Mission and History

Our mission is to drive the economic and social advancement of low- to moderate- income Latinos and other DC area residents by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence and become leaders in their communities.

LEDC envisions all residents having the awareness and equitable access to financial stability by building financial assets and becoming actively invested and engaged in their communities.

By fostering communities that are inclusive, just, and self-sustaining, LEDC values the economic and social advancement of the underserved as fundamental to the long-term health of the larger communities where they live and work.

We envision ourselves as a trusted leader in our field, raising standards, driving innovation, and cultivating partnerships throughout the region. From our educational initiatives and financial services to our organizing and advocacy efforts, LEDC will help participants reach their goals and create an environment where those participants themselves become leaders in their communities.

By fostering communities that are inclusive, just, and self-sustaining, LEDC values the economic and social advancement of the underserved as fundamental to the long-term health of the larger communities within which they live and work.

Click here to read about how we’re translating our mission into real impact.

History

On a warm spring night in 1991, a Latino man was shot by a DC police officer leading to several days of violent clashes and millions of dollars in property damages in the DC neighborhood of Mount Pleasant.

Soon thereafter, a visionary group of bankers, business professionals, and civil rights activists came together to launch the Latino Economic Development Corporation of Washington, DC (LEDC). In 2012, the name was changed to the Latino Economic Development Center.

The vast majority of those who participated in what became popularly known as the “Mount Pleasant Riots” had fled or were the children of those who had fled the rampant civil wars and systemic lack of opportunities in Central America.  Risking their lives to escape crushing poverty in their country only to continue being denied access to economic and social advancement in the US was well beyond what many in the neighborhood were willing to bear.

The founders of LEDC applied for and received seed funding from the District of Columbia’s Office of Business and Economic Development (OBED) to develop an organization that would help low-income Latinos build assets through small business development, homeownership counseling, and tenant organizing.

On July 3, 1991, LEDC was incorporated as a community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in the offices of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

Click here to watch a video about our work over more than 25 years.