- Felicia Matlosz
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) today announced that he has chosen the Education and Leadership Foundation as the 2023 Nonprofit of the Year for the 31st District.
Assemblymember Arambula said that the Education and Leadership Foundation, based in Fresno, for more than 15 years has provided stellar support services and resources in the areas of immigration, education, health, housing, and more. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to empower underrepresented communities by working toward equity and social justice.
The Education and Leadership Foundation, also known as ELF, will be honored today with other California nonprofits at a luncheon on the lawn of the State Capitol in Sacramento. The event is co-sponsored by the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), the Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector, and the Senate Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector.
ELF was established in 2007 to help undocumented students at Fresno State. Since then, the organization has grown to assist thousands of people in Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Kern counties. In late 2022, ELF expanded from its original site in central Fresno to a second location in Fresno’s Tower District.
Immigration services are a key part of ELF’s efforts, including consultations, document translations, applications for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and defense representation involving asylum cases. Education remains the other major focus for the organization. Efforts in this area have included after-school programs in partnership with the Fresno Unified School District, tutoring services, leadership development, and California Dream Act Workshops as well as fellowship and scholarship opportunities.
In other areas, ELF has offered services in emergency rental assistance, tax preparation, food distribution, COVID vaccination education and outreach, and civic engagement.
Assemblymember Arambula said: “The Education and Leadership Foundation is a trusted partner in our communities and staunchly believes in helping to empower marginalized communities. ELF particularly excels in providing assistance in the areas of immigration services and education to help people pursue better lives for themselves and their families, and that benefits all of us. I know that the leaders, staff, and volunteers of ELF will continue to serve our communities with expertise, compassion, and integrity.”
Matias Bernal, Executive Director of the Education and Leadership Foundation, said: “The Education and Leadership Foundation team and volunteers are extremely grateful to Assemblymember Arambula for acknowledging our efforts. Our goal is to continue working hard and making a positive impact on the lives of the people we serve. As someone who was once a client of ELF and a DACA recipient, I am proud to be part of this dedicated team that includes amazing staff, volunteers, fellows, and a board of directors.” The annual California Nonprofit of the Year event gives elected officials the opportunity to highlight the important and extensive work that nonprofit organizations are doing in their districts and to express appreciation for the collective impact of nonprofits in communities throughout the state.