“Our purpose is furthering the educational development of youth by guiding them to see themselves as competent, aggressive, skilled and educated individuals who represent immense value to an emerging world of dual realities.” –Ernesto Nieto

Ernesto Nieto has quietly gone about his work and mission for over 35 years founding the National Hispanic Institute (NHI), a 501(c)3, tax exempt non-profit organization, in 1979. In 1983, Ernesto was joined by his wife Gloria who retired a few years ago. During this time, the organization began in 1981 with a single pilot project in Austin. Through their efforts and the tireless support of hundreds of volunteers, NHI today operates 15 national training sites that include over 3,000 students from 26 states and 7 nations. 

Gloria de León is originally from McAllen in her
querido Rio Grande Valley where she was an honors student at the University of Texas Pan American. A Distinguished Alumna of her alma mater, she also holds several other honors for her work that include honorary doctoral degrees from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth and Austin College in Sherman, Texas.

Ernesto Nieto grew up under the tutelage of his parents in his hometown of Houston where they were long time community workers dating back to 1929. Ernesto is the first to say that much of his knowledge of working in the Latino community came from observing and volunteering with his parents as early as elementary school. His two books
 account for many of these lessons from his Houston days and time with federal and state community action programs throughout Texas and the Southwest.

Ernesto also holds two honorary doctoral degrees, one from Texas Wesleyan University and the other from Austin College. He is also a Distinguished Alumnus of his high school and alma mater, Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. He has served as trustee of DePaul University in Chicago and is currently a trustee at Southwestern University. He has been honored by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling and in 2013 he was presented with the George I. Sanchez Award for Civil Rights by the National Education Association. All four of Ernesto’s children have played key leaders roles in the development of NHI, especially when the organization began expanding to other states and his grandchildren will become official NHIers in a few summers. 

P.O. Box 220 Maxwell, TX 78656 · Tel: 512-357-6137 · Fax: 512-357-2206 · E-mail: