Farewell from Executive Director

Dear Friends,

It has been an honor and a joy to serve as Centro Legal de la Raza’s Executive Director for the past two plus years, so it is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure as Executive Director. It was 15 years ago that I first walked through Centro Legal’s doors, as a law student volunteer. At that time I never imagined I would have the opportunity to serve as Centro Legal’s Executive Director. I have been passionate about Centro Legal and its mission ever since, and very much remain enamored with the organization today.

I am so very proud of Centro Legal’s collective accomplishments during my tenure as Executive Director, and of where we now find the organization. Upon recent contemplation, however, it has become clear to me that now is the right time for me to transition, and the right time for the organization to transition to an Executive Director who can bring new energy to our leadership, ensure the sustainability of our growth, and take advantage of the momentum we have built. Here are just a few of the accomplishments we’ve met in the past couple years that point to Centro Legal as a budding national leader:

  • Centro Legal has witnessed a tremendous rise in stature and influence. In fact, Centro Legal has become one of the preeminent organizations on the West coast providing high quality direct legal services to low income immigrant communities.
  • Each of our programs is now seen as a regional or even national leader in our respective work, and we have never served as many clients in the history of the organization.
  • Centro Legal has undergone tremendous growth. Our budget has more than doubled in the past two years, and we are on the verge of seeing it more than triple. Similarly, the size of our staff has gone from 24 to 55, and we are now on the verge of increasing staff size to over 70.
  • We have made great strides in establishing and maintaining relationships with funders, community partners, and government leaders. The number of government grants/contracts has increased by 83%, and our relationship with private foundations has increased by 108%.
  • Finally, Centro Legal’s financial position has never been stronger. Under sound fiscal leadership, the organization has ended each fiscal year with a significant surplus, and maintains a healthy reserve.

Through it all, I’ve been grateful for the partnership of a passionate, dedicated, and incredibly talented staff and board. We have worked very hard to get where we are, and I’m committed to continue working with the board and management on a transition plan that will set up the next Executive Director for success.

Centro Legal is in an extremely strong position as we undertake this transition. In fact, we are coming off our most successful funding year in the 50 year history of the organization, and our programs have never been stronger.

I am so honored to have been the leader of this incredible organization and will watch with excitement and anticipation as Centro Legal continues to do what it does best.

En solidaridad,

Paul R. Chavez

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Centro Legal Board of Directors, we cannot thank Paul enough for the dedication, passion, enthusiasm, and motivation he has given to Centro Legal over the past two years as Executive Director, eight years as a board member, and several years as a committed volunteer. He will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, clients, partners, and supporters alike. We look forward to following the success of his career and are hopeful and excited for the next chapter of Centro Legal as we continue to work together to ensure access to justice for low income, immigrant communities.

While Paul will be deeply missed, we are excited to announce that the search for our next Executive Director is under way. To ensure that Centro Legal can identify and recruit from a robust applicant pool to place a dynamic, visionary leader who can build on the momentum we are currently enjoying, we will be conducting a national search for a new Executive Director. During this transition period, it is our priority to find the best individual to lead, while still maintaining a stable and effective organization.

Paul will remain as Executive Director until April 1, after which an interim Executive Director selected by the Board will assume the leadership role at Centro Legal until a new permanent Executive Director is identified, successfully recruited and in place. In terms of its operations and fiscal health, Centro Legal is in an extremely strong position as we undertake this transition. As such, we do not anticipate any disruption to Centro Legal’s operations during this transition period.

Again, we are so grateful to Paul for his leadership in helping to build the organization into one of the preeminent legal service organizations on the West coast, and wish him success as he moves on to a new phase in his career.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank you for your continued support and look forward to what’s next for Centro Legal de la Raza.


Rosanna Marrero Neagle

Board of Directors