Hispanic Business Association

Rising to Success Through Education and Business

The Hispanic Business Association(HBA) is an all-volunteer, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to contributing to our communities by providing opportunities to Hispanic youth through education and mentoring

Our Mission

The Hispanic Business Association (HBA), is an all-volunteer 501c3 not for profit organization contributing to our communities by providing opportunities to Idaho Hispanic youth through education and mentoring.

Our Goals

The Hispanic Business Association is committed to expanding access to higher education to Idaho's promising Hispanic students.

To accomplish this we will need to:

  1. Increase our current level of Scholarships to $50,000.00 by 2023
  2. Increase Endowment fund to $500,000 by 2025
  3. Offer named and special needs scholarships, funding to come from Endowment Fund earnings

Our Vision

An educated and successful Hispanic community by reducing financial obstacles that prevent high-achieving Hispanic students from furthering their education and fulfilling for their potential success. Everyone benefits when we invest in generations of leaders that represents the diverse society in which we live.

Hispanic Business Association History

The Association of Hispanic Business Leaders, Inc. (AHBLE) was incorporated on October 15, 1990 with three specific purposes:

  1. Promoting economic development within the Hispanic community.
  2. Fostering educational, social and civic commitment among all Hispanic persons regardless of sex and political or religious views.
  3. Promoting awareness and acceptance as Hispanics in all business, professional, paraprofessional and industrial sectors by among other things, accentuating Hispanic achievements therein.

The original incorporators were Salvador Villegas, Charles Lopez, Edward Ramirez, Ismael Chavez, Juan Zamora and Richard G. Cortez.

The name of the organization was changed to the Hispanic Business Association (HBA) and 501 (c) (3) status was granted in October of 1995. Led by the visionary leadership of the Chairman of the Board, Ray Veloz, the first decade of our existence was full of significant achievements in membership growth, educational mentoring activities, economic development and scholarships for students wishing to attain college degrees. Our signature achievement was the grant from the Ford Foundation of $25,000 to bolster our efforts to look and act like a Chamber of Commerce which was first discussed in 1993.

By the end of the first decade of the new millennium and with the inauguration of the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2008 the mission of the HBA was evolving into less of a Chamber role and more of an educational support role.Today our singular focus is generating funds to provide scholarships to Hispanic students from Idaho and Eastern Oregon.

Since 1992 scholarship funds have been generated through the Jalapeño Open golf tournament with $500 generated in that first year. Our first scholarship of $500 was awarded in 1993 to Joey Barroso of Vallivue High School. Joey went on to graduate from Boise State University and much to our surprise and joy he recently received his MBA from BSU! Since 1994 the tournament has been hosted and sponsored by Metalcraft, Inc., a company owned by Richard Cortez. Rich was instrumental in the formation and success of the organization over the years as well as a passionate supporter of education for Hispanic youth. In 2004 Rich passed away from cancer and in his memory the scholarship program was renamed the Richard G. Cortez Scholarship Program. In 2019 the HBA awarded $22,500 in scholarships to 17 students from Idaho. Since 1993 the HBA has awarded 467 scholarships valued at $422,000!

Our sole mission today is to continue to raise funds to offer the opportunity to succeed to students who may not otherwise have that option through the Richard G. Cortez Scholarship Program.

Board Members

Ms. Alice Mondragón Whitney

Retired Community Relations Banker/Business Development Officer
Diverse Markets Group

Alice Whitney retired in August 2018 from Zions Bank after over 30 years of real estate and mortgage banking experience, is fluent in Spanish and has provided Idaho women and minority entrepreneurs with invaluable counseling services in personal financial education and business planning. As an entrepreneur Ms Whitney was the owner of the first woman owned aviation instrument facility on the West Coast. Never underestimating her competition and working with a realistic set of goals she took her company into the world of commercial and corporate aviation, finding a niche of the industry that was not being served. Her company grew to be a well-respected major player in aviation nationally and internationally with a client base of companies such as, Forbes, Federal Express, John Deere, Amway Corporation, Boise Cascade, State of California, U.S. Air Force, Lockheed, Northrop, Garrett AirReasearch, American Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Boeing Seattle, Falcon Jet (France), Air Bus (France) and Smith Industries (England), British Aerospace (BAC-111). Upon the sale of her company a career change was in order, an opportunity to enter the world of Real Estate, sales and mortgage lending was taken and soon Ms. Whitney found herself a Million Dollar producer with a Century 21 franchisee in southern California. Ms. Whitney believes that development of goals and the perception of how to accomplish them is the key to any idea, focus and understanding of the support mechanisms available whether monetary or personal, however are essential in starting a business and are also required to successfully counsel an entrepreneur.

Kirby Ortiz

Kirby Ortiz is a retired business owner having spent his entire career in the Wireless Communications industry. He was born in New Mexico, graduated from high school in Ohio, served in the United States Marine Corps including a tour in Vietnam in 1969 as a field radio operator. He graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1976 with a B.S.B.A. Kirby has served on the board of directors of the HBA since 1991 and has chaired the Scholarship Committee since its first award in 1993. Kirby and his wife Sara have been married 41 years, have three grown children and have lived in Boise for 41 years. In his spare time his passions are racquetball, reading non-fiction history and spending time in the great Idaho outdoors.

Ken Cortez

Ken Cortez was born in 1962 in San Jose, California. At 12 years old Ken was relocated to Idaho with his father, Richard Cortez. Ken grew up in Meridian, graduated from Meridian High School, and attended Boise State University. Ken is currently the President and owner of Metalcraft, Inc. founded in 1986 by Richard Cortez. Metalcraft Inc. is located in Boise, ID and employees approximately 40 people. Ken and his late wife were very involved with the community and church which consisted of raising money for Christian camps to serving as Little League Umpires, Coaches and Board Members. Ken’s past accomplishments were serving as a member of the Selland College Advisory Board and being appointed by Governor Butch Otter to the Commission of Hispanic affairs. Ken currently serves as a Board Member of Hispanic Business Association and is the director of the Jalapeño Open golf tournament. Ken is a passionate American who was given the opportunity to have a positive impact on our youth and community. Ken is blessed with an incredible family and is grateful every day for the opportunity to live and watch his family and business grow in the GREAT STATE OF IDAHO