A Life Dedicated to Service

By Daniel Rico, Online Giving Manager, NCLR

For Sterling Garcia, spending a career serving others was not something he had ever really considered doing.

“If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would build a career dedicated to service, I would have probably told you that you were crazy!”

As it turns out, that is exactly what the newest member of NCLR’s Resource Development team has been doing and the next chapter is being written here in Washington, DC. Sterling came on board in July as NCLR’s newest Development Officer and he could not be more excited to be here.

Serving His Country


Sterling’s official Marine Corps photo. Sterling Garcia

Originally from the Bronx, Sterling started his service to others by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. His reasons for doing so were twofold. First, he wanted to serve his country. If he was going to do it, he wanted to be a part of an elite group that would make a difference; the Marine Corps was a perfect fit. Second, coming from a family without the ability to send him to college, Sterling wanted to ensure there were resources to help him achieve his goal of a college degree. He served for five years and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 2001. Sterling was back home in New York, working in Manhattan, when 9/11 happened.

“Like many Americans, I was shocked, but more so that it was happening right here at home,” said Sterling. “Up to this point, this was something that only happened overseas, in places where I would wear camouflage and full combat gear.”

The events of 9/11 eventually would only strengthen his resolve to continue to give, but his next step was obtaining a degree.

Serving Students

At the University of Hartford, Sterling’s experience echoed the findings of our report, Resilient Latino Youth: In Their Own Words. On-campus programs and mentors helped him achieve as a first-generation college student. One of his mentors was Lee Peters, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Dr. Peters helped him refine his career aspirations of serving students and played an integral role in attending graduate school at Florida State University (FSU).

It was there Sterling discovered he could have a career serving others through philanthropy. He spent the next few years working in higher education, raising funds for scholarship students at both FSU and Penn State. But, something was missing.

“I wanted a way to impact the lives of young people with similar experiences to my own,” said Sterling.

Serving Latinos


Sterling Garcia, Resource Development Officer, NCLR

As NCLR’s newest Development Officer, Sterling will now have the opportunity to serve those with the same cultural experiences he had growing up.

“I’m excited to be a part of NCLR and I can’t wait to get out there and talk to others about our shared experiences,” said Sterling.

One of the things he is most looking forward to is the next Annual Conference in Orlando. Not only will it be his first Conference with NCLR, but it will happen in the city where he was married; Sterling was married at Disney World in what he calls a “fairytale wedding.” His wife Katie and their two children enjoy returning to Orlando every year to celebrate.

Meeting Sterling

Although the NCLR National Conference is scheduled for July of 2016, you don’t have to wait until then to meet him. In addition to the DC Metro area, he will be visiting the following cities and would be happy to connect with you while he is there. Email him at sgarcia@nclr.org.

August 2015

September 2015
San Diego
Los Angeles
Fort Lauderdale

October 2015
San Antonio

November 2015
New York City
New Jersey

San Francisco

Bringing the Credit-Invisible into the Light


The Mission Asset Fund (MAF) is a San Francisco nonprofit that works to expand access to financial services, savings, and investment opportunities for low-income and working-poor families. The organization was established in 2007 to combat financial exclusion in the Latino community and among other underrepresented groups, and was a co-winner of the NCLR Family Strengthening Award at this year’s NCLR Annual Conference in Kansas City.

MAF has formalized the process of Lending Circles, in which a small number of people agree to lend money to each other at no interest, by having registered participants’ payments reported to the national credit bureaus. This helps people who may not otherwise have had access to get into the mainstream financial system, says Ximena Arias, Financial Services Manager at MAF.

“The CFPB [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] released a report that said that 45 million adults in the U.S. are credit-invisible in the financial system. It’s a catch-22 scenario where if you don’t have credit you can’t get access to credit,” she says.

“A credit report is like a passport to the financial marketplace,” said José Quiñonez, CEO of Mission Asset Fund, in a 2014 New York Times article. “Without that passport, you’re denied entry.”

