Enriching and improving the lives of farm worker and Latino families by meeting their essential human, cultural and community needs is the mission of the Cesar Chavez Foundation. The Chavez foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, builds or renovates and operates thousands of units of high-quality affordable housing. It runs a communications network of nine radio stations in four states with a mix of popular regional Mexican music and educational-style Spanish-language programming reaching 500,000 daily listeners. Its student education tutoring programs boost academic achievement for under-served children as well as by preserving and promoting Cesar Chavez's legacy through service-learning. It has built and manages the Visitors Center and Memorial Gardens around Cesar's gravesite, and Villa La Paz, the new educational and conferencing center at La Paz in Keene, Calif.
Founded in 1966 as the National Farm Workers Service Center by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Richard Chavez and others with involvement from Senator Robert F. Kennedy and legendary United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther, the service center was initially conceived to help meet the social service and health needs of farm workers across the United States. When Cesar began building the farm worker movement five decades ago, he knew it would take a strong union to address the economic injustices workers suffer at the workplace. He was also convinced it would take a movement to overcome the heavy burdens of poverty, discrimination and powerlessness his people endure.
From the beginning, the United Farm Workers of America and the service center (the present-day Chavez foundation) were key parts of the same farm worker movement. But they served and continue to assist farm and other poor Latino workers in separate and distinct ways. The UFW is dedicated to helping workers change their lives at the jobsite through self-organization and collective bargaining. The Chavez foundation helps workers and their families overcome serious dilemmas they confront outside the workplace by providing affordable housing educational Spanish-language radio and educational services.
Since the 1960s, the service center expanded to meet the changing needs of working families and Latino communities, and excelled as a community leader throughout the five-state area it serves: Arizona, California, New Mexico Texas, and Washington state. It also provides services, leadership and training to other communities across the country. Cesar's family and friends established the Chavez foundation following his passing in 1993, to educate people about him and continue his work. In early 2011, the National Farm Workers Service Center merged with the Cesar Chavez Foundation to include all the operations under one umbrella and offer a comprehensive approach to managing the duel elements of his legacy: inspiring people by sharing Cesar's life and values as well as improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor people.
Quality affordable Housing. The Chavez foundation builds and renovates high quality, well-maintained multi-family apartment properties and single-family homes to make safe, amenity-rich affordable housing available to low-income working families and seniors. More than 4,300 rental units and 300 single-family homes have been developed for low-income residents in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The Chavez foundation is also dedicated to creating healthy and secure communities. We not only manage the physical properties we develop, we manage the housing communities, bringing critical amenities and extensive community services for residents in each affordable housing project through Si Se Puede Learning Centers for children and Mind, Body and Spirit Centers for active seniors.
Radio that educates and entertains. The Chavez foundation's popular Radio Campesina network extends the mission and promise of educational radio to an underserved, largely immigrant population. Through the network of nine radio stations, the Chavez foundation reaches more than 500,000 Spanish-speaking listeners every day in four states. Our unique format combines popular regional Mexican music with lively interactive talk shows and other innovative and interesting news and educational programming that educates, informs the public and calls listeners to action. In this way, Radio Campesina helps deliver public education to a wide, diverse audience.
Striving for academic equality. Envisioning a future in which low-income children in the United States have an equal chance of achieving success in school, graduating from high school, and building careers that advance their families and communities is another goal of the Chavez Foundation. The Cesar Chavez Education Institute offers concrete solutions to the dismal state of public education plaguing the communities we serve. We supply high quality, leading-edge programs and materials that help children achieve key benchmarks that are basic foundations for long-term success in school.
We also deliver essential educational services at Chavez foundation affordable housing properties in four states. Our Si Se Puede Learning Centers provide a distinctive model of out-of-school programming located within our housing properties, making it much more likely for families to become and stay involved in a structured educational program benefiting their children.
Providing community leadership.
The Chavez foundation supplies national, state and local leadership that contributes to shaping public policies and practices embracing the diverse needs of farm workers and other poor Latino working people. We work collaboratively with our sister organizations in the farm worker movement, including the United Farm Workers, as well as government agencies and elected leaders, school districts and corporate and nonprofit partners.
Achieving long-term sustainable solutions.
Following the tradition of community empowerment forged by Cesar Chavez and the farm worker movement, the Chavez foundation constantly strives to embrace innovative and effective solutions to community problems that are self-sustaining and economically viable over the long term. In this way, the Chavez foundation aims to stand the test of time and ensure the continuity and future expansion of our programs and services.