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Empowering Latino Futures


(760) 645-3455

Fax: (760) 434-7476
Hours: 9am - 4pm
624 Hillcrest Lane
Fallbrook, CA 92028

See Map Below


Formerly Latino Literacy Now 


Empowering Latino Futures (ELF) is a goal-driven organization focusing on education, community building and content issues affecting underserved communities and working with authors. Our mission is to remove barriers to success and recognize greatness in various fields for Latinos and other underserved communities. ELF accomplishes its mission by: 

  • Creating answers to educational issues that impact many and that can be replicated by others. 
  • Promoting books by and about Latinos while providing a forum for the needs of Latino authors. 
  • Creating events that educate and entertain diverse communities. 
  • Providing quality content and resources that can help alter peoples lives. 
  • Partnering with appropriate nonprofit, educational, governmental, and corporate organizations.






Why We Are Becoming Empowering Latino Futures

Latino Literacy Now is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in North San Diego County. Over the past few years, we realized that the name “Latino Literacy Now” was not reflective of the various programs that we were offering. (Federal ID #33-0868486)

Our core programs, which have had more than a million participants to date, now fit into four, clear-cut categories: 

  • AUTHOR PROGRAMS: The Int’l Latino Book Awards (1998) that continues to grow; Latino Books into Movies Awards (2010); the Award Winning Author Tour (2014); the Int’l Society of Latino Authors (2015); and the NEW Latino Publishing University (2020). We now have these under the heading: Empowering Authors. 
  • EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: Empowering Students (1996); and three programs in development. This division is Empowering Students. 
  • COMMUNITY BUILDING PROGRAMS: Latino Book & Family Festivals (since 1997); Education Begins in the Home (2015). This division is Empowering Communities. 
  • CONTENT PROGRAMS: Latino Events eNewsletter (1999); Latino Reads (2014). This division is Empowering Content. 

Recently, our board felt that we needed a name change because of the wide spectrum of programs we operate. After researching a variety of names, the board settled on the name “Empowering Latino Futures” as the perfect name to reflect our various programs. The official transition of the name will take place in January 2020. However, the name “Latino Literacy Now” will still be in use as we complete the transition. We look forward to your thoughts on how to make this transition beneficial to everyone.


Since 1997, Empowering Latino Futures has celebrated literature through its book awards. Our objective has been to recognize the greatness in both Latino writers and in non-Latinos who are writing on Latino topics. 

With the book awards, 2,897 authors and publishers have been honored over the years. In 2019, 261 authors were recognized in 94 book categories. The book awards ceremony was attended 117 Award Winning Authors and 150 guests, including volunteers and partners. While 85% of our winners are not yet well known, the awards has proven to be an appropriate launching pad for the next generation of authors who work with smaller publishing houses. 


After decades of being on the fringe of mainstream publishing, we strongly feel that the time has come for books by and about Latinos to finally get the attention that they deserve. The fastest way for this to happen is for us to work together and present a united front. Empowering Latino Authors offers a membership open to qualifying authors and publishers to help change the image of Latinos as readers & provide key information to authors and publishers. Founding members include Carlos B. Gil, Cecilia Velástegui, M.S.Ed., David C. Edmonds, Dr. Ana Nogales, Edward James Olmos, Frank M. Chavéz, Frank Suárez, Gabriel Garcia, Ileana Aragutí, Jerry Tello, Jill Barletti, Joseph Gutiz, Kirk Whisler, Lucia Amelia de Dios Romero, Marie Elena Cortés, Melanie R. Martel, Roberto de Haro, Rudolfo Anaya, Rudy Ruiz, Sandra Ramos O’Briant, and Victoria Rivera-Mckinley.

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In 1982, when Edward James Olmos was working on the movie The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, he stated, “No industry is more powerful than the entertainment industry at capturing our attention and creating the images we believe in.” Nearly four decades later, that statement is still true—and the underrepresentation of Latinos in front and behind the camera has not improved. 

The Latino Books into Movies Awards was created to get more Latino-themed TV shoes & movies produced and written by Latinos. The entertainment industry moves slowly, but we seek to facilitate changes in this area.


Since it’s founding in 2010, 115 books have been honored, and winning books have been shared with studios and production companies. 115 Books overall have been forwarded to over three dozen different studios, networks and production companies. 


Since 2013, the Award Winning Author Tour has provided opportunities for authors to attend various events around the USA at a portion of the costs. A way to provide more exposure. 


  • CABE: San Francisco, April 8-11 
  • Multicultural Book & Family Festival: San Bernardino, April 18 
  • American Library Association: Chicago, June 25-30 
  • UnidosUS: Las Vegas, July 25-27 
  • International Latino Book Awards Ceremony, Los Angeles City College, September 11-13, 2020 
  • North San Diego Latino Book & Family Festival: Oceanside, CA, October 10 
  • La Cosecha Dual Language Conference: Santa Fe, November 4-7 

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The core of our program is 3 days of workshops with sessions targeting topics that authors and small publishers often ask us about, such as the following: 

  • Marketing your book 
  • Editing alternatives 
  • Getting a book translated into English or Spanish 
  • Cover design 
  • Insights on publishing trends in: Latino-focused children’s books, Nonfiction books with a Latino focus, and/or Latino-themed fiction 
  • Finding quality and affordable illustrators 
  • Making your websites more effective 
  • How to get an literary agent or author representation 
  • Using metadata to increase your success in publishing 
  • Trends in book buying by Latinos 
  • Building a public image as an author 

NOTE: This is a tentative list. Some sessions will change slightly and others will not be included. 



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The objective of this program is to help underserved students finish college & find a career they will love. While Latinos are going to college in record numbers, many will not finish. This program targets Latino & other underserved high school and college students. Also used by counselors and community organizations. 

Since 1997, we have produced 12 editions of our Scholarship Book that have been used by 183,350 people. The Scholarship Database includes 220,000+ scholarships from 2,100+ sources totaling $930+ million. 


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The objective of the festivals is to provide a family friendly setting to learn, be exposed to opportunities, and be entertained. The festival began in 1997, and to date 67 festivals have been held in 8 markets around the U.S., including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Bernardino & San Diego. 


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Education Begins in the Home believes that every family with children should have books for them to read. During 2019, this local program attended 91 events, providing 25,493 FREE books to schools and communities in the North County San Diego. The program frequently receives requests for books and donated an additional 9,601 FREE books to 25 organizations serving the low-income families in various communities around the state.


The objective of this program is to present a quality forum where award winning books are presented on a consistent basis. Podcasting is the fastest-growing media in the U.S., and is a perfect platform for this type of content. Traditional media, even in major markets, rarely covers books by Latino authors. In a little over a year, we have posted more than 40 epsidoes of the video podcast Latino Reads.


The eNewsletter went through an evolution in 2019 with the first updated issue on February 1, 2019. This new version started with a 19% open rate and a 5% click rate the first 2 issues. 

As the year continued, the eNewsletter increased its numbers to end the year with an average of 27% open rate and 7% click rate on the last 2 issues. In 2019, 8 issues were sent as a digital newsletter by email. It presents local, national and international events that might be of interest to authors, the community and professionals. 

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