“Empowering our community through the education and leadership development of our youth.”
In 1961, Dr. Antonia Pantoja along with a group of educators and Latino advocates created ASPIRA (named after the Spanish word for “Aspire”). Today, the ASPIRA Association is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to Hispanic education in the nation, with nine affiliate groups between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania was formed in 1969, bringing the same dedication to education and youth empowerment to an entire new area. What started with our Leadership Development Program soon became a network of groups and community-based initiatives, and eventually the ASPIRA of PA of today which manages five charter schools and variety of other programs. Our role as a charter management organization began when ASPIRA of PA founded Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School in 1998. We have since founded two other schools and been given the privilege of managing two more by the School District of Philadelphia.
ASPIRA of PA and its charter schools are located in three neighboring communities in North Philadelphia: Hunting Park, Olney, and Kensington. As some of Philadelphia’s most impoverished areas, each of these neighborhoods faces huge socioeconomic challenges which bring about high levels of crime, poor public health and a range of other issues that burden children and families. We believe that education is the most fundamental determinant in the mission to inspire growth and improvement in future generations. With the right attitude, knowledge and resources, every member of these communities has the potential to become a leader for good. There’s a great deal of unity and support from key stakeholders in these neighborhoods, and it’s that support which has built the ASPIRA of PA of today. As we continue to invest in the education and leadership development of the youth, we are certain these children will find more and more opportunities for success.
In addition to the management of schools and community programs, ASPIRA of PA works for:
- Advocacy at local, state and federal levels
- Public policy and civic engagement
- Research on nonprofit education trends as well as tax and budget issues
- Education and professional development for employees
- Cost-saving partnerships between vital organizations and community stakeholders
After 55 years of service, our mission remains the same: to empower youth and members of underprivileged communities through education and the inspiration to take action. Today, this means we still vow to:
- Grow and develop our schools and programs, and the way they educate and affect people
- Strengthen nonprofit community engagement for greater reach
- Deepen the relationships between member organizations to increase knowledge, effectiveness, and capacity for collective action
- Build bridges between nonprofits and key institutions (business, local government, philanthropy, etc.) to increase partnerships and cooperation
- Increase opportunities for effective cost-saving programs and services