Rotarian of the Month – Grace Gonzalez
Posted By cchacon68
Grace Gonzalez has been chosen as the East LA Rotarian of the Month for her strong commitment to our community and her support of the club’s various programs.
Mrs. Gonzalez became the Executive Director of VELA “Volunteers of East Los Angeles” in October of 2005, bringing along her experience in business management and marketing. In 1991, after owning and operating her salon for twelve years, she sold her business and decided to take her experience to the health industry. There she did outreach, marketing and sales for Pacific Care, Foundation Health, Health Net, Blue Shield and Bright Now Dental, working specifically with the Latino community to help provide residents with government health care programs. She excelled in reaching out to the Latino community and maintained profitable results for the companies she worked for consistently.
Since taking over VELA as the Executive Director in 2005, the agency has more than quadrupled the number of clients served in a ten year span. Currently, the agency serves over 15,000 individuals per year. Mrs. Gonzalez’s expertise in business development and strategic planning has made the agency grow from a $25,000 operating budget to a million a year operating budget and the service areas have expanded to include Valinda, La Puente, South Whittier and Huntington Beach.
Under Mrs. Gonzalez’s leadership VELA continues to flourish and become a key organization in the East Los Angeles Area. Her involvement with VELA gives her the opportunity to serve the community through wonderful programs and resources that make a difference in the lives of residents throughout East Los Angeles, especially in these hard times.
Under her leadership VELA has established farmers markets, rehabilitation of homes, community gardens, health & wellness education, volunteer programs, and business development for small business owners. The agency is also an active participant in providing healthy food access to areas which are considered food deserts.
In every action she takes, Mrs. Gonzalez strives to bring positive changes that will impact youth and create future leaders for the community. Mrs. Gonzalez’s work with VELA and her highly praised staff, along with her commitment to the community of East Los Angeles, have truly made her an outstanding activist leading the charge to improve the lives of her fellow residents. In August of 2011 Mrs. Gonzalez was named community activist of the year by Congresswoman Judy Chu, 32nd District.
Mrs. Gonzalez is currently married and lives in Rancho Cucamonga with her husband and three adult daughters and two beautiful granddaughters.
To learn more about VELA, please visit velaela.org.