These are the steps you will need to take

1. In order to start an ASPIRA Affiliate, the Puerto Rican community in your area must establish a dialogue with the ASPIRA Association, Inc., and express an interest in developing the ASPIRA Process. The group should then write to the ASPIRA National Office expressing their interest.

2. The National Office will respond to the initial letter of interest by forwarding additional information on the ASPIRA Association/Process to the Puerto Rican/Latino community. Written and phone communication will further explore the continued interest of your group in establishing an ASPIRA affiliate.

3. Based on the continued interest of your group, the National Executive Director may meet with members of the Puerto Rican/Latino community to discuss the conditions and needs of the community in your area, in order to make a presentation on the ASPIRA Association/Process. The purpose of this meeting is to ascertain the group’s understanding of and commitment to ASPIRA’s mission and goals. The ASPIRA National Board of Directors may request additional community meetings to ensure local support for your group.

4. Once all the parties agree that the ASPIRA Process is key to fostering the socioeconomic development of the Puerto Rican community in your area, a Local Organizing Committee (LOC), sometimes called “Friends of ASPIRA”, is established. This committee is composed of current and past participants in ASPIRA (called “Aspirantes”, and community members interested in ASPIRA.

5. The Local Organizing Committee may initially represent a city or a specific geographic region within a state. However, the LOC will need to work with other local organizing committees within the state to ensure the formation of a statewide ASPIRA affiliate. Affiliate, and subsequent Associate status, cannot be achieved until this requirement has been met.

6. LOC’s, should develop a proposal to be presented to the ASPIRA National Board of Directors, through the ASPIRA National Office, formally requesting the creation of an ASPIRA affiliate in the state.

7. The ASPIRA National Office will conduct a preliminary review of the proposal and forward it to the ASPIRA National Board of Directors. As part of the review process, the ASPIRA National Board may conduct a site visit to assess local interest and support regarding the establishment of an ASPIRA affiliate, verify information presented in the proposal, and examine any additional local factors pertinent to the proposal. The ASPIRA National Board of Directors may further invite a representative of the interested group to make a formal presentation of the group’s proposal.

8. The proposal must contain drafts of bylaws and local policies which are compatible with the bylaws and Articles of Association of the ASPIRA Association, Inc. Affiliate bylaws must be approved by the National Board of Directors as a condition for affiliation. Affiliate bylaws must include wording defining the relationship between the Affiliate and National Association.

9. The proposal should also contain specific evidence of the financial base for the operation of the organization. Evidence of the financial base could be in the form of letters of intent. Said financial base should be sufficient to establish and operate a leadership development program for at least one year.

10. Upon completion of the review process, the ASPIRA National Board of Directors may accept or reject the proposal. Acceptance of the proposal would mean the designation of the groups as an Affiliate of the ASPIRA Association, Inc.

11. Upon acceptance, a statewide Board of Directors is formed, which should include representation from local organizing committees.

12.Terms of Affiliation are then signed by the Chairperson and Secretary of the National Board and the Chairperson and Secretary of the affiliate Board of Directors. This contractual agreement defines the procedures and methods for the effective establishment of an Affiliate. In signing Terms of Affiliation, the National Board of Directors grants the new local board of directors permission to:

  • Draft bylaws, rules and regulations pursuant to the bylaws, rules and regulations of the ASPIRA Association, Inc.;
  • Incorporate itself as an Affiliate of the ASPIRA Association, Inc.;
  • Use the name “ASPIRA” and the “Pitirre” logo in its organizational activities and programs, and in printed materials and publications.

d. Have representation in the ASPIRA National Board of Directors, consisting of two (2) members, for a period of accommodation, self-development and the proper implementation of the ASPIRA Process. The status of affiliation shall be maintained for a period of no less than two (2) and no more than five (5) years. This period may be lengthened or shortened by the National Board. At the end of this period, the affiliate will be considered as a full associate of the ASPIRA Association, Inc.

