From our humble grassroots beginnings over 40 years ago, our growth has mirrored that of the city we served.
Our private, nonprofit organization was started in 1976 by seven concerned individuals who saw that Dover’s growing Hispanic population was not getting the help they needed to become self-sufficient and engaged in the community. Since then, Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs (MCOHA) has evolved to become a known and trusted resource for more than 12,000 Hispanic and low-income residents each year.
History and Milestones
The weatherization program started in the agency. During the '80s the organization ran an immigration program in conjunction with the amnesty program of the federal government.
La Familia Health Center opened its doors in our headquarters with a group of volunteer physicians. Today La Familia is the federally Qualified Health Center named Zufall Health Center.
MCOHA was incorporated by a group of 7 community members. The organization was established to meet the needs of the growing Hispanic population in the community. Simultaneously, the same community members opened the Spanish American Federal Credit Union, Club Colombia, and the Spanish parish for Holy Rosary Church.
In its inception, the organization began with programs like English as a Second Language, Transportation, Senior Support Group (Corazones Contentos), Immigration Services, and an Outreach/Client Advocate worker with a $28k grant from the Catholic Bishops Conference in Washington, DC. Every year a general assembly was done to communicate annual report and vote board members with the community.
The demographics started shifting from mostly Puerto Rican Hispanics to include a diversity of groups from Colombia and Mexico. The Hispanic Director Association was formed and we became part of the founding members.
MCOHA helped fundraise over $25k for Hurricane Hugo victims in Puerto Rico.
MCOHA also joined the Girl Scouts Council to form Project Safe. The after school program provided creative, physical and cultural activities. (New ED)
Created "PIC" program which trained workers and included a job developer funded by the Department of Labor.
NEW Executive Director.
Formerly named as a multi-service provider including legal services by pro-bono attorneys.
Started providing services in Morristown and opened a satellite office.
Heating Improvement Program added to the Weatherization program.
MCOHA received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Jersey Health Initiative program for a three year period to provide special health education programs to the Latinx community.
MCOHA also developed and implemented a leadership training curriculum.
MCOHA also worked together with community members to develop a Spanish homeowner workshop, which spun into the Mottis County Housing Partnership.
MCOHA had its first Leadership Gala.
Distributed First MCOHA news letter
New Executive Director.
Established a food pantry.
MCOHA participated in the March to Washington where one million workers, students, immigrants, and low-income individuals marched as a united voice.
MCOHA partnered with New Jersey Natural Gas and created the Gift of Warmth program, which is still provided today.
First Anti-Immigrant sentiments in the community & problems with community image.
The program had to form a new Board and also lost the La Familia Clinic and Health Literacy grant.
Started the newsletter again.
MCOHA closed the street to hold an open house a street festival.
NEW Executive Director.
MCOHA formed a Community Advisory Board and a full revamp of internal structure and policies.
Morristown's office reopens.
MCOHA has full resource center for day laborers.
Achieved full year of news positive PR.
The Home energy assistance contract was started with the Department of Community Affairs of NJ, we became the only agency to provide this service in this county.
First Computer Training Program was established, included classes and graduates.
MCOHA partnered with the Hispanic Information Center of Passaic and established a Citizenship Program.
MCOHA faced its second problem with community image. The Executive Director left and a new Board had to be created. Funders were ready to pull their support, but the Center for Hispanic Policy Research and Development helped with negotiations.
MCOHA started working with NJ Shares, this service is still provided today.
MCOHA received a minibus for the transportation program.
NEW Era and NEW Executive Director.
New private funding sources.
Contracted with Board of Utilities for the Clean Energy Program, the Residential Low Income Initiative, for two years.
Changed vehicles for the transportation program.
MCOHA expanded the Home Energy Assistance Program.
Started the "Atrevete!" program funded by the Dover Municipal Alliance, which works with Dover High School students in creating a safe driving campaign for high school students.
First Home Energy Assistance and Outreach mobile unit.
New vehicles for Outreach and Transportation programs.
NEW MISSION STATEMENT WAS ISSUED: "The mission of the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs is to advance bi0cultural exchange in the Morris County Community through programs that provide information, education, and practical assistance."
NEW Executive Director - Problem with leadership and Board.
Beginning of new FIscal stability.
New Grants for Outreach work, which expanded program staff and new initiative through Highway Traffic Safety.
MCOHA had an earmark for $25k for educational programs.
Re-started the Immigrant Immersion Process and English as a Second Language classes.
Began partnership with private funders and volunteers like Affinity Federal Credit Union and BASF Chemicals.
Created strategic Plan, first website, and a new logo for the organization.
MCOHA received stimulus funding for Weatherization.
Opened new sites in Netcong, Butler, and Mount Olive.
First Annual Three Kings Festival, which is still celebrated today.
First steps toward a capital improvement program.
Received a grant with the Zufall Health Center to provide community health Literacy for three years.
Expanded Fiscal department.
MCOHA celebrated its first Green Festival.
Suffered budget cuts in Outreach/Client Advocacy ut expanded Weatherization Outreach recruitment unit.
First Mascot introduced: "Sunny!"
Seniors started the project for Haiti orphans.