Skip To Content

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: IBERO American Action League

Traducción al español

September 2022

As the only dual-language human services agency in Monroe County, the Ibero American Action League has been a staple in the Latino community for more than 50 years. We chatted with Ibero President and CEO Angelica Perez-Delgado to learn more about the important work the organization conducts to serve the community.

[disclosure: ESL is a funder of Ibero American Action League]

Why is Ibero’s work so important to and for the Greater Rochester community?

“We have evolved into a multi-faceted, fully comprehensive human service agency with a wide range of programs and services for children, individuals, and families throughout Upstate New York.” - Ibero President and CEO Angelica Perez-Delgado

Ibero-American Action League (Ibero) was incorporated in 1968 to address the growing needs of the Latino community in Monroe County. Since its inception as a grassroots organization, Ibero has been the driving force in local advocacy in critically important areas. Lack of language access and lack of culturally inclusive services for the Latino community has deeply shaped Ibero services.

As a result, we have evolved into a multi-faceted, fully comprehensive human service agency with a wide range of programs and services for children, individuals, and families throughout Upstate New York. Ibero serves close to 20,000 individuals annually in the Finger Lakes Region, Western New York, and throughout the Mohawk Valley and Capital region. We employ close to 180 staff, 69 percent of them are experienced bilingual and bi-cultural staff.

“Our workforce enables us to achieve our mission of uplifting, empowering, and advocating for Latinos and the underserved and to help them achieve equity and become fully valued community members.” - Ibero President and CEO Angelica Perez-Delgado

What kind of impact have you seen on individuals and families who use Ibero’s programs and services?

Individuals and families can access the critical resources required to build self-sufficiency. Families in Rochester face extreme and unforeseen circumstances due to lack of language access and difficulties navigating various organizational and governmental systems. Individuals without the ability to speak or write in English face even greater challenges as they look to integrate within our community and are often confronted with language and service navigation barriers. More than 46% of those who seek services from Ibero live in the area codes of 14605, 14608, 14611, 14613, and 14621, the top five poorest ZIP codes in Rochester. We find that many of our families require hands on support in navigating systems, as referrals and handoffs are not successful in our community for individuals with English as a second language or who are monolingual Spanish-speaking.

How has Ibero changed over the years to serve people in need?

As the only dual language human services agency in Monroe County, Ibero has the unique ability to target individuals and families in both English and Spanish. Most importantly over the years, Ibero has evolved continuously to fill critical gaps in services to a substantial portion of the population. While we do serve people of all ethnic backgrounds, more than 70% of those who come to Ibero for services are Latinos with English as a second language or monolingual Spanish-speaking individuals.

Can you give an example of how an individual or family has benefited from Ibero?

“The individuals we serve have big dreams for themselves and their families.”

One of our early childhood parents said, “I want to show my children that the sky is the limit and to keep pushing for what they want. I don’t want them to struggle. I want to finally have no worries in life and to just enjoy it with each other!” She registered for school, she obtained her GED and became a Certified Nurse Assistant. All her children attended Ibero Early Childhood Services and she received family assistance services that enabled her to achieve her goals. She said, “being a part of this program showed me that there are people and programs that can help with what you and your family need and they don’t make you feel uncomfortable in the process. They give you a different outlook on things. If they can’t directly help, they can direct you to someone who can!”

Why is community support (funding) so important to nonprofits like Ibero?

Many of the traditional government funding sources place restrictions that limit our ability to help individuals and families in impactful ways. We saw the power of community support in our response to COVID during the past few years. Community support allows us to be agile when the community needs us the most.

What else would you like to add that you feel is important for people to know?

ESL is one of our largest nongovernmental funders and we are grateful to have them as partners in this work.