Making a Difference in the Hispanic Community: Maite Arce
July 28, 2011 by dmsconsultant
Maite Arce is the Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Access Foundation. Ms. Arce took time recently to speak about how her childhood experiences motivated her to pursue a career in the public sector, eventually leading her to establish HAF.
Maite Arce’s family immigrated to America from Mexico when she was seven years old. “They came to this country and worked really hard. They had a really hard time learning English, paying taxes, and getting an education, simply because we didn’t have guidance from a trusted source“.
From an early age, she realized that the problem was not a lack of resources available for Hispanics, but a lack of access to those resources and understanding of how these resources work. “That experience stayed with me” Arce says.
Ms. Arce did not let these setbacks prevent her from getting an education. She began working on community outreach. “Part of my nature and personality is wanting to help other people.”
As she started to advance in her career, Arce was presented with opportunities to create programs. Through that process, she founded a national bilingual helpline and then eventually the service provider database.
Arce says that the database “developed organically based on the needs we were hearing from the community. Having an ear in the community helped me build on that motivation that something needed to be done.”
Building the Hispanic Access Foundation
In 2009, Ms. Arce was working for another non-profit. “In developing a non-profit there are many sides. I was strong in the implementation side, but there’s also a financial, a government, and a fundraising side. I had to learn about the other pieces.”
Launching the HAF foundation was a natural process for Arce. “It was a blessing that God put before me. It was the situations that I was put into over the years. And it just all came together last year in early 2010, when I realized that it was time and that I had the experience. I just had to take the risk.”
Keys to HAF’s Success
“The primary element that makes HAF successful is its partnerships with faith and community networks” says Arce. Hispanics trust these national and local networks. Another key tool is the use of mass media campaigns- providing a message in the air and on the ground with outreach and education. The final component is technology. HAF manages information from an array of sources including the organization’s database, directory, social media, and community evaluation studies. It also provides bilingual materials to community leaders and others that work with Hispanics.
How to Get Involved
There are many ways you can help Maite and the rest of the HAF team make a difference in your community. “The best way for anyone to get involved is to go on the HAF website, take a look at the key issues and contact us through our social media network or by identifying local resources” Arce says.
Another important way to contribute is to donate to HAF. Financial support helps HAF make an impact in the lives of Latinos across the nation. Those interested can contact HAF and stay informed by signing up to receive the HAF newsletter.
If you work with Hispanics, add your listing to our searchable directory. You can help Hispanics in your area get connected with service providers and other resources.