Latin American Youth Center

Grantee Story

Based in Columbia Heights, Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is a multi-service community anchor that has been supporting the social, academic, and career needs of young people since the late 1960s. In 2018, Lupi Quinteros-Grady took the reins as President and CEO. Ms. Quinteros-Grady has a 20-plus year history with the organization: she was a participant in LAYC’s summer youth employment program at age 14 and was hired to teach and coordinate LAYC programs after graduating from college. As her career progressed, she continued in her commitment to young people. “I could talk about youth empowerment all day!” she noted.

During Ms. Quintero-Grady’s first months as LAYC’s President and CEO, she worked with the Foundation to develop a 3-year plan for its support of LAYC. Year one of the plan included external support for organization-wide strategy, fundraising, and financial planning. Within two years, LAYC made great strides in their fundraising and financial management.

Since March 2020, LAYC has been a consistent force in our communities, quickly shifting to direct virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic and adding layers of services to respond to the needs of their youth and families. “The inequities that have been present in our most vulnerable communities, in particular communities of color, are now more pronounced than ever,” says Ms. Quinteros-Grady.

Even amid the current crises, LAYC is looking to the future and their vision for youth. The organization’s three-year Strategic Plan is set to focus on six areas: Development, Finance, Youth Voice, Racial Equity, Emergency Preparedness, and LAYC’s Maryland Sites. LAYC plans to continue building upon the progress made in their development and finance departments, understanding the challenges ahead in having to engage virtually with individual donors and funders.

“I’ve learned so many lessons along the way—I’ve seen first-hand the reality of how resilient our young people are” she said of her career in youth programming and advocacy.

The Foundation is proud to partner with leaders like Ms. Quinteros-Grady, whose commitment to creating opportunity for the next generation of leaders in our community is an inspiration. Learn more about the Latin American Youth Center here.