The process can help those who have specific goals in mind, such as paying the application fee to become a citizen. That was the case for Karla Henriquez, who has experienced the process both as a participant and as the Programs Coordinator for MAF.

“I got my mom, my sister, and I to join the Lending Circles for Citizenship program where we were able to make payments of $68 for 10 months,” she says.

Other Lending Circles programs facilitated by the Mission Asset Fund can be used to save for a deposit to rent an apartment or secure fees for a temporary work permit.

Arias says the organization also offers financial counseling and education to participants, and partners with more than 40 organizations in 14 states. Those interested in finding related services in their area can visit: lendingcircles.org.

Highlights from the Last Day of the 2015 NCLR Annual Conference

The final day of our 2015 NCLR Annual Conference started was capped by NCLR by the Annual President’s Message from our President and CEO, Janet Murguia. It was preceded by the last of our workshops and followed by our final town hall, which was dedicated to technology and how we can bridge the digital divide.

See highlights below from our final day.

This morning, Politico published an exclusive preview of Murguia’s speech.

The day was started with off several workshops, including some final sessions for our STEM track.

Shortly after noon, it was time for the Tuesday Luncheon, which featured the annual President’s Message.


Become an NCLR Amigo and support this great American institution!

Finally, it was time for the annual President’s Message.

After those riveting remarks, guests made their way over to the last Town Hall of the conference, dedicated to bridging the digital divide.

Thanks to everyone who attended our 2015 gathering. Don’t forget to follow @NCLR for daily updates. We’ll see you next year in Orlando!

Day Three Highlights of the 2015 NCLR Annual Conference

The eyes of the nation were on the 2015 NCLR Annual Conference today as three presidential candidates delivered remarks to our attendees. The much-anticipated speeches were given to max-capacity crowds. Below are highlights from day three of our 2015 annual gathering.

The first candidate to deliver remarks was Bernie Sanders, who gave a speech to a standing-room only crowd in a special session.

After Sanders’ speech, it was on to the Monday Luncheon where attendees were treated to a special performance by our favorite mariachi singer, Sebastien De La Cruz.

Our Vice President of Policy, Eric Rodriguez, also gave our Affiliate Award for Advocacy to to Luz Gallegos of Todec Legal Center.

Next, our guests heard from Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley.

Next, guests heard remarks from Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro.

Following Secretary Castro, our attendees heard from Sprint CEO, Marcelo Claure, who shared his truly inspiring immigrant story.

While attendees waited for Hillary Clinton to arrive, they were treated to more of the musical stylings of Sebastien De La Cruz.

After some tantalizing tunes, it was time for former Secretary of State Clinton to take the stage.

Day Two Highlights of the 2015 NCLR Annual Conference

The always popular Latinas Brunch was the main event of the second day of the 2015 NCLR Annual Conference. It was followed shortly after by our Economy Town Hall, which focused on the income inequality as the great divider in America, and what needs to be done to address it. Together with several workshops and our Nation Latino Family Expo, day two proved to be as eventful and informative as our kickoff.

See highlights from day two of our 2015 gathering.

The day started with the opening of the National Latino Family Expo. There’s one more day of fun to be had, if you’ve missed Saturday or Sunday!

There were also several workshops, two of which focused on the future of STEM education and the Latino vote.

Then it was time for today’s Latinas Brunch.

Before the panel, our Title Sponsor, Toyota gave away a brand new car to one lucky Affiliate. Congratulations to Ruby Miller of CLUES Minnesota on winning!

Then it was time for our distinguished panel of Latinas.

Over at Advocacy Central, National Latino Family Expo guests continued to show us why they vote.

Our Economy Town Hall anchored our events for the day. It was a spirited discussion on how income inequality is dividing America.

Be sure to follow #NCLR15 for more updates throughout the 2015 NCLR Annual Conference!