Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Introduces Sleek, Forward-Moving Logo That Symbolizes Organization’s Path Into a New Era
Ignacio Salazar, SER National President and Chief Executive Officer, announced a branding campaign that promises to catapult the organization’s transformation into the next five years and beyond as part of a new phase in its 58-year history.
“SER National is extremely proud to present a new branding feel and look that captures our journey into tomorrow with an exciting visually moving symbol of three parallel bars and our iconic SER name above them projecting a powerful, unified message through the genius of their simplicity,” says Salazar. “This design resulted from significant, diverse input from many stakeholders, including staff, board members, and sponsors who shared their vision for the future of SER National and our vast SER Network of Affiliates. Out of this very deliberate process, and with the guidance of the nationally renowned ISP Creative design team, evolved a concept that acknowledges our origins, the growth of SER, blazing our path in the decades since then, and point to the unlimited potential ahead. Best of all, the unveiling of our new branding coincides with the completion of an ambitious 5-year strategic plan,” says Salazar.
ISP Creative’s first goal was to create a symbol for SER National that would be instantly recognizable. “Our minds can capture visual messages an amazing 60,000 times faster than even words,” says Dan Craig, ISP Creative Director. “The sole purpose of a logo is to establish recognition for an organization; one image so readily identifiable with your team becomes as unique as your face or signature to those who know you and other individuals you meet. The other benefit of a new branding symbol is that it says SER National is moving forward, as is the vital role of the SER Network of Affiliates throughout the nation and in Puerto Rico. Plus, a successful logo can be used cross-functionally on all platforms and still carry the same impact. Achieve these objectives, and a symbol takes on a life of its own that reinforces the strength of SER National,” adds Craig.
Salazar says the re-branding will be used throughout all programs, emphasizing their unique but coordinated relationship within the SER family. “I am especially excited about how we are using a new color palette that speaks to our cultural diversity and celebrates that multi-community focus of our programs,” says Salazar. “In the coming days, weeks, and months, we look forward to sharing even deeper reasoning that led to the creation of this new visual identity. We invite our longtime friends and new visitors to visit our website and tour how all this ties together. The future at SER National is now!” says Salazar.
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Introduces Sleek, Forward-Moving Logo That Symbolizes Organization’s Path Into a New Era
Esperanza Inc, a nonprofit organization and part of our SER Network of Affiliates, was awarded with the 2022 Example of Excelencia for Community Based Organizations in Washington, D.C. Thursday night for it’s program to further Hispanic college success. Check out this story from Station WKYC and listen to the great work the organization has accomplished for this award!
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Says September 15 to October 15 Observance Offers a Portal Into The Contributions 62-Million US Latinos Are Making Daily
Hispanic Heritage Month begins this week. For the next four weeks, various events and festivities highlighting Hispanic culture, business, and issues are planned throughout the United States. The annual month-long tribute to all-things Latino is the single largest Hispanic cultural event in the country. The idea first became a week-long happening started by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the observance to an entire month by passing a law enacted on August 17, 1988.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is an essential opportunity for all Americans to explore and discover the many positive ways Latino men and women are adding to the vibrancy and character of our nation, and with good reason,” says Ignacio Salazar, SER National President & Chief Executive Officer. “Today, one in five persons in the United States is Latino, with a growth rate of 23% since 2010. As importantly, we are becoming a significant part of the fabric of every community where we live. This assimilation includes strides in speaking English at 72% to advance in their jobs or business. At the same time, many immigrants still honor the tradition of speaking Spanish at home among family and friends. Also, four out of every five Latinos in the United States are US citizens, with roots going back four or five generations. We’re veterans, teachers, business owners, professionals, creatives, and so much more. We are the very image of America today,” adds Salazar.
