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Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Lou Rodriguez, chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce during the 2020 Alegría Ball on Feb. 20. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News. 
Jennifer Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Lou Rodriguez, chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce during the 2020 Alegría Ball on Feb. 20. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA…

Celebrating 30 years of growth and achievement in Philadelphia’s Hispanic community

On Feb. 20, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Alegria Ball, a fundraising event to fund its core programs and honor…

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The Hispanic community in the United States is growing and continuing to make significant contributions and impact each year. 

One of the ways in which this is being done is through entrepreneurship, as there are currently more than 4.4 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, with the likelihood of that number continuing to rise. 

“As the Hispanic population continues to grow, it is also maturing and acquiring higher levels of education and wealth,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, president & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

In the 30 years since the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GPHCC) has been established, it has played a huge role in helping influence that growth.

During the 30th annual Alegria Ball on Feb. 20, the Chamber celebrated and honored Hispanic businesses and entrepreneurship with its Excelencia Awards.

Angel Corella, artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet, was awarded the Hispanic Professional of the Year award; LUHV Food, family-owned vegan and gluten-free food manufacturer and restaurant, was awarded the Hispanic Business of the Year award; and Visit Philadelphia, with its “Filadelfia - You Gotta Feel It” marketing campaign, was awarded the Corporate Initiative of the Year.

Each award recipient highlighted the prevalence of Hispanic entrepreneurship across Philadelphia, as well as the diversity that exists among the Hispanic community.

Corella, originally from Spain, said he realized he wanted to be a dancer when he was six years old, to less-than-ideal reactions. However, he followed his dream and it has since helped him gain worldwide acclaim and establish himself as one of the most recognizable names in dance.

“I think it is really important in the Hispanic community to support your kids, to introduce them to the arts [and] to not feel threatened by it,” he said as he accepted his award. 

As she accepted her award, Silvia Lucci, co-owner and co-founder of LUHV Food, detailed her journey coming to the United States from Argentina and opening a family business — as well as the importance of veganism. 

“At LUHV, we truly believe we can change the world by the way we eat,” she said. “Veganism is considered today the most crucial way to impact the global warming situation.”

As the topic of diversity continues to be a buzzword across the city, and the nation, Visit Philadelphia makes sure to promote it as much as possible.

“We celebrate diversity,” said Visit Philadelphia CEO Jeff Guaracino. “We live it, we commit to it and we put action behind it every single day.” 

He further highlighted how tourism plays a role in aiding the Hispanic Chamber’s mission by creating jobs in the industry, in which there are about 103,000 available jobs in the city. 

As we move forward, the Hispanic community in both Philadelphia and the United States are expected to grow exponentially and continue adding value to the economy. 

“The Hispanic community of this country is the economic engine of our future,” said Ramiro Cavazos, president & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

More than 350 attendees were at the 2020 Alegria Ball, including elected officials, government agencies, financial institutions, community & government affairs staff, economic development agency staff, Latino leaders, business owners, corporate leaders and more. 

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