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PRL Keystone Foundation invests $250,000 in honor of Juán José López for Centro Hispano’s new home

Juan Jose Lopez, pictured here with Patricia González, is honored with Centro Hispano's prestigious Robert Sanchez Scholarship Award in 2006. (Photo by David Dahmer)

The PRL Keystone Foundation has made a $250,000 pledge to Campaign CENTRO, Centro Hispano of Dane County announced on Thursday, to honor the legacy of the late Juán José López, a longtime leader of Madison’s Latino community.

López, who passed away on June 6 at the age of 64, made history as the first Latino to serve on the Madison school board, serving 12 years from 1994-2006. He was a co-founder of the Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison and served on the board of directors of the United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) in Milwaukee, One City Schools, the Rotary Foundation and the Latino Chamber of Commerce, of which he is a founding member. López has also served as president of Nuestro Mundo Community School Inc. and was a member of the executive board of the Latino Support Network (LaSup) in Dane County, which he founded along with others in the community.

To date, Centro Hispano has raised nearly $17.5 million dollars towards the $20 million dollar capital campaign goal for Campaign CENTRO.

Centro Hispano’s new building is scheduled to open in early 2024.

“The gift from the PRL Keystone Foundation will support the construction of the new building. This includes dedicated classroom spaces to better support our career pathways and youth programs, both initiatives that were so important for Juan Jose,” said Centro Hispano Executive Director Karen Menendez in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring Juan’s vision of equity for the Latinx community remains front and center in our mission and our work, we miss him but our new building will be a testament to seeds he planted years ago.”

Centro Hispano, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and uplifting Latinx individuals and families on Madison’s South Side celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, plans to welcome the Dane County community to its new two-story, 25,000-square-foot home at the corner of Hughes Place and Cypress Way in South Madison in 2024.