12. The affiliate Board of Directors will fulfill administrative duties for the establishment of the affiliate, such as:

  • Recruitment of a state Director
  • Identification of facilities
  • Local fundraising
  • Development of programs: The state Director will be responsible for fiscal operations, further development of local chapters, quality control, and recruitment of local program directors.

13. The National Office will serve as the financial head of the affiliate until such time as the Internal Revenue Service determines that the affiliate is a nonprofit organization as defined under Section 501-c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The National Office should serve as custodian until the Affiliate is financially stable. The ASPIRA National Board of Directors may request further information at any given point during the affiliation process. Throughout the entire process, the ASPIRA Association, Inc. National Office provides technical assistance to the Local Organizing Committee(s) in effectively fulfilling the affiliation process. Specific assistance includes:

  • The provision of information on the ASPIRA Association, Inc., the ASPIRA Process, and the procedures for the establishment of an ASPIRA affiliate;
  • Assistance in the recruitment of Aspirantes and other interested community individuals to participate in Local Organizing Committee(s);
  • Assistance in information gathering and in the preparation of a formal proposal to be presented to the ASPIRA National Board of Directors;
  • Assistance in the identification of potential local funding sources;
  • Provision of internal ASPIRA documents such as bylaws of the ASPIRA Association, Inc., the manual on administrative and accounting practices, etc.;
  • Serving as a financial conduit for the Affiliate until the Affiliate is granted nonprofit status under Section 501-c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Assistance in the development of local programs;
  • Provision of training materials and inclusion of local staff in ongoing staff development and training. The Local Organizing Committee will be expected to cover the costs for travel and staff time of the requested technical assistance visits from the National Office Staff, as well as travel of local staff to training sessions. The National Office will assist in fundraising to cover the cost of this technical assistance.

CRITERIA FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ASPIRA AFFILIATE. In order to establish an ASPIRA Affiliate in your area, you must live in:

1. A city, region or state with a large Puerto Rican (Latino) population, particularly a large population of Puerto Rican school-aged children.

2. An actively involved, supportive community, interested in improving the quality of life of Puerto Ricans. Community support should include:

  • Community Leaders
  • Political Leaders
  • Teachers and principals
  • Parents, students and residents
  • Other community groups and service providers that relate to youth from a variety of ethnic groups

3. A strong local leadership group spearheading the effort, preferably including former Aspirantes.

4. Some individuals in the leadership group who are:

  • Prepared to engage in public policy advocacy 
  •  Have an understanding of the political climate of the area <br />
  • Have some access to policy makers

5. An organizing group with a demonstrated capacity to raise funds, based on previous experience, who have had some preliminary conversations with funders who have indicated interest, and demonstrated commitment to fund the Affiliate (including an executive director, locale, a counselor and office expenses).

6. A match between the community’s needs and the programs ASPIRA offers.

7. A demonstrated need. Some of the indicators to assess the need for ASPIRA programs include:

  • Total number of children in school
  • High School completion rates
  • Poverty rates
  • Percentage of single-parent families
  • Infant mortality rates f) Teen pregnancy rates
  • Comparative data on academic achievement (national and statewide)
  • Dropout rates
  • Drug abuse rates
  • HIV/AIDS rates <
  •  Disability rates among children

8. An organizing group which commits to developing a program that includes all the components of the ASPIRA Process.

9. Public policy positions and values that are consistent with those held by the ASPIRA Association. This includes:

  • Support of bilingual education and programs specifically designed to enhance the educational development of Puerto Rican/Latino children;
  • A developmental approach, based on the notion that every child can succeed;
  • Belief in the importance of parental involvement, awareness, empowerment, respect, information sharing, inclusiveness;
  • Commitment to identifying and changing obstacles to full educational attainment in school systems and processes;
  • Belief in the importance of one’s own culture, language and roots.

For detailed information about this application process please please contact:

Hilda Crespo
Vice President, Public Policy and Federal Relations
[email protected]