El Centro Latino succumbs to recession

After a decade of helping Orange County Hispanics better navigate their community, El Centro Latino has closed its doors, The News & Observer reported Nov. 27.

Citing a decline in donations, the organization’s board laid off all three full-time employees and ceased virtually all operations.

Only its after-school program, offered in conjunction with UNC-Chapel Hill, will continue.

“It has been a wonderful nonprofit that has provided so many good services to the community,” board member Paula Gildner says in a statement. “It was just the recession. It’s hit a lot of nonprofits hard, especially small ones like ourselves.”

The organization, created in 1999, provided a range of services to recent Hispanic immigrants, including English classes, employment assistance and interpretation.

El Centro’s board plans to hold a meeting with funders and community members in January to determine if any services can continue to be provided.

“The needs are absolutely still there,” Richard Gugelmann, a former board member, says in a statement. “And everybody there is dedicated to trying to help, but at the moment they just can’t.”

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