Leaving a Legacy and Carrying it Forward

In the fall of 2011, I was on my way to Los Angeles to speak at a conference when I received a call from a former colleague about a position at the National Park Foundation. I agreed to the meeting, but had no plans to pursue anything outside of running my own business at the time.

Upon my return, I met with Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. He explained that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar had created a fund within the Foundation designed to celebrate the contributions of American Latino’s throughout our country’s history. Hearing of the Secretary’s vision to tell a more inclusive story of the American experience, and understanding that this was an opportunity to create something from the ground up – I decided to pause on my business and throw myself into building the American Latino Heritage Fund (ALHF).

Since then, I’ve collaborated with Secretary Salazar and the teams at DOI and the National Park Service to help establish an entity that will forever preserve the full spectrum of American Latino history. With the Secretary’s hands-on leadership, we conceptualized a fund that seeks to bring in new National Historic Landmarks into the park system, create educational opportunities to talk about American Latino history and engage Latinos in visiting our national parks.

Last fall, Secretary Salazar stood alongside President Obama to announce the designation of the César E. Chávez National Monument. ALHF and NPF celebrated knowing our work had played an integral role in making it happen. (Since then, we have supported several more historic nominations, which are now making their way independently through the appropriate channels.)

One afternoon, in a meeting with the Secretary, we painstakingly went through every facet of the Fund including infrastructural components such as programs, grants, operations, new Board of Trustees, communications and finances. At the end of the meeting, having mentally patted myself for presenting a good case, Secretary Salazar asked: “What about the database for the Fund’s email listserv? You didn’t mention the database.” In our work together, I have come to witness and experience the Secretary’s deep commitment and passion for this country and have learned that he never settles.

Recently, at an evening reception, with just a few weeks left in his tenure, I shook the Secretary’s hand and said, “Mr. Secretary, it’s been a pleasure working with you.” In his typical fashion, he extended his hand further, tilted his head and cheerfully reminded me, “What are you talking about? There’s still a lot left to do!” 

And there’s certainly is a lot left to do. Today, we are ready to meet future challenges and are infinitely grateful to the Secretary for providing us with a solid foundation from which to keep building and creating. Now we invite you to join us in continuing to build the American Latino Heritage Fund.


Midy Aponte
Executive Director
American Latino Heritage Fund


  Honoring César E. Chávez's Lasting Legacy  
  Preserving the Full Spectrum of American Latino History  
  Kicking Off 2013   Celebrating Industry
and Labor

Kicking off 2013

The American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation hosted a reception with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the Department of Interior to honor the work of the National Park Service relative to the American Latino Heritage Initiative. The event welcomed more than 350 guests including philanthropists, business leaders and civic group representatives, many from the Latino community.

The Fund also partnered with National Park Foundation board member, Henry Muñoz, to support the Latino Inaugural 2013 efforts as a host sponsor of its symposium, The Futuro: Latino Power. Held at the Organization of American States, the symposium featured six issue-based sessions around the theme of increased Latino participation in U.S. civic life country and how this engagement translates into policy outcomes on issues ranging from the economy and education to immigration.

Celebrating Industry and Labor | The 1920s Mexican Mural Movement

Between July 1932 and March 1933, Diego Rivera, a predominant leader in the 1920s Mexican Mural Movement, created what many believe is this country’s finest, modern monumental artwork devoted to industry. Considered to be the most complex work of industry in America, the Detroit Industry mural cycle depicts the city’s manufacturing base and labor force on all four walls of the Detroit Institute of Art’s Diego Court. Rivera’s technique for painting frescoes, his portrayal of American life on public buildings, and the 1920s Mexican mural program itself directly influenced President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal mural programs.

The Detroit Industry mural cycle has exceptional national significance in the area of Art for its association with Diego Rivera, who is credited, along with José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, with the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern art. The mural is an exemplary representation of the introduction and emergence of Mexican mural art in the United States between the Depression and World War II; this movement significantly impacted this country’s conception of public art. The period of significance begins in November 1932 when Rivera arrived in Detroit and began his research on the city’s varied industries, and ends in March 1933 when Rivera completed the Detroit Industry murals. The American Latino Heritage Fund provided the National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Department with a $25,000 grant to support the application of the mural as a National Historic Landmark. The nomination of this site is pending and will be reviewed by the National Park Service’s Landmarks Committee in April 2013.  

