Empowering LATINOS to participate in creating a better COMMUNITY for all through advocacy, celebration & education.

Vision Statement

To be the Center of influence in our Latino community that builds bridges to opportunities and creates pathways to success for all.

Our History

As early as the 50s and 60s, grassroots organizations were coming together to celebrate and build up the Latino community in West Michigan. In 1975, four of these organizations merged to form Latin Americans United for Progress. These founding organizations worked tirelessly to improve the community and led the formation of Community Action House, TRIO Upward Bound programs, and Children’s After School Achievement. The effort bolstered the academic performance of Latino students and championed the success of many first generation college students. 

In 1986, LAUP was officially incorporated and recognized under 501(c)3 status and began to

form the LAUP of today. We opened our first office in 2003, offering case work for Latinos in need and empowering our community through ESL classes. By 2007, the organization had grown enough that we decided to hire our first paid executive director. Since then Latin Americans United for Progress has continued to work alongside our Latino community to celebrate its culture and equip people to reach their greatest potential.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

At LAUP we believe that our community’s greatest strengths come from the people who call it home. This belief serves as a guiding principle for our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all we do. 


LAUP’s mission is to empower Latinos to create a better community for all through advocacy, celebration, and education. As we work to achieve our mission, we rely on the teamwork and collaboration of our employees, volunteers, and community partners. We encourage and welcome people from every nation, race/ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual identity, age, disability status or any other dimension of diversity to partner with us to achieve this goal. 

We inspire people with our stories, equip them with the training and tools to help increase their awareness and understanding of differences and why they matter, and empower them to take action by contributing to their full potential because we believe that each one of us has a personal accountability for success in our community.


We focus on creating an unconditionally inclusive workplace culture for our employees, volunteers, and community partners, because we know that when our partners feel supported in this way, they will feel comfortable to contribute their differing perspectives, ideas, and experiences for our one common goal: to create a better community for all. 


Johnny Rodriguez

president & ceo

julian lugo

director of youth programs & advancement

maria morales

director of workforce development & strategic impact

celeste matute-husler

business devlopment lead

alejandra gallegos-ordaz

career development specialist

marlen barrios

case manager

litzy dominguez

executive office coordinator

brenda ballesteros

language service lead

Board of Directors

For questions or comments for the board of directors, please email info@laup.org

  • Martin Veliz,  President
    • Huntington Bank
  • Abraham Roa, Vice President
    • Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt
  • Alma Valenzuela, Treasurer
    • LAR Counseling LLC
  • Monica Ramirez, Secretary
    • MillerKnoll
  • Bob Buursma, Director 
    • Holland Department of Public Safety
  • Salomon Caballero, Director
    • Haworth
  • Alison Freas, Director
    • The SOURCE
  • Esperanza Degnan, Director
    • PwC
  • Tim Marroquin, Director
    • Grand Rapids Catholic Central
  • Daniel Quintanilla, Director
    • Gentex Corporation
  • Luis Gomez, Director
    • Meijer Inc. 
  • Mary Carrizales, Director
    • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland
  • Tina Pietrangelo, Director
    • MillerKnoll
  • Alex Roehling
    • Holland Hospital
  • Abraham Gonzales
    • Ottawa County Office of Public Defenders