Alianzas (Alliances)


The goal of Alianzas is to foster inclusive communities that recognize and address the unique qualities and challenges of Hispanic/Latino residents using a community-based, collaborative learning approach. This is a collaborative effort of University of Missouri Extension and the University of Missouri Kansas City Institute for Human Development.

  • Project Contact – Gerardo Martinez, 816.235.1768,
  • Project Period – 1997-2014
  • Annual Funding – $60,000
  • Funding Source – University of Missouri Extension

Core Functions

Applied Research

Conduct ongoing discussions with groups and key informants to expand the knowledge base about Hispanic communities in Missouri. Alianzas will support and develop program initiatives that enhance University Extension outreach efforts with Hispanic consumers, examine existing databases to identify demographic trends about Latinos in Missouri, and provide technical assistance, research resources and training to all University of Missouri Extension regions of Missouri.

Community Services and Supports

Identify resources within state and local government agencies that can partner with University of Missouri Extension (e.g., Latino Centers, Department of Health). Identify resources within the Latino community that can assist in strategic planning and program implementation (e.g., Spanish classes; translations, cultural awareness training). Identify other community partners that can bring resources to bear on Hispanic programs. Establish a database of these resources.

Information Dissemination

Alianzas maintains a statewide online resource center for the purpose of sharing best practices, highlighting programs in the state, and connecting efforts across the state, as it pertains to addressing the needs of the growing Hispanic/Latino population in Missouri. Alianzas also publishes a bimonthly newsletters that reaches over 800 MU Extension specialists across the state.

Interdisciplinary Personnel Preparation

Identify the cultural diversity needs of current academic programs within UMKC to support community program development and needed academic development activities.

Program Need and Historical Context

  • The US Census recently released the redistricting figure for the 2010 census and Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the United States.
  • Data from the US Census American Community Survey tell us that the Hispanic population is on average 10 years younger than the non-Hispanic population.
  • Schools are experiencing tremendous growth in Latino students. Unfortunately dropout rate overall in the State has increased for Blacks and Hispanics students.
  • In recent decades, a significant number of Latino immigrants have relocated to Missouri’s rural and urban areas. Many challenges face these new immigrants, from language, lack of cultural awareness, social class issues, and isolation.

Consumer and Community Involvement

  • Alianzas collaborates with communities where Latino projects occur and are being developed.
  • Local and statewide coalitions are formed and some work groups are identifying needs and addressing key issues for program development.

Significant Project Activities and Outcomes

  • Alianzas supported the KC Metro Hispanic Needs Assessment process.
  • Alianzas provided cultural diversity training for MU Extension staff, and worked with MU Extension’s Affordable Care Act Project team to ensure the curriculum was developed in a culturally competent framework that was accessible to diverse and minority communities.
  • Alianzas completed conducting the Exito en el Norte series, in St Joseph MO.
  • Alianzas participated in the Binational Health Week activities in Kansas City, and St. Joseph, MO.

Institute’s Role

  • IHD initiated the proposal that established Alianzas. It continues to offer program support and oversight as the program evolved into a Statewide program.


  • Binational Health Week Evaluation Report
  • Exito en el Norte Evaluation Report
  • KC Metro Hispanic Needs Assessment Preliminary Report



A statewide resource enhancing program development and outreach efforts for UME, UMKC, IHD within Missouri Hispanic community.


Leadership roles have been established at both the university and community levels to support program development and replication.


Alianzas has leveraged its influence and efforts through University and community partnerships, and has leveraged funds on a limited basis.