Hispanics are contributing a significant and increasingly larger portion to the US economy’s total strength. This is because, as the single largest demographic, 25-and-under, Latinos now represent a combined spending power of $1.5 trillion annually. Plus, Hispanics pay nearly $400 billion in taxes yearly, representing the most significant single payors as a percentage of income. Their most considerable single tax contribution is to the US Social Security system, where Hispanics account for more than $210 billion annually, a critical boost to the program’s longevity. All these economic indicators for Hispanics are trending upward as more Latinos increase their education. Nearly 15% of Hispanics now have a college degree. Notably, almost 3 million Hispanics are small business owners, more than a third more likely to be entrepreneurs than the entire US population.
“From Hollywood’s box office to the ballot box at our neighborhood polling place, our presence is also being felt,” says Salazar. “Out of 252 films and streaming services studied, a large percentage of revenue came from communities of color, especially Latinos, for six of the top 10 grossing films. Similar trends are being seen in Hispanic voting power, where this year, a milestone of 35 million or greater Latinos will be eligible to vote. Indeed, this is an exciting time to be an American and see the future take shape right before our eyes of a more diverse, stronger nation working together,” says Salazar.
Nation’s Service-Employment-Redevelopment Network Pauses to Remember and Celebrate the Lives of the 2,977 Victims Lost at Three Sites On That Fateful Day
SER National is paying its respects to the men and women who perished in the terrorist attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001. America was struck at the World Trade Center in New York City, and at the Pentagon in Washington, DC in two separate acts of violence where passenger jets were used as missiles by hijackers. The third site where American lives were lost is located in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, near Shanksville where United Airlines flight 93 crashed as passengers attempted to retake control of their plane from members of the same Al Qaeda cell.
“We still mourn the nearly 3,000 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters whose lives were taken in the single worst attack by an enemy on American soil,” says Ignacio Salazar, SER National President & Chief Executive Officer. “Today, more than two decades later, we can still remember vividly the images of destruction and chaos in our nation’s largest city, the charred scene at the heart of our country’s military leadership complex, and the scarred earth ripped open by a plane that was brought down when brave Americans fought back courageously,” adds Salazar.
Yet, as painful as 9/11 was and shall always be seared into our very souls, our nation is comforted by the outpouring of love and support that continues to be shown for the survivors and families of those men and women who died. Also, the children of 9/11 who are now grown speak with bittersweet pride of their first responder loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice as they rushed back into harm’s way in the twin towers. And yes, there are those who suffered in the arduous aftermath of 9/11 recovery for whom medical care and assistance came too late and we have learned much about how to do better. Indeed, our lives changed on that day, and all of us have been touched in one way or another.
“On this 21st anniversary of that tragic day, Americans can recommit to the principles of unity and resolve that we witnessed in the days following the attack. While the economic losses of 9/11 are known in places like New York City, the greater toll America suffered was the fear and distrust of the ‘other’ the attacks engendered. This is where each of us can have a role in our daily lives. We can and must reach within to our better selves and seek the common ground of shared understanding and purpose. Goodwill need not wear a label, nor our neighbor be seen through a lens defined by politics, gender, color or faith. This is the true strength of America; that out of the ashes of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or the soil of Pennsylvania, our collective spirit emerged, lifted, hopeful, enduring. May this continue to be the triumph born out of tragedy. We owe it to those we lost, and we owe it to those who will follow us. America’s greatness cannot be vanquished.”
Mission of Love Opens the Way Through Service
Every successful organization has a driving force behind it. At Mission of Love Charities located in Capitol Heights, Maryland, just minutes from the nation’s center of political power, that catalyst is Deborah “Deb” Martinez. Yet, this seasoned community advocate known by a who’s who of Washington leaders quickly credits her parents when asked about the source of her positivity and energy. She adds that they instilled in her pride in her identity, a fearlessness in life, and the constant determination to make every moment count.
“Each of us has something good to contribute, and I believe that when we find that purpose in our lives, we have the duty and the joy to share it with the people we can help through our actions, our words, and our support,” says Martinez. “In my case, my mother worked hard and sacrificed for her children so that we could go to college. She held several government jobs so we could attend Howard University tuition-free. She told us if you want to go somewhere else, you pay for it, but I am who I am today, in part, because I attended Howard and appreciate what my mother did for us.”
