On November 16th, 2017, Nueva Esperanza held its 35th Annual Meeting! Board members, Community Partners and Members all came together and celebrated Nueva Esperanza’s organizational, fiscal, and operational growth; shared its final and approved Mission and Vision; reviewed its programming; revealed and welcomed the Interim Executive Director and voted in one new Board Representatives to replace one outgoing Board members.
The Board member Juan Sanchez opened the event with a welcoming to all guests. Guests in the audience of about 100 people included the South Holyoke Residents Association, State Representative Aaron Vega, Nueva Esperanza staff, and representatives from Virgilio Property Management, Valle Opportunity Council, the Holyoke Health Center, Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, Radioplasma, and other community residents and allies.
Following Juan’s welcoming was Board Member Samuel Mateo who reviewed Nueva Esperanza’s final and approved Mission and Vision Statement:
MISSION: Nueva Esperanza exists to be a catalyst and partner for a vibrant, sustainable and powerful Puerto Rican/Afro-Caribbean community in Holyoke.
VISION: Nueva Esperanza’s vision is to be a hub for community, creation, and culture for the Puerto Rican/Afro-Caribbean community.
- Creation: By creating new opportunities through social justice and community education focusing on leadership and creative youth development, we continue moving both the organization and the community forward.
- Community: Maintaining and expanding Nueva Esperanza’s property assets will make us leaders by example in how members of the community can take ownership of their neighborhoods and get more involved in their communities.
- Culture: To strive to become a Puerto Rican/Afro Caribbean Cultural Center that keeps our traditions, art, and history alive within our communities.
President Maria Salgado-Cartagena who opened the meeting reviewed the board’s successes over the past 12 months under her leadership. This includes:
- Hired an Executive Director
- Shored up finances and put in place more financial transparency;
- More than tripled the capital reserves and maintained a strong operational cash flow on our resident development in South Holyoke;
- Continued reducing liabilities;
- Achieved greater accountability and Board structure;
- Approved our mission and vision.
Salgado-Cartagena was proud to say to those present at Annual Meeting, “The greatest decision by the board was to hire Nelson Roman to be our Executive Director” Maria credited Roman for all of the programmatic work and community connection and outreach that Nueva Esperanza has seen. Salgado-Cartagena’s advise going forward. “Returning Nueva Esperanza as a hub for the community, fighting against gentrification that is occurring, and continue to hire and expand the work that Nueva Esperanza is doing.”
The Board Treasurer, Rosa Pantoja, presented the fiscal landscape of Nueva Esperanza, Inc. Pantoja was proud to share that for the first time in years, Nueva Esperanza has achieved a projected surplus in its budget. The primary income sources at the present moment come from the commercial and residential rental properties that have been doing well for the organization. However, with the hiring of the Executive Director, Pantoa was pleased to report that fundraisers and diversifying funds is in progress working through the leadership of Executive Director Nelson Roman. “We have seen new leases, and lease development for the properties, as well as increased revenue of El Mercado because of the smart and aggressive marketing of the properties by our Executive Director”. Pantoja also presented on the Board’s success in filing all past due taxes and financial documents with it the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and that before December of 2017 the fact that Nueva Esperanza will once again have its 501 C 3 application into the IRS for renovation of non-profit status. The Valley Opportunity Council, Steven Huntley, Executive Director, is currently their fiscal agent and is providing bookkeeping services for the organization. VOC was specifically praised for its leadership, support to the new Executive Director and Pantoja. If it weren’t for Mr. Huntley Nueva wouldn’t have been able to ensure completion of the taxes etc.
Our Interim Executive Director Nelson Roman provided a motivating recap of the past 6 months of his leadership at Nueva Esperanza, reviewing our programming work, community partnerships/ collaborations and events that have taken place since June of 2017. Mr. Roman also shared with the guests the fact that Nueva Esperanza was honored by MassINC as one of the 2017 Innovation Award organizations in the entire state, for its work around placemaking and artists. Mr. Roman shared the future vision for Nueva and its hopes to expand on each of its three main pillars, Creation, Community and Culture. Mr. Roman thanked all those in attendance and encouraged all individuals to donate to support the great work that will continue to be done by Nueva Esperanza. In Mr. Roman’s final point of the evening. “Please, save the date June 10th, 2018, for the Nueva Esperanza 35th Anniversary Gala and the unveiling of the Nueva Esperanza Archives at the Whistriahurst Museum.” Executive Director Roman ended by thanking the staff who assist him on a daily basis, on paper, there is only one paid staffer, Jose Colon (30 years), who is part-time, every single other staff member is either an intern from one of the colleges or a volunteer staff. It is a goal of the ED to find the funds in order to hire these individuals immediately.
Lastly, Board Elections, a Chair Pro-Tem was elected, Executive Director Nelson Roman presided over the election process. Nominations to elect a Board of Director’s slate for 2017-2018. First, there was an opportunity for any of the present Board Members to resign or to remain on the Board. Board President Maria Salgado-Cartagena, announced she would be stepping down for personal matters. Ms. Salgado-Cartagena was applauded and thanked for her stewardship and leadership this past year. There was a nomination of – Past Board President Joshua Garcia, to fill the open seat on the slate. It was approved and Mr. Garcia accepted.
The slate was as follows:
Dan Battat, Irene Feliciano-Sims, Jason Ferenc, Joshua Garcia, Mildred Lefebrve, Samuel Mateo, Rosa Pantoja, Carlos Pena, & Juan Gabriel Sanchez.
The slate was seconded by the members of Nueva Esperanza Inc. and unanimously elected.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:36 pm.