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Our History


El Centro Latino was founded in 1969 by a small group of Puerto Rican migrants seeking to address the immediate needs of members of their community as they adapted to life in a new country, and in most cases, to a new language.

1950  Puerto Rican migrants come to the “Hilltop” following employment opportunities at local tanneries and other companies.​​


1967 The Puerto Rican Association is formed and meets in the basement of Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church.​​


1969 The Latin American Community Center is founded and incorporated by a group of Puerto Ricans in a red brick row house at 1202 West 4th Street. The first programs addressed immediate family needs - employment opportunities, housing, referral and information services.​​


1970 La Fiesta child care center opens.​​

1971 The facilities at 1202 West 4th Street are destroyed by a fire. The Agency moves temporarily to space at 7th and Adam Streets before returning back to this site.​​


1977 El Centro Latino moves to 7th and Harrison St.​​


1985 The Agency is destroyed by a fire, again. It returns to 1202 West 4th Street. Soon thereafter it expands its operations to the adjacent building – 1204 West 4th St.​​


1990 El Centro Latino moves to its new facility, a three story, 30,000 square foot building at 403 North Van Buren Street, three blocks from its original location. The Agency operates with a $680,000 budget and offers a number of programs.​​


2001 Los Jardines, a 24-unit, low-income Senior Citizen housing complex is funded with $2.9 million in federal funds and grants.​​


2002 Agency receives a three year, $220,000 mentoring grant and a 5-year $1.3 million educational Federal grant (administered by the State’s Dept. of Education) under the auspices of the “Leave No Child Behind” program.​​


2003 The Agency operates with a $2.2 million budget and offers over 40 programs to the community.​​


2006 Los Jardines opens its doors with 24 low income seniors living in the residential complex. The Agency grows 30% versus the prior year.​​


2007 El Centro Latino operates with a $4.2 million budget and a staff of 85 employees (55 full-time and 30 part-time).​​


2009 El Centro Latino turns 40! Has a budget of over 5 Million and offers almost 50 programs.

​Management Staff

Maria Matos
President & CEO
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Emilio Rana
Chief Financial Officer
Wanda Burgos
Director of Youth Development
Karen Hartz
Director of
Early Childhood Services
Alicia Dominguez
Director of Prevention

and Advocacy
Francisco Zambrano
Director of Family
Support Services
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Kelly Scanlan
Director of Development and Communications
Board of Directors


Cristina Brounce, Chair
Jose Lopez, Vice Chair

Wilson A. Gualpa, Secretary
John Morton, Treasurer
Hare, Treasurer
Ubel Velez, Esq., At-Large

Luis E. Santiago, At-Large

Rosa M. Colon-Kolacko, Ph.D., Member

Carlos de los Ramos, Member

Zelivette Gonzalez Feliciano, Member

Victor Herrera-Cervantes, Member

Maria T. Hurd, CPA, Member

Héctor Maldonado-Reis, Member
Zarela L. Molle-Rios, MD, Member

Rebecca Nazario, Member

Lynn Jensen Worden, Member

Maria Matos, President & CEO

Main Building
403 North Van Buren Street

Wilmington DE, 19805

Phone: (302) 655-7338

Manuelita Olson Building
301 North Harrison Street

Wilmington, DE 19805

Phone: (302) 655-7338​​

English as a Second Language Location

301 North Harrison Street

Wilmington, DE 19805

Phone: (302) 655-7338

The Latin American Community Center is  a  member  of  the  UnidosUS  Affiliate  Network,  collaborating  on  programs  and  advocacy  to  address  the  social,  economic,  and  political  barriers  faced  by  the  Latino  community.

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Strategic Plan 2019-2021 - Teamwork File
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