Mission and History

Our mission is to serve as a catalyst that drives the economic and social advancement of low-to-moderate income Latinos and other underserved communities by equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve financial independence, acquire personal and business assets, create generational wealth and become leaders in their communities.

LEDC envisions inclusive communities where equitable access and opportunities are available for all without gender or racial bias. A future where residents who strive for an improved quality of life are aware of resources available and receive the support necessary to fully utilize them for the betterment of themselves, their families, their business, and their communities.

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

Our 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. In 2012, the name was changed to the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC).

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 UnidosUS, formerly the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

Click here to watch a video about our work over more than 29 years.