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Puente to receive Latino community service award

Author: Arts and Letters


Sylvia Puente, director of the Center for Metropolitan Chicago Initiatives (CMCI) in the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), will receive a community service award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), during a ceremony June 14 (Thursday).

Presented to an individual who has provided outstanding leadership and service to the Latino community, the award honors extraordinary dedication to the civil and human rights of all people.

Puente, named in 2005 among Hispanic Business Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the U.S., has spent her career conducting community research and analyzing public policy in an effort to build strong Latino communities. While at the ILS, she has served as a catalyst for sparking a regional dialogue on the impact of Latino growth in the Chicago Metropolitan area and directed a seminal study, “Bordering the Mainstream,” on the needs of the Latino population in Berwyn and Cicero, Ill.

Before joining the ILS, Puente served as new community initiatives director for The Resurrection Project, an organization that promotes healthy communities through education and community development in Chicago. Puente also served for eight years as director of research, public policy and advocacy for the Latino Institute of Chicago, which strives to develop links between Latino communities. In that role, she oversaw development of 90 publications on immigration, workforce development and education.

In 2003 Puente was one of 25 Chicago-area women named a Pioneer for Social Justice. She earned her master’s degree in public policy studies from the University of Chicago.

Headquartered in Los Angeles with a regional office in Chicago, MALDEF is the nation’s leading nonprofit Latino legal organization dedicated to litigation, advocacy, community education, leadership development and higher education scholarships. The group advocates for sound public policies, laws and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the more than 45 million Latinos living in the United States, and to expand opportunities for them to fully participate in society.

Contact: Sylvia Puente, 708-788-6109,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on June 07, 2007.