Funding woes, arguments stall El Pueblo

RALEIGH, N.C. — With funding off by almost a third and its chief stepping aside, a statewide advocacy organization that works on behalf of Latinos is retrenching, The News & Observer reported July 6.

Tony Asion stepped down recently as executive director of Raleigh-based El Pueblo, citing a disagreement with the organization’s board over fundraising.

The board believes the executive director should shoulder more of the fundraising burden, Asion says, while he believes fundraising is a board responsibility.

“I strongly believe in the mission of the organization and will continue to do anything I can to help,” he says. “I just don’t think it should be me at the helm.”

Pablo Escobar, board treasurer for El Pueblo, is running the group on a part-time basis and says the organization is “taking a back seat” while it looks to board members and grassroots community groups to meet some of the needs it no longer can address.

Funding for El Pueblo dropped to about $1 million this year from $1.3 million last year, forcing the organization to cut staff to 10 from 15 employees.

While the organization is still in operation, its troubles have come at the same time the immigration debate hits a fever pitch across the country.

“The work is still getting done,” says Escobar. “Our big concern is that people’s human rights are being respected.”

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