latino Leaders magazine has also named her as one of the 101 most influential Latino leaders in the U.S., on a list that includes such well-known figures as author Isabel Allende, boxer Oscar de la Hoya, and the CEO of Wal-Mart.
Bazán has been a La Raza board member for six years, and most recently served as board vice chair.
One of North Carolina’s most prominent Latino leaders, she was co-founder and first executive director of El Pueblo, a Raleigh-based statewide advocacy group and an affiliate of the Washington, D.C.-based La Raza.
Her appointment in 2005 as president of the Triangle Community Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the Southeast, placed her among only a handful of Latinas to head a U.S. foundation.
As president of the foundation’s $13 million in annual grantmaking and $140 million in assets, Bazán has contributed to Latino issues as broad as the national immigration debate and as local as affordable housing in Chatham County.
Like the Council of La Raza, however, her work at the foundation has spanned a wide agenda.
With a special emphasis on civic engagement and youth, Triangle Community Foundation grants have ranged from microfinance and humanitarian aid to restoring historic Durham buildings and supporting efforts to end the death penalty.
In her three years at the foundation, Bazán has placed a strong emphasis on building partnerships among local organizations.
Her monthly “Lunches with the President” offer grantmakers, corporations and nonprofit groups the opportunity to mingle and share ideas, and the foundation hosts frequent donors’ forums to foster cooperation among local grantmakers.
Bazán says she hopes to transfer this focus on building partnerships to her work at La Raza.
“One of the goals for the National Council of La Raza in the last couple of years has been strengthening our relationship with our affiliate organizations,” she says.
The 40 year-old umbrella group’s 300 affiliates throughout the U.S. range from nonprofit charter schools to advocacy groups and direct-service charities.
“It’s been inspiring for me to get to know these groups,” Bazán says, emphasizing that the history and experience of La Raza’s affiliate groups, some of which have been around for 50 years or more, were invaluable to her as director of an up-and-coming organization like El Pueblo.
A native of Argentina, Bazán holds master’s degrees in social work and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked in academia and state government.