That upbringing has shaped Martinez’s vision for the work she does leading Mission of Love Charities. The organization offers various services and delivers vital everyday social assistance to the community throughout the immediate region. From rent and utility assistance to job training and workforce development, Martinez says the role of the Mission of Love Charities is to help people in practical ways that recognize the challenges they are facing.
“During the pandemic, our students cannot always access the internet, which impacts them disproportionately,” says Martinez. “So, if helping a family with their internet service is needed, we try to be there to ensure that the children can stay connected to their educational lifeline. It is that real and immediate. Or, if I meet a young person who needs a job sooner rather than later, I encourage them to consider a trade or a program like Certified Nursing Assistant because CNAs are in high demand due to COVID. We don’t believe every person has to incur massive college debt to become employable in a good-paying job and be successful. However, I also encourage people to stay curious, learn everything they can every day, and read a book as often as possible. Whether it is the Bible or some other book that interests you like Before the Mayflower, the point is to stay open to improving yourself as a person.”
That can-do spirit of looking for genuine, practical, and immediate solutions is what Martinez teaches her staff. The Mission of Love Charities team meets weekly, and Martinez says people make the gatherings uplifting and more successful because of the respect and interpersonal relations. “This is not home; we are a place of business, and it is important to keep our work separate from our personal lives. Still, our goal is to make each other feel appreciated, listened to, and that we are all working towards making our jobs better and more effective for the people who rely on us.”
Mission of Love Charities stays in constant communication with state, county, and local leaders who seek Martinez’s and her team’s input on local issues impacting the increasingly diverse community. Whether working-class Latino, Black, Caucasian, or more recently, Afghani and Central American immigrants in need, the problems they need help with require that the agency partner with many different individuals and organizations. The starting point may be learning English, but their needs grow exponentially, and no one organization has all the solutions.
“Without partnering, the civil rights movement would not have happened,” reminds Martinez. “We would not be here as an organization without partnering, and after the last four years, we are better today because we are partnering now, so I think that looking back and blaming the past administration and grieving all that is a waste of time. We are blessed to be here now and need to focus on where to go from here. This fact becomes abundantly clear when you travel to see what conditions are like in other countries. Also, when people complain to me about their situation, I tell them change starts with education, and if we do not do that for ourselves, we have no one else to blame. Also, we need to become informed and stay engaged in our civic duty to vote in the mid-terms, which are just as important as elections during presidential election years. So too, in working with our school systems, even if we don’t like everything they are doing, we must stay involved in what is happening to our children in the public schools.”
Martinez says Mission of Love Charities will soon be relocating into a newer facility. Seven will be dedicated to education training, the lifeline for participants seeking to make a significant change in their lives. She adds that among her education goals is to continue mentoring women to strive for leadership roles and says the non-profit sector has served to open many doors for women to succeed. “This is an exciting time in my life because I am ready and eager to pass on the knowledge and what I have learned over the years to the next generation woman who wants to lead a community-based organization. The notion of giving back to our community is something that my mother instilled in me, and when I am ready to step away, what will give me the peace of mind needed will be knowing that I did it the right way, preparing a successor who can step in,” she said.
Numerous awards affirm that Mission of Love Charities is getting the job done and doing it right. The organization has been recognized as one of the Essence Essential Heroes. Also, the agency was selected among the nation’s Top 100 by Charity Navigator. Plus, its work was profiled by the ABC7 Helping Hands series and received the Community Crisis Service’s Hero Award. Even CNN featured Missions of Love Charities during nationwide coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact. Martinez concludes by saying that she owes her success and Mission of Love Charities to her board of directors and its chairperson. They support and endorse the daily decisions she has to make in running the organization. “They agree with me nine times out of ten and work hard to help find the money for us to carry out our programs. This is all I could ask for, and without them, we would not be where we are today. I accept this recognition from SER National on behalf of all the men and women who work tirelessly every day to keep doing the
work of Mission of Love Charities. As the name says, what we do for others is not for gain for ourselves but an expression of our love for others,” she adds.