Hispanic Business Magazine 50 Most Influential Hispanics for 2014

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Hear from Chicanos Por La Causa’s President and CEO Edmundo Hidalgo. Hidalgo was named by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential Hispanics for 2014. He was recognized for his work helping CPLC become one of the most influential community development corporations in the United States.

José Cárdenas: "Hispanic Business" magazine released its 2014 list of the 50 most influential Hispanics in the nation. There were two people selected from Arizona. Rosemary Marquez, U.S. district judge, district of Arizona, and the other one named is Edmundo Hidalgo, president and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa. Congratulations. If people have been watching our show over the years, they would know why you were selected. You've been on the show a number of times, and Chicanos Por La Causa, with you as a guest and with others, has been highlighted. Recently we had other people on the show. Before we talk about some of the reasons why it makes so much sense that you were selected, tell us a little bit about your background, because people may not know you that well.

Edmundo Hidalgo: Sure. So really grew up in a rural community, born and raised in Arizona, grew up in San Luis, went to Yuma high school initially, but came to Tempe by going to Arizona state University. And really in a lot of ways was a product of Chicanos Por La Causa, right, CPOC, a lot of local organizations really invested in my education, so I was able to go the full circle and now being part of an organization that has great impact in our community. So obviously really proud to represent not just Chicanos Por La Causa, but also our community, and just honor of this recognition.

José Cárdenas: Your background includes a number of years in the private sector, gaining some valuable experience there.

Edmundo Hidalgo: Absolutely. I had an opportunity to work for the federal government as well as working banking, so I had an opportunity to work for Wells Fargo and Bank of America, and having gone the full circle, so into this environment I think that you have to be an individual that is well rounded and have a variety of experiences. So all those things I think really prepared me for the opportunity to lead Chicanos Por La Causa.

José Cárdenas: Now, being recognized as one of the 50 most influential Hispanics in the country, as you yourself indicated modestly when we were off camera, it's not just a reflection of you and your personal story as inspiring as it is, but also the organization you lead. Chicanos Por La Causa, one of the largest community development corporations in the country.

Edmundo Hidalgo: Absolutely. As an individual, it's humbling. It's an honor, but at the same time, we know that we are here and I'm here, truly representing Chicanos Por La Causa and representing our community of Arizona. Often times as we travel throughout the state, and to other countries, people ask when we say we're from Arizona, well, aren't you guys a little backwards in terms of your elections and your things you're focused on? Some of the initiatives that have given our state a black eye. So through our organization we try to reflect not only the values, but also on the great things that are going on throughout Arizona and now Nevada and New Mexico. CPLC has grown to be a multistate organization, with really a focus in helping those individuals that want to help themselves from an economic perspective.

José Cárdenas: So give us an overview of the kinds of things that you do that enable you to help people in this respect.

Edmundo Hidalgo: Absolutely. Last year we were able to serve over 190,000 individuals throughout the footprint. Many of them came through our human service aspect, so whether it was our social enterprises, or it was our human services, behavior health, education, in many cases it was individuals that were looking to move up the economic ladder. Many of them have barriers or obstacles they need to overcome, and that's where CPLC comes in. So it's not about us saying there's no specific formula to help you, but it's about what goals do you have in order to meet the needs of yourself and your family and how can CPLC help to you accomplish those goals? I think as a state, we're very progressive and we're a state that really has benefited from the growth and opportunities, and this last economic cycle really affected a lot of individuals that lost wealth, lost jobs, and are trying to get back to being productive and having jobs that pay livable wages.

José Cárdenas: At the same time that Chicanos Por La Causa focuses on business development and creating job opportunities, the organization was born in the social movements of the '70s, and it really hasn't forgotten its roots. You've been involved in pieces of litigation dealing with that reputation, that soiled image of Arizona that you referenced a little while ago.

Edmundo Hidalgo: Absolutely. So as much as we try to be a progressive organization and one that looks to move agendas forward, sometimes there's things that require attention, so 1070 and 1062 more recently were issues that obviously were setbacks to many of us in our community as well as the movement in our state, ask just the image that we have nationally. But other initiatives, the sanctions, things that we believe are not good in terms of moving our community and our economy, are things we've got involved with. Those are things that are still very much grass-roots, very much things that most of us in the Latino community believe to be just bad policy. And in those cases, CPLC has been a plaintiff working with many other organizations locally and nationally to make sure that we take it to the courts and that hopefully we're having the proper outcomes come out of those decisions.

José Cárdenas: Included all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Edmundo Hidalgo: Absolutely.

José Cárdenas: We've got about a minute left. Very quickly, some of the new exciting things that CPLC is involved in?

Edmundo Hidalgo: We have a new project coming up, right here on 14th and Van Burien called the pickle house. It's our investment in trying to promote entrepreneurship. You're going to be hearing more about that, as we make significant investment that are trying to attract entrepreneurship, especially in the high-tech, especially in the manufacturing business. So we'll come back to you in a later segment and try to talk more about those opportunities and the type of people who we're working with in our communities.

José Cárdenas: As we said at the beginning, recognition is well deserved. You truly are one of the most 50 influential Hispanics in the country, and of course here in Arizona. Before we close, just any personal reflections? We've got a little time left O. what this honor means?

Edmundo Hidalgo: For me it's about being able to engage and being able to bring 8 tension, not just Chicanos Por La Causa, but to allow the great work our community does. The type of people that we're identifying that were selected to be part of the list are people from all walks of life. I think above all, I think all of us are trying to make our community better, are trying to ensure that we're part and included in many of the decisions that are made that benefit our community as a whole, and I think for us, that's all we're asking for. We're asking to be included and to be part of this diverse community and diverse state of Arizona.

José Cárdenas: Congratulations, and thanks for joining us this evening.

Edmundo Hidalgo: Thank you. And that's our show for tonight.

José Cárdenas: From all of us here at eight and "Horizonte," thanks for watching. I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening. Captioning Performed By LNS Captioning www.LNScaptioning.com

Edmundo Hidalgo:President and CEO, Chicanos Por La Causa;

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