LUPE was formally organized in 2003 by a group of Latinas who averaged more than 20 years of experience in law, education, human services, business and public policy. They wanted to invest their wealth of experience to advance Latinas as leaders in New Jersey. Some had previously worked in various political and educational efforts. They knew they had common goals and trusted that their combined talents and commitment could be a catalyst for moving Latinas forward in the civic arena of New Jersey.
LUPE’s roots go back to 1999 when several of the LUPE founders collaborated with the Hispanic National Bar Association to organize a national training event for Latinas interested in running for public office. Elección Latina took place at De Paul University in Chicago in June 1999. The five Latina Congresswomen who were serving at that time (Lucille Roybal-Allard, Nydia Velazquez, Loretta Sanchez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Grace Napolitano) served as Honorary Co-Chairs of Elección Latina. More than 85 Latinas from throughout the nation participated in the weekend event, which provided training for potential political candidates and their key supporters.
The success of this program was an impetus for the establishment of a permanent organization in New Jersey seeking to advance Latinas in the political and policy making arenas.
The mission of LUPE is to Educate, Empower, and Engage Latinas to promote Leadership and Civic Engagement. We strive to positively affect public policy in the areas of child care, education, economic development and health.
LUPE is a non-profit 501c4 membership organization incorporated in 2003 and run by an elected board. A 501c3 non-profit sister organization was incorporated in 2006 known as The LUPE Fund.