Since 1857, Metropolitan Family Services has empowered families to learn, earn, heal, and thrive. Founded as the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, the organization has helped families get through the devastating hardships of poverty, world wars, epidemics, and natural disasters.
“We are very proud in all the areas that are important to our community,” said Ricardo “Ric” Estrada, president and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services. “Economic stability, education, emotional wellness, and empowerment,” he continued in describing “the four E’s” paramount in realizing the non-profit organization’s mission.
Estrada was a guest on the Latino News Network (LNN) podcast, “3 Questions With…”, where he shared how Metropolitan Family Services assists marginalized communities that have proven to be resilient once again through almost two years of COVID-19.
Pandemic aside, he believes too many children are being left behind due to parents working several jobs to make ends meet. “It is incumbent on us as a society to make certain that people have a living wage so that children can be children; could learn and have their parents at home,” said Estrada when talking about how many children, particularly in immigrant families, have to help raise their younger siblings, especially during remote learning.
21.5 percent of Hispanic-Latino residents of Chicago, Illinois live below the poverty line, according to Welfare Info.
“I am excited to join the board of ComEd because the company is and will be at the forefront of our region’s energy, environment, workforce, and community investments,” said Estrada about his recent appointment as an independent director with ComEd.
He is the only Latino on the board of the largest electric utility in Illinois, and the sole electric provider in Chicago. “I think we need a Latino voice there to make certain that our community is not ignored, but is a part of every opportunity,” Estrada said about how he plans to guide ComEd on initiatives addressing the environmental challenges that impact the company and the public.
A poll by Earthjustice shows that registered Hispanic-Latino voters have a strong commitment to conservation, the environment, and a genuine interest in how climate change impacts their families and communities.
Estrada also serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois as well as on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Grand Victoria Foundation, A Better Chicago, and Erie Elementary School.
“As a Latino, Latina, Latinx – we seem to be not seen in the media,” said Estrada about the lack of representation in newsrooms. “We need journalists to make sure that these stories are told accurately, with the right nuance, with the right perspective.”
Last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office produced a report on how the absence of Hispanics-Latinos in major newsrooms, Hollywood films, and other media industries deeply skewed non-Hispanics’ perceptions of that community.
Estrada and his wife, Beatriz Ponce de León, reside in Chicago and are the parents of two young adult daughters.
To listen to more episodes, click on this link: 3 Questions With…