Message from the Founder and Executive Director
October 24, 2015
Dear Family and Friends,
This publication is an intent to condense, and, at the same time, provide an understanding of the thirty-five
year history of Círculo de la Hispanidad, its programs and of course the realization of the “Quijotesco, ”
“idealistic” dream of building a Green- Gold Community Center; the first in New York State built by
a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.
We know that this intent cannot include one hundred percent of the history. I am, however, highly satisfied that
we have done it with the commitment that before I retire, (it is getting closer) a complete one will be done for sure.
Resources and time will be more available in some years.
For this publication we have invited people who have had a connection to the organization from former board members
as well as old employees, friends and family to provide input. We have included those who have answered.
We want to recognize former and current members of the Board, staff, colleagues from the Nassau County Youth
Board, nonprofit organizations, partners, businesses and many friends and family members who have impacted and
supported our rich history. I am sincerely grateful, especially for those that have continued to stand by Círculo in our
Barbara Dubow Bernardino, through her ideas, advice and support provided the tools to help me start Círculo de
la Hispanidad. Pat McCormack was another key trusted advisor who assisted me develop the organization. Our
organization’s birth and growth are the result of them and many, many others. This is why, independently of
differences that have occurred during my long tenure as Founder and Executive Director, I seek to recognize and pay
homage to all who have impacted our history directly or indirectly in a positive way.
Círculo Center is and will be a “home” for Hispanics and non-Hispanics for generations after I have gone. Now
Círculo Center is already the home of 300 elementary school children, many of whom include immigrant Hispanics
and African and Caribbean Americans.
As you have heard me say, Círculo Center is also a place for you, nonprofit organizations. We want to support your
initiatives and fundraisers. We will help you as much as we can. Círculo Center is not only for Hispanic causes; it is
a Center open to support any and all noble and just causes and to provide the whole community with a place to learn
and share among all people and ethnicities as we move our society forward on the road of increased solidarity, social
justice, and creating real respect for our planet.
My very profound thanks to Senator Dean Skelos for being generous and courageous by providing the seed to build
this marvelous Center and for all the support given to our organization throughout our history. More than twenty
years ago it was not popular to support Long Island Hispanic causes. He did it. He made a decision that implied high
risk. No one has done it at that level, even now. Círculo de la Hispanidad, the Hispanic community and myself are
The second phase of the construction was critical. The construction had to be finished if we wanted to maintain the
survival of the Center and Evergreen Charter School. We needed to build-out unfinished space in our Center. For
four years, (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014), since the Inauguration on August 7, 2014, we completed the second floor
and lower level of the building in various phases.
This construction took place thanks to the support of New York State Senator Dean Skelos, through legislative
funds, County Executive Mangano through Community Development Block Grant Funds and Town of Hempstead
Supervisor Kate Murray through funding from the Town of Hempstead Community Development office. Mayor Hall
when we needed to build an outside play area for children also provided support. We are highly thankful for their
commitment and generosity. Círculo also committed its own funds raised through fundraisers and other activities.
Thank you to all that supported these efforts in large ways and small.
Círculo Center could not have been realized without the support of Board members, staff, supporters, businesses,
friends and family.
In addition, I want all of you to know that if it was not for Sarah’s outstanding dedication, intelligence, perseverance,
discipline and vision, I would not have been able to celebrate the completion of my dream today.
At this very special moment in my life, I have to thank my dear family in Spain, including those who passed away,
and my children, Deborah, Daniel and Gil Miguel for their support always and my beautiful nietos for their love,
(Rebecca, Sofía, Giuliana, Isak, Gabriella and Sabastián). I know for sure that without the values received from my
parents I would not be a dreamer and do-er. The Jesuits in Madrid installed in me through the organization “El Hogar
Del Trabajo”, the strong sense of “Social Justice” that I have carried until this moment. Being part of the Fraternidad
Católica de Enfermos in Madrid enriched my life. I also received inspiration from my quadriplegic friend, José Luis,
and Gonzalo, a family friend, with whom I lived during my studies in Madrid. You are all part of the realization of
this impossible dream. Gracias to all.