As president and chairman of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, Paul F. Chavez has spearheaded the impressive expansion of the organization his father founded in the 1960s under a different name, significantly impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Latinos and other poor working families.
A 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, the Chavez foundation's mission is addressing dilemmas confronting poor working people outside the workplace by preserving, promoting and applying the legacy of Cesar Chavez. Under Paul Chavez's leadership, the foundation has enjoyed unprecedented growth in its four core programmatic areas. It has built and manages high-quality affordable housing with more than 30 communities serving nearly 5,000 low- and very low-income families and seniors in four states. It operates Radio Campesina, a nine-station Spanish-language educational radio network reaching 500,000 daily listeners in four states. The Chavez foundation runs after-school tutoring programs for underserved students. And it works to preserve Cesar Chavez's legacy through the National Chavez Center based at La Paz in the Tehachapi Mountain town of Keene, California where Cesar lived and worked his last quarter century, and where he is buried.
That legacy work is reflected in the countless communities across America that conduct annual observances and recognitions or have named every manner of public place after Cesar, including six states that celebrate his birthday as an official holiday, including California, Colorado, Michigan and Texas. In 2012 San Antonio became the latest of 43 cities to name a major thoroughfare for Cesar, joining municipalities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Albuquerque. That year, thousands also witnessed the Christening and launching into San Diego Bay of USNS Cesar Chavez, the Navy's latest 700-foot-long Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship, the first U.S. naval vessel named for a Latino. On October 8, 2012, President Obama traveled to the National Chavez Center in Keene and before a crowd of 7,000 dedicated a small portion of the 187-acre property as the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument-the 398th unit of the National Park Service and the first to recognize a modern-day Latino. Telling Cesar's story is now part of the park service's mission of telling the story of America.
Paul Chavez lives and works out of movement headquarters at the National Chavez Center at La Paz. Located on 187 acres amid oaks and spectacular rock outcroppings, it presently hosts a 7,000 square foot Visitor Center with exhibit galleries and Cesar's carefully preserved office and library, beautifully landscaped memorial gardens around his grave site and the new Villa La Paz, a sprawling world-class conference and education center in the restored 17,000 sq. ft. mission-style structure where he trained farm workers, held large community gatherings and meetings with movement leaders. Villa La Paz now provides space, resources and capacity building for civic, non-profit and other organizations to meet and plan in the light of Cesar's legacy.
One of eight children of Cesar and Helen Chavez, Paul has spent his entire life with the movement. Prior to his work with the Chavez foundation, Paul Chavez served with the United Farm Workers of America as a union organizer, contract negotiator, political director, lobbyist in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and director of marketing operations. He was also a personal assistant to his father.
Paul earned an associate degree in negotiations and collective bargaining at the Fred W. Ross Labor Education Center's School of Collective Bargaining in December 1979.