In the beginning...
La Paz was started by a group of faith leaders striving to help the Hispanic population. Many worked within the community and were seeing Hispanics and Latinos being taken advantage of. This group was heavily involved with a program of the Salvation Army, Esperanza del Barrio. After working for several years, rules changed, the need increased and access to funding was challenging. The group decided to form a new nonprofit, La Paz de Dios, Inc. in 2004. Committed board members along with one part time employee served about 150-300 people a year in the small office in East Lake/Highland Park.
In 2008, La Paz received a 3-year state grant. This allowed us to hire a director, client service staff and a development and communications person – it was a turning point for the organization.
Since then, La Paz has focused its efforts on empowering and educating the Latino community. The population has shifted to not only include men coming to work for their families, but family units as well as Latino entrepreneurs and bilingual professionals. La Paz has remained flexible to meet the needs of the diverse and ever-changing population. Today, La Paz is a staff of 8 serving over 10,000 people each year.
We believe the Latino community matters.
We believe Chattanooga will not thrive unless its Latino community thrives.
We believe in the power and contributions of the Latino community.
We believe every person that walks through our door deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and that the more avenues for interconnectivity that exist in our city, the better we can be at caring for the ones who need it most.