Richard Bela

Richard Jose Bela has over twenty-five years’ experience in building Public-Private Partnerships between Corporate America, government agencies and, minority private for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations. He is a nationally known advocate for minority inclusion among Fortune 500 Corporations and state and federal agencies. He currently provides board training and corporate compliance professional services for rural community water systems for the New Mexico Rural Water Association and development services to nonprofit community organizations. Mr. Bela is an attorney licensed in Washington, DC and Texas, and has a NM Real Estate Broker’s license.His most recent full-time assignment (2001-03) included the formation of the East Capitol View Community Corporation for the Washington, DC under a HUD HOPE VI grant for a major redevelopment project in the District’s African American community in the Eastside. In this capacity he coordinated with, solicited, obtained and administered grants from the DC government, federal agencies, private foundations and corporations.Prior to this assignment, Mr. Bela was President of the “Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility” (HACR), a Washington, DC located coalition of the largest national Hispanic membership-based nonprofit organizations and associations (1992-1999). As the Executive Director of this coalition, he negotiated and supervised Private-Public Cooperative Agreements between HACR and major Fortune 500 corporations and their foundations. Through these agreements he implemented corporate sector seminars and symposia on the emergence of the U.S. Hispanic community: its lucrative consumer markets and its entrepreneurial and labor force. During his tenure, he established an annual budget of $1million through corporate memberships and corporate grants. Founding Fortune Corporations included Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, McDonalds, Verizon, US West, SBC, AT&T, Coors, and Wal-Mart. Mr. Bela’s experience also includes executive assignments in three government consulting firms with annual revenues exceeding $1 million and a real estate developing firm doing business in Texas and Washington, DC, with real estate development projects exceeding $50 million. His career began upon graduation from the Texas University Law School, as a federal government employee in Washington, DC. In this capacity he assisted in the development, funding and administrative management of Migrant Farm Worker housing and employment training programs in the western states including Texas and New Mexico for the Migrant Division of the US Office of Economic Opportunity. Several of these community-based organizations (such as HELP and Siete del Norte in New Mexico and the Colorado Migrant Council) still exist today. He served as official US Congressional Election Observer to the first presidential elections in El Salvador that ended the civil war. He is co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation held annually at the Kennedy Center and has served on the boards of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Foundation. He and his wife, Adrienne Smith, and their cat, “El Gato,” reside in Placitas, NM, near a village located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM, where he also serves as President of his community water cooperative.