Forum yields pledges for Latino group
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 20, 2004 12:00 AM
Susie Steckner

A new effort to better serve Latinos got a boost Thursday with pledges of financial and other support of issues ranging from education to health care.

A one-day forum in Phoenix brought together about 100 participants from non-profit groups, government agencies and other organizations. It was the first step by the new Arizona Hispanics in Partnership to address the needs of the Valley's burgeoning Latino population.

The Arizona Community Foundation, a collective of about 700 charitable funds, pledged minigrants of about $1,000 to organizations to better serve Latinos. ACF and others committed to pooling funds to draw matching funds from other sources.

This year, a survey by organizers of the Arizona Hispanics group listed six concerns: immigration; medical and behavioral health care; civil rights; early childhood education and child care; workforce development; and K-12
education with a focus on drop-out rates.

Participants said there are no easy answers.

Those discussing early childhood education and child care noted myriad challenges, such as how best to reach parents, how to produce information early in both English and Spanish, and how to duplicate successful programs.

Gov. Janet Napolitano addressed the crowd and stressed the need to invest in education, uphold new reforms for Child Protective Services and address fears that she said are driving anti-immigrant sentiments.


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