El Centro de la Raza 


El Centro de la Raza is a voice and a hub for Seattle and Martin Luther King, Jr. County's Latino community as we advocate on behalf of our people and work to achieve social justice. Through our comprehensive programs and services, we empower members of the Latino community as fully participating members of society. We also work to raise awareness with the general public, and government, business and civic leaders about the needs of the Chicano/Latino community in the United States.

Mission Statement
As an organization grounded in the Latino community, our mission is to build unity across all racial and economic sectors, to organize, empower, and defend our most vulnerable and marginalized populations and to bring justice, dignity, equality, and freedom to all the peoples of the world.
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El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave S 
(206) 957-4605 

Estela Ortega 
Executive Director 


El Centro de la Raza Programs

We seek to address the immediate needs of the children and youth in our community as well as to prepare them for their futures. The José Martí Child Development Center provides bilingual, multicultural curriculum to children ages 1-4 to develop the child's self-awareness, cultural pride, self-esteem and build cognitive development skills. Provides accessible, affordable, quality childcare that nurtures our children using a bilingual, multicultural curriculum. We were the first nationally accredited Spanish-English bilingual child development center on the West Coast.

Seeking to address immediate aspects of human suffering such as hunger, healthcare and homelessness, we provide diverse, bilingual human and emergency services including Homeless Assistance. This program addresses the issue of homelessness by providing comprehensive housing assistance to homeless Latino families, generally limited English proficient and/or immigrants, who are presented with multiple barriers to stable housing. Participants receive case management focused on stabilizing their situations, and finding and maintaining permanent, affordable housing.

El Centro seeks to promote self-sufficiency and empowerment through bilingual education and skill building initiatives, including Homeownership Education and Counseling. This program prepares perspective home buyers with education workshops and one on one coaching for successful long term Homeownership. These workshops cover down-payment assistance, mortgages loan products, recognizing predatory lending, and credit building or rebuilding. This program includes counseling and educational workshops for Pre-Purchase, Investment for Retirement and Foreclosure Avoidance.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges


El Centro de la Raza provides a series of distinct services to address the food needs of Seattle’s most marginalized populations.

El Centro hopes to expand their services by redeveloping the south lot as the Plaza Roberto Maestas next to the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station, which will include a public plaza, retail/community gathering space, and 114 affordable housing units.

El Centro has a very strong history of community leadership within the Latino community and a strong presence in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The current Executive Director has been with the organization for almost 40 years and is supported by many other long-term staff. The organization also has the capacity to fulfill the needs of the community, so individuals and families who may access the food programs also have access to other support services El Centro can provide.

El Centro has strong partnerships with other organizations, such as Lettuce Link, Food Lifeline, Food Resources, Pike Place Market and the American Red Cross.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
El Centro has a bilingual, culturally competent staff that allows them to continue their outreach efforts to the Latino community as well as other communities in the surrounding neighborhood.

Financial Health
El Centro’s 40th Anniversary Celebration brought in $255,000 exceeding their 2011 auction by $62,000.  With the support of a full-time grants coordinator, El Centro is aggressively cultivating corporate, foundation, and government funding. They have also grown their programming to include creative fundraising projects such as Christmas tree sales, culinary classes, Spanish classes, space rentals, and a temporary pay parking lot.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

3/10/2013 $20,000.00provide general operating support.
3/10/2011 $20,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2009 $30,000.00support general operating expenses.


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