It’s been a while since I posted last because I’ve been busy learning new things! On Sept 23-25, I went to a great conference in LA, put on by the National Association of Latino Asset Builders (NALCAB). This is an organization whose mission is ” to build financial and human
assets as well as real estate and technology resources in Latino families, communities, and organizations.”
Having worked in a community based organization on Chicago’s westside and then with Next Door’s own, Nuestra Comunidad Sana, helping to build the assets of people and the community, I thought I was pretty well versed on that terminology. I have always defined asset building as building upon the assets that every individual has by helping to increase their education about health or social issues. NALCAB defines assets like the financial industry does–those things that increase a person’s wealth. Here’s what their website says,
“NALCAB is the national voice for a geographically and ethnically diverse group of Latino-led community development corporations (CDCs), community development finance institutions (CDFIs) and other community-based organizations that focus on asset building projects. NALCAB’s members serve Latino communities by developing affordable housing, implementing economic development strategies, providing consumer education services and providing wealth-building products and services.”
Over the past two years, Nuestra Comunidad Sana has had a leadership development grant from the Northwest Area Foundation, which I’ve written about before, called Raices/Roots. This has been a wonderful project that has helped us to really concentrate on what we’ve always done but never had much money to support us in before: concentrate on assisting the natural leaders in the community to find their voices.
Part of the Raices project has been to provide Latino community members with financial literacy classes, assist Latino entreprenuers with business plans, and help them get microenterprise loans. For the first two goals, we’ve partnered with Mary Merrill of the Columbia Gorge Community College’s Small Business Development Center and for the last goal we’ve partnered with Mid Columbia Economic Development District. It’s really been neat to realize that we have resources in our community already and what we can provide is a bridge for our Latino population to access those resources.
I’m excited about the future of asset building within the Latino population of the Mid Columbia. I think there is much work that can be done and I hope that The Next Door is able to partner with NALCAB to do it. I’ll be keeping you all posted on our progress!