Building a New Latino Economic Narrative with LAWA

How is economic mobility achieved? What are the ingredients that make it possible? And how can those supportive of that cause make a meaningful difference?

These were just a few of the learnings for the Next Stage team having recently completed the facilitation of a strategic planning engagement with Latin Americans Working for Achievement (LAWA).



Through scholarships and college and career readiness programs, LAWA advances the education and quality of life for Latinos in the Charlotte region. A passionate group of volunteers and community advocates have grown the organization’s impact substantially in recent years. Annually, more than 500 people attended the organization’s High School Series Workshops and 60+ scholarships were awarded to area students pursuing post-secondary education.



A key to the organization’s recent success and sizable increase in scholarships awarded has been its partnerships with area employers. LAWA is demonstrating the power of engagement with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to source advocates for its programming. The successful launch of a Mentorship Program is ideally positioned to activate the workforce of partner companies, creating meaningful relationships that make a big difference for students and professionals alike.

The strategic planning process surfaced several directional attitudes, including the opportunity to expand to nearby counties that lack a trusted service provider like LAWA. Employers in outlying areas are particularly interested in fostering a talent pipeline that begins in the high school years, and LAWA is ideally positioned to support this aim.

The organization’s resulting strategic plan is one focused on expanding regionally, growing referral relationships, building operational capacity and deepening private-sector partnerships. With a very engaged board of directors and strong staff leadership, the future is very bright for LAWA as it works to implement the adopted plan.

Said (departing) Executive Director, Ana Silva Rey, “I was delighted to work with Josh and the NextStage team. LAWA looks forward to applying the strategic plan and growing the organization.”