Honoring César E. Chávez's Lasting Legacy

The American Latino Heritage Fund proudly joined the President of the United States Barack Obama, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and NPS Director Jon Jarvis, in establishing the César E. Chávez National Monument as the 398th national park in the Fall of 2012. Located in Keene, California, the Monument commemorates the home and final resting place of renowned Latino civil rights activist, César E. Chávez. The location also served as the former headquarters for the labor movement he helped create – the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). ALHF provided $150,000 needed to open and fund operations of the national monument throughout its first year.

Preserving the Full Spectrum of American Latino History

The current composition of the National Historic Landmarks Program and National Register of Historic Places does not accurately reflect the diversity of the nation. The Fund helps engage the Latino community and key stakeholders involved in historic preservation in identifying historic sites and places essential to understanding the impact of Latino heritage in the United States. ALHF funding is applied toward supporting the work of nominations commemorating Latino contributions into the National Historic Landmark Program.


ALHF Hosts Moonlight Tour during NHLI Conference

The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) is well-known for its Executive Leadership Program, from which many fellows move on to serve in high-level government positions, corporate boards and executive positions, and as leaders of non-profit organizations. NHLI’s 25th Anniversary Annual Conference was held in Washington, D.C. last December.  Nearly 200 alumnae and stakeholders from throughout the country attended a welcome reception featuring the American Latino Heritage Fund. As an extension, ALHF hosted a Moonlight Tour of National Monuments on the Mall.

The Moonlight Tour was led by National Park Service Park Ranger Joann Garcia who quickly won the hearts of the women in the room and captured their interest and attention throughout the tour. Two shuttle busses and an estimated 120 women toured monuments on the National Mall, including the Simon Bolivar National Monument, Martin Luther King Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. The opportunity allowed for these women to experience our national treasures in a different light and to meet directly with individuals from the Park Service who are committed to protecting and preserving them for future generations.

A Strong Online Presence

In January, the Fund announced the launch of its new website, ALHF.org.  The new website supports ALHF’s work to preserve, integrate and celebrate the cultural, economic and civic contributions of Latino communities in the American story, as well as to open channels of engagement that encourage Latinos to visit historic sites and national parks. Centered on this fundamental mission, the new website functions as an information hub to enhance the quality and availability of information about the American Latino Heritage Fund and National Park Foundation’s preservation efforts in the Latino community.

Among several special features, the website includes a database of national parks units, national historic landmarks and heritage areas related to the American Latino experience. Its user-friendly design provides more efficient access to ALHF resources, mission and leadership, as well as featured content, videos, photo galleries, and links to the organization’s newsletter. Visitors are also encouraged to send in donations in support of ALHF’s mission: the nomination of historic landmarks that celebrate Latinos’ contributions to the American experience; and helping the National Park Service raise the profile of American Latino heritage and history through education and curriculums.

Going Social | ALHF Hosts Monthly Twitter Townhalls

The new ALHF.org is the first of many steps designed to strengthen our efforts across  web and social media channels. ALHF is continually striving to effectively engage audiences on issues of importance specific to preserving American Latino history and heritage in the U.S. Beginning February 11, ALHF  hosts monthly virtual townhalls to discuss Latino history and culture via Twitter under hashtag #LatinoHeritage. To find out more about townhall dates, please visit ALHF.org.

Joining the Team

We are very excited to welcome Kristina Palmer to the National Park Foundation.  Kristina’s focus will center on fundraising in support of the American Latino Heritage Fund and the African American Experience Fund.  In her new role as Development Director, Kristina is responsible for identifying, soliciting and managing corporate and individual donors to support the mission of the National Park Foundation’s multicultural funds. Kristina has an extensive background in development with experience working at City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Apollo Theater, African American Museum in Philadelphia and several other non-profits. If you are interested in donating to ALHF, or would like to know more about our corporate sponsorship program, please email Kristina at KPalmer@nationalparks.org.


In the Next Issue

The American Latino
Heritage Fund is part of the
National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks.



National Park Foundation

National Park Service


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