One of the important themes that emerged from Iowa West Foundation’s extensive community outreach in 2013 was the need to improve Latino engagement. A $35,000 grant was awarded this quarter to Council Bluffs El Centro Latino as an Iowa West initiative for capacity building of the organization.
“The city has a lot to offer,” said Ernest Ruehle, chairman of the El Centro Latino. He explained that a recent UNO study showed the increase in the population of the community was largely Latino.
“We have welcoming people in Council Bluffs,” he said. “This is a good place to work. We have good schools, and it’s a better place to raise families. This is a good place to live.”
Since 2005, El Centro Latino has been helping to provide a bridge to services in the areas of social services, education, housing, health, economic development and more.
This grant will further expand El Centro Latino services to help Latinos become more involved in community functions and assist city leaders to better understand Latino culture. It also includes funds to lease additional office space and make a part-time position a full-time employee.