(From left to right: Courtesy San Ysidro Health, Courtesy John Nelson/The San Diego Union-Tribune, Courtesy Teatro Mascara Majica)

Our Story

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Latino Legacy Foundation

The Latino Legacy Foundation was incorporated in the State of California on April 30, 2020, to preserve our history and recognize the contributions and achievements that people of Latino heritage have made and are continuing to make every day to the betterment of humanity.

The LLF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, based in San Diego, California.

The genesis of the LLF dates back to 1994, with the creation of 100 Portraits: Pioneers, Visionaries and Role Models, a community collaborative, travelling photographic exhibit, and soft-cover book (later published in 2001) that highlighted the contributions of San Diego’s Mexican-American community—the first pictorial exhibit and book of its kind at the time. This self-esteem project was in response to anti-immigrant sentiments from California Proposition 187, which perpetuated negative stereo-types of people of Mexican heritage.

Since then, much has changed for the better, though issues and events that negatively impact the daily lives of Latinos have come into sharper and, at times, alarming focus.

While San Diego’s Latino base is still predominantly Mexican-American, the Latino community is more diverse, resulting in the richness of our Latino community.

Consider that since 1994, San Diego County’s population has grown from more than 2.4 million to more than 3.3 million. Of that number, Latinos comprise 34 percent of the general population.

The creator & producer of the “100 Portraits,” Emmy award-winning journalist and producer, Maria Velasquez, believed it was time to look back, look at the present, and look ahead. 

The Latino Legacy Foundation was founded with the help of a group of colleagues and friends who embraced the mission.

Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez
© Latino Legacy Foundation

(Courtesy of Tony Milan Family)

Chicano Park Murals
© Latino Legacy Foundation


A seven-member volunteer board of directors governs the activities
of the Latino Legacy Foundation.

Maria Velasquez
President & Chair

Maria Velasquez Communications
Emmy Award-Winning Television Journalist & Producer

Richard Ybarra
Vice President

CEO Mission Neighborhood Centers, San Francisco, CA
Former Executive Assistant to César Chávez

Ricardo Flores
Secretary & Treasurer

Executive Director
LISC San Diego

Edward Lopez
Board Member

Executive Director UCAN
Board Member, San Diego Unified School District
1996 – 2004

Maria Nieto Senour, Ph.D.
Board Member

President, San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees
Professor Emerita San Diego State University

Joseph Martinez
Board Member

Award-winning Architect
Author & Academician

George Saldamando
Board Member

SDPD Assistant Police Chief,