President and CEO of the Chicano Federation Retires After 21 years of Service
Raymond Uzeta, the President & CEO for the Chicano Federation has announced his retirement as of Friday May 14th. For the past 36 years, Uzeta has worked for five different nonprofits in California, and has been employed by the Federation for the past 21 years, serving as the chief executive officer for the past 19 years.
His story in the non-profit sector is one founded on trial and error, so to speak. Uzeta admits that when he got started, he was being asked to write grants for programs he knew nothing about. Essentially he was told that he would just ‘figure it out.’ Figure it out he has. Through the years and all the programs and organizations he has served, Uzeta honed his experience in the non-profit world. He initially became involved with the Chicano Federation when looking for a senior center for his mother, Maria. When the opportunity arose in 1991 for the executive director position, Uzeta was hired, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Irma Castro.
Uzeta and his team have worked on many wonderfully worthy projects; over the past 19 years their ongoing projects and services include:
- Nine affordable housing development complexes for working families, seniors, and the disabled.
- Family Child Care home training, operation of three preschools, subsidized child care for infants and toddlers, and a nutrition program serving more that 5,000 each month.
- Senior Programs including, transportation assistance, finance management, social activities, meal programs and counseling.
- Passionate involvement in advocacy for improvement in the lives of Latinos.
The organization is in a healthy place now, but Uzeta remembers tougher times. Their operation numbered 25 employees in ’91 when Uzeta came aboard, and plummeted to just 12 people in ’95. Uzeta steered the ship through the storm and built up his staff and reached many milestones. He can retire from his position with the knowledge and satisfaction of how far the organization has come under his careful leadership.
The board of directors has selected Uzeta’s successor– Arnulfo Manriquez, who is set to begin on May 17th. Uzeta will stay on to assist him through the transition. Though he has loved every minute, rumor has it that Uzeta’s last vacation can be dated back to 2007; needless to say retirement has been something Raymond has been thinking about for a while. He sees it as an opportunity to take a break, rest, decompress, and then look to the future for what’s next. He doesn’t see himself lying low for long, and considering his track record, that’s no surprise.
The San Diego community is deeply grateful to the man who is as much an institution in the community as is The Chicano Federation. We say a heartfelt thank you to Raymond Uzeta, for his years of dedicated service, and compassion. He is truly an inspiration and role model from whom we all could learn a thing or two. Best wishes Raymond, enjoy that well-deserved, long vacation!