A highlight during his last year as UnidosUS Board Chair, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) CEO Luis Granados spoke to thousands at the UnidosUS National Affiliate Luncheon during the organization’s national conference, The Power of US, celebrated in Chicago.
On Saturday, July 22nd, 2023, Granados boisterously welcomed the crowd to the four day Latino-led conference. He shared the story of MEDA – a small San Francisco non-profit “who could,” and who now is – as it is celebrating its 50th year serving the City’s Mission District.
Attendees at the luncheon were empowered to keep advocating for rights and demonstrating the strength of community by UnidosUS’ incredible line-up of speakers after Granados including Representatives Jesús García and Delia Ramírez of Illinois, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, and UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía.
Read Luis Granados’ speech here:
¡Bienvenidos A Chicago!
It is my honor to welcome all of you to the 2023 UnidosUS National Affiliate Luncheon right here in Chicago, Illinois! First, I just want to take a moment to offer my deepest gratitude to the Mariachi Los Pumas de Jovita Idar Elementary. Thank you!
I am so excited to be in beautiful Chicago with its vibrant history and culture, which, of course, includes Latinos. Latinos are now this city’s second largest racial and ethnic group, with a population of nearly 800,000. I love this town. We love this town.
In addition to being so happy to be in beautiful Chicago, this year is incredibly special for me and the organization that I work for, MEDA, the Mission Economic Development Agency. We are celebrating our anniversary. Our little MEDA …is turning 50!
I am so grateful to be standing here as MEDA’s Chief Executive Officer – a position I’ve held for 25 years. Thank you UnidosUS for celebrating our 50 years of serving Latinos in San Francisco’s Mission District.
We could not have reached this milestone without the trust of our many partners, our hardworking staff and our outstanding board of directors – The Power of Us is close and familiar.
As we celebrate, let me share who MEDA has become over this 50-year journey. At our core, we are a place-based organization improving the lives of Latinos through family wealth, entrepreneurship and housing.
That is some what we do… but not fully who we are. How we behave may be more telling of who we truly are.
We pride ourselves on leading with the big picture – we dream of what could be, and should be. We want Latinos to be able to thrive, succeed, and to have the option to call San Francisco their permanent home.
And, we live our values everyday. Audacity is one of these values, and as such:
- We dared to become an affordable housing developer.
- We dared to become a lender.
- We dared to imagine that we could fight and stop displacement.
Also, we are all about results: Twenty five years ago, when I started, we were an organization of four and served 100 people per year. Today:
- We have brought over 30 million in capital to small businesses.
- We have a housing portfolio of over 2,300 units,
- And, now, every year, we serve over 17,000 people.
These results show the Power of Us!
But really, who we are comes down to the people we serve. These are people like Alicia from Alicia’s Tamales who received technical assistance, over $300,000 in loans, grew her business. and now makes over 250,000 tamales per year and employs over 20 people.
Or, Arold Hernandez, a single parent of a special needs child who through our assistance has gone from living in a shelter, and now lives in an affordable apartment while his son’s needs are met.
Through the Power of Us, we empower others.
Honestly, I am even more excited for who MEDA will become. Our commitment to the Mission will continue to be second to none. We will stop and win displacement. We will ensure that political and funding systems prioritize our Latino communities. We will dare to help Latino-focused, Latino-led organizations create their capacity to build family wealth, to access capital, and to create new housing. We will make sure that the dream of prosperity is a reality that remains alive for everyone, the other Alicias, the other Arolds in our community.
Please join us in this meaningful journey to fully achieve the Power of Us.