Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy Research Organization

A nonprofit organization

Mission: Empowering Latinos through leadership development, advocacy and research to strengthen Colorado.

Vision: A Colorado where Latinos are achieving their fullest potential.

Motto: CLLARO seeks equal opportunity for all Coloradans.


After graduating from college, CLLARO Capitol Fellows remain committed to civic and community service as they pursue their new careers. Here, for example, are some of their own testimonials.

"I was getting close to completing my college education as a non-traditional student, looking for an opportunity that could change my life. When I discovered the Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO), they helped provide me with the direction I needed. I graduated from their flagship program, the Capitol Fellowship. It transformed my life and career ambitions in a way I had never thought possible. . . . I am fulfilling my childhood ambitions to help individuals of diverse backgrounds reach their full potential and to help communities prosper." - Kara Birnbaum

"It is so important for Latinos to be present at the capitol in order to advocate for our communities. Rep. [Joe] Salazar said something that really inspired me: 'The one thing everyone is scared of is someone who is brown and smart.' I have been thinking about considering applying to law school and Rep. Salazar's comment reminded me about the power of intelligence and the significance of having big dreams." - Melissa Mendes

"We are the same people but that does not mean we all have the same experiences, we share similar issues but what might be a priority to me and my family might be something that a senator has never even thought about. It is great that we have Latinos in the Capitol but we have to understand that we all have different experiences and cultural needs." - José Castaneda

"I always knew how important the political process was, but was never aware of any opportunities for someone who looked like me to get involved. After successfully completing CLLARO's Capitol Fellowship, I no longer feel out of place when going to the Colorado State Capitol. I now have purpose in my work and feel proud." - True Apodaca

"Being a CLLARO fellow has given me a great network and foundation of other Latinos interested in politics, based in Denver, but now spread across the country. Based on this network I have access to other organizations to give back to the Latino community. I have used my fellowship to continue to contribute to the Latino community through supporting political campaigns for local Latino candidates. I have donated my money to non-profits that focus on Latino issues including the Denver Urban Debate League, which serves a large Latino population of high school and middle school students. Before law school I worked for the Colorado Legal Services Migrant Farmworker Division and did outreach for free legal services to almost exclusively indigent Latino farm workers. . . . As an attorney working at a big law firm in San Francisco I've been involved in diversity and inclusion efforts at the firm in bringing speakers to the firm to speak on issues affecting the Latino community in big law. I've helped with fundraising for local non-profits, buying Christmas toys for kids in impoverished Latino communities in the city, and contributed to a campaign to give evictee's the right to adequate legal counsel, which disproportionately affects the Latino community. I've worked on pro bono projects:" on a US Supreme Court amicus brief regarding an immigration issue arguing against automatic deportation for convicts who have already served their sentences and have been reintegrated into society. I've worked on other pro bono immigration issues for childhood arrivals, including completing DACA applications, translating for other attorneys, completing Legal Permanent Resident applications for multiple child asylees from Guatemala, and an intake clinic at an immigration detention center in Maryland. I've also served as a mentor through Judge Arguello's law school si se puede mentorship program." --Rubén Aguirre

"I am proud and grateful to say that I just finished my second year of studies here (at Harvard Medical School). I plan on specializing in Family Medicine and will likely return to Colorado to work in primary care with under-served and Latino communities. As a CLLARO Capitol Fellow . . . I learned the importance using one's position of leadership and privilege to positively impact the community, and I plan to do so as a future physician in primary care, the same way that Senator Aguilar modeled for me during the fellowship. My time with CLLARO taught me many lessons, connected me to my community and to amazing mentors, opened many doors to opportunities, and was truly invaluable. I sincerely hope that you can support this organization, so that they can continue their valuable work to support the development of our Latino youth, our future leaders, and our community...


Mission: Empowering Latinos through leadership development, advocacy and policy research to strengthen Colorado.

Vision: A Colorado where Latinos are achieving their fullest potential.

Motto: CLLARO seeks equal opportunity for all Coloradans, to increase labor force productivity, promote equity in civic institutions, and improve quality of life in Colorado for decades to come.

Background Statement

On March 13, 1964, Lena Archuleta, Charles Tafoya and Bernie Valdez joined the President and Executive Director of the United Fund to sign the first agreement in the nation between a United Fund (now Mile High United Way) and a Latino 501(c)(3) organization: the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA). LARASA was established to address the needs of Latinos in education, youth motivation, job development, training and employment, health and welfare, housing, and community resources.

LARASA's vision was to create an agency where people from all ethnic and racial groups could work together to improve the conditions under which Latinos lived and worked with the belief that when you improve the lives of Latinos, you improve the lives of all Coloradans. Over the years, the board of directors and staff operated a wide range of programs in response to needs identified by and for Latinos in the Denver Metro areas and, to a lesser extent, in other parts of Colorado.

Toward the end of the 20th century, LARASA became increasingly committed to training new generations of future leaders within the state's racial and ethnic minority communities. In 2007, LARASA changed its name and became the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization (CLLARO). In May of 2018 in CLLARO's fifty-fourth year, the Board of Directors adopted the following four program goals for the next five years.

In May of 2018 in CLLARO's fifty-fourth year, the Board of Directors adopted the following four program goals for the next five years.

1. Prepare new civic leaders to seek equal opportunity and social justice for all Coloradans. The CLLARO Capitol Fellows Program began by training and placing five college-level interns with state legislators in 2013. The program has grown. Eighteen interns were trained and placed in 2018. Evaluation shows fellows gain knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to develop and promote public policies benefiting Colorado's Latino communities. CLLARO now seeks financial support to (a) continue the program in future years, (b) add substantive public policy in health, education, and aging to the curriculum, (c) help fellowship alumni achieve civic leadership roles in Latino communities, (d) add participants from colleges outside the Denver metro area, and (e) add programming for high school students.

2. Develop grassroots community leaders to improve social determinants of health in Latino communities. In 2016, the CLLARO Community Health Advocacy Program demonstrated how training neighborhood and community volunteer promotoras in leadership, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing can help reduce health disparities in Montbello and adjacent neighborhoods in Denver and Aurora. CLLARO seeks funding to train volunteers in additional Colorado neighborhoods.

3. Connect Latino caregivers to resources for elderly and disabled family members. CLLARO seeks funding to expand the health promotoras program to connect caregivers of aging members of low-income families with supportive services.

4. Mobilize parents to seek equal educational opportunity for Latino children and youth. In 2017, CLLARO designed its Parents Advocating for Local Schools curriculum in collaboration with teachers and administrators at selected schools in Montbello and North Denver. CLLARO seeks funding to test and evaluate the curriculum, training Latino parents to facilitate and advocate improved education outcomes for their children.

Those four programs will help Colorado prepare for inevitable demographic change. The nation's non-Hispanic white population is shrinking, as that population ages and its birthrate falls. The complexion of Colorado is changing, thanks to intermarriage and higher birth and immigration rates among Latinos and other minority groups. Minorities now comprise the majority in four other states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. will be a majority minority nation by 2043. CLLARO is committed to reducing persistent income, educational, health, and political disparities that have limited opportunities for Colorado's growing Latino population since 1848. CLLARO seeks equal opportunity for all Coloradans, to increase labor force productivity, promote equity in civic institutions, and improve quality of life in Colorado for decades to come. We ask for your support.

Organization Data


Organization name

Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy Research Organization

other names

CLLARO, Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA)

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy

Organization Size

Large Organization


345 S Grove St
Denver, CO 80219


PO Box 40450
Denver, CO 80204

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US



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