Alianza Latina de Mujeres en Accion (ALMA-Soul) was founded by one of our well known community activist and leaders, Maria Alamo. Throughout her various community projects she began to realize the need to address the underutilization of Latinas in community development. Latinas were always involved in meetings involving issues of crime, safety and increasing neighborhood amenities for youth and adult residents. But they were usually not decision-makers or in positions of power. By and large they are considered to be nurture givers and relegated to the home as the family’s foundation.
In the summer of 1998, Maria gathered twelve women of different backgrounds (homemakers, professionals and one business owner) and met in her home in Jamaica Plain. They brainstormed about women’s involvement in civic, political and economic issues. This initial meeting was followed by seven more. The name ALMA (“soul”) was chosen: women were viewed as the soul of the family and community. Further, a mission was created and a preliminary strategy to recruit and promote the group was developed.
The beginning in 1998 / Since 1998 to 2018
- Women community members & leaders held focus group discussion in the back yard at 40 Forbes St. JP, MA Miembros del comité de discusión 1998, en el patio del 40 Forbes St . Jamaica Plain, MA
1st Community Strategy Meeting - La primera reuniónde estrategia en 1999 - 2010
In the ensuing 17 years Ms. Alamo observed that not a great deal changed with Latinas. There were a few more professionals but the issue of having power and influence for improving life in their respective communities was by and large still absent. However, what was becoming increasingly noticeable were the growing number of Latinas interested in starting their own business enterprises. Equally important were the shared feelings that there was an absence of resources that were really applicable to Latina entrepreneurs.
In June 2015, Maria once again gathered a select group of Latinas together along with a few men. This time around Maria has completely dedicated herself to making ALMA a functioning and effective organization. Although ALMA currently has a working board and no paid professional staff, in slightly over a year Alianza Latina de Mujeres en Accion (ALMA-Soul) a great deal was accomplished:
- ALMA has been incorporated.
- Has a trained board of directors.
- Has a cadre of advisors and an organizational effectiveness consultant.
- Has received its 501c3 IRS designation.
- Has created new organizational descriptors (Vision, Mission and Value Statements).
- Has created a 3-year strategic plan.
- Has developed a system of committees to carry out the board’s work.
- Has conducted a series of workshops about starting and managing your own small business.
- Is embarking on launching its first major fundraiser: El Batey.
- Is in the process of creating a signature program for Latina entrepreneurs.
- Is pursuing the location of permanent office space.