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San Diego’s Chicano Federation Creates Empowering Opportunities for All

The goal of Chicano Federation is to build resiliency for residents of San Diego through the services they offer, promoting self-sufficiency.

Established in 1969, Chicano Federation, serves the San Diego community, working with nearly 25,000 families each year. Volunteers, supporters and everyone who works for Chicano Federation has made it a tremendous success, helping those they serve move toward self-sufficiency through a variety of programs.

Watch the above video to see the life-changing results of Chicano Federation, or read the full interview transcription we’ve provided below (lightly edited for clarity).

Chicano Federation of San Diego

Chicano Federation Programs

Nancy Maldonado, President & CEO, Chicano Federation of San Diego (00:01) –  Chicano Federation is an advocacy and social services nonprofit. It started 52 years ago as an advocacy organization, and then over the years transitioned into a service organization as well. So we have a number of different programs. And they’re really all geared towards serving our community, our low income community and empowering our community, moving them towards self-sufficiency.

NM (00:23) – We have affordable housing. We have early childhood education and a preschool in Barrio Logan. We have a childhood nutrition program. And we have a number of different childcare programs, including subsidized childcare, and a business development program where we help women from the community to start their own small business in childcare.

Chicano Federation of San Diego

The Success of Chicano Federation

NM (00:46) – There’s been a lot of successes. I think one of the most recent is obviously our response to COVID-19 and to the pandemic. We were one of the only organizations that never worked remotely. In fact, during a time where a lot of people took a step back, Chicano Federation took a step forward.

Fernando Ponce, Board Chair, Chicano Federation of San Diego (01:04) – People have seen that we really are here for the community. We really are trying to make a difference. And we’re really trying to help those that have been most impacted, from doing the PPE drives, from doing the vaccine drive.

FP (01:15) – We also are really the only organization that helped undocumented. We actually were out there also providing rent assistance to those individuals, even utility bills. And there’s just a slew of funds that we put out there for individuals that weren’t able to go and get help from some of the more established programs that were put out there.

NM (01:35) – We were able to pivot very quickly, form new programs. We formed the San Diego Latino Health Coalition and brought together a number of different organizations all towards that one goal of protecting our communities and ensuring that they had the resources that they needed to be safe and to continue to be safe.

Chicano Federation of San Diego

San Diego Community

NM (01:53) – We want our families to never have to need our programs again. So if we can move our families to be self-sufficient and empowering them to start their own businesses and building wealth within their communities, then that’s our role.

Sandra Perla, Chicano Federation Program Participant (02:08) – Help for the whole family, help for the kids most importantly. I feel that here at the Chicano Federation they offer lots and lots of benefits.

Ignacio Cisneros, Chicano Federation Program Participant (02:18) – I got behind on my rent due to COVID-19. And now I got diagnosed with cancer. So obviously there were two situations where I got stuck between. So I was able to be helped by them.

NM (02:35) – We have done a lot to impact the community. We serve about 25,000 families each year. But we know that there’s a lot more that we can be doing. So we have a lot of goals. And we look forward to serving San Diego for many years to come.

And we really couldn’t do the work that we do if it wasn’t for all of our volunteers, our supporters and everyone who works to make Chicano Federation’s work a success.

For more information, visit chicanofederation.org.

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