Latino Leadership, Inc. (L2) is Central Florida’s most established grassroots organization committed to fostering the integration of the Hispanic community into mainstream America. The organization emerged as a voter registration project in 1999, which evolved into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated in 2001. The organization’s main goal is to empower people by facilitating access to available resources that will lead them to success. To achieve this goal, the organization’s programs are focused into three major areas: Education Advancement, Leadership Development, and Economic Development.
One of L2’s most successful programs is Santiago & Friends | Family Center for Autism, which is the first fully bilingual, linguistically-and culturally-competent center in Central Florida. In 2017, Santiago & Friends provided more than 7,000 hours of applied behavior analysis therapy, weekly parent trainings, and hosted eight autism-friendly family events.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, L2, in partnership with the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, established the Puerto Rico Family Response Center (PRFRC) in Orlando as a humanitarian response to help alleviate the suffering of families impacted by the natural disaster. The organization has helped more than 8,500 displaced families by providing immediate emergency relief services. L2 developed the PRFRC as a permanent program, which serves as a one-stop center for new arrivals as they transition to their new community in Central Florida.
L2 addresses economic development priorities through its housing rehab, housing counseling, and workforce development programs. Since 2013, L2 acquired, rehabbed, and sold 13 properties increasing property values by over $750,000 dollars, with current market values near $1 million. The organization employs a Housing Counselor to complement the housing rehab program and help prepare Latino families for homeownership. In 2017 and 2018, the organization’s housing counselor provided services to 31 and 35 individuals, respectively.
Moreover, as a result of a partnership with LULAC and Televisa Foundation, L2 successfully administers TECHNOLOchicas Lift, through which young girls are empowered to learn coding and programing. Through the organization’s Best Buy Technology Program, over 15 middle and high school students have had access to an innovative approach of utilizing technology as the avenue to develop new and competitive skills. Recently, L2 had the privilege of being awarded the Red Nose Day Fund Grant, in alliance with UnidosUS, to be part of the initiative Healthy & Ready for the Future. Through this grant, LL has created a program to help lead families and their children on a path of self-sufficiency and integration.