Neighborhood kid turned Latino Professional
Edgar Jimenez, the newly elected Vice President of La Clinica del Pueblo’s Board of Directors, grew up right down the street from La Clinica’s 15th street address. Although he was not directly involved with La Clinica throughout his childhood, he knew many kids and community members who were.
He recalls his upbringing as one full of blessings. He feels fortunate his mother was incredibly pushy and strict, all to ensure he obtained an education.
Jimenez graduated from the University of Maryland in Business Administration, shortly after he joined the Marines to work in the technology field and in 1996, joined KPMG to work in commercial technology.
Jimenez reflects, “I was very fortunate that I followed directions, was at the right place at the right time, and made it in one of the big four financial firms as a director.”
When KPMG offered Jimenez the opportunity to give back to the community, La Clinica jumped to mind. He remembers La Clinica as a pillar in the community, providing critical services in his neighborhood. Jimenez happily facilitated the partnership between La Clinica and KPMG, what he didn't realize then was how his own life would be impacted.
His work with La Clinica over the years
That first introduction with La Clinica led to 15 years and counting, of volunteer work with La Clinica. Jimenez, a native from Guatemala, has volunteered with La Clinica through community involvement programs sponsored by KPMG and in his role as a leader of KPMG’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program in the DC area.
He reflects that La Clinica’s La Posada, a traditional holiday celebration became one of his favorite events - where hundreds of La Clinica’s patients and their children come together to have a big meal, spend time in community, and receive gifts.
When he first volunteered to help with La Posada, he was tasked with gift-wrapping hundreds of presents, and realized not one gift had been a book. At the time, one of the programs KPMG was running was Families for Literacy. Recognizing, that Latinos tend to have very few books at home, especially Latino boys who are more likely to struggle with reading comprehension, he successfully engaged KPMG to donate money to La Clinica every year towards books.
The program has occurred almost every year for the past ten years. It’s calculated that at least 2500 books have been given away over the past 10 years at every age level, infant to 13-years-old. Jimenez shares “we provide the books at no cost to the parents and the kids - we come and hand out the books - so they can see Latino professionals, who are there to help and share books they can take home.”
He reflects, “Latino boys typically are not great readers. I know because I was one of them! So even when those little guys run from me because they don’t want a book, I make sure to get a book in their hands. And then the girls! Well, they seem to always come back for more and ask if they can get two or three books for family and friends. Just being able to provide something that is needed in our community is my favorite part of being involved with La Clinica.”
In addition to La Posada and other projects, through KPMG’s Project GiveBack, Jimenez has also helped make sure patient families at La Clinica can receive Thanksgiving meal baskets each year.
Jimenez is a big fan of La Clinica’s prevention programs and commitment to health equity. He believes being on top of health issues, allows one to be healthier longer. He recognizes a big part of attending regular health checkups is having health coverage, which is why La Clinica’s advocacy and work to connect patients to health insurances and provide health services regardless of their immigration status is his biggest draw to La Clinica del Pueblo’s work.
Vice President of La Clinica del Pueblo’s Board of Directors
Prior to joining La Clinica’s board, Jimenez, hadn’t ever thought about involving himself in such a manner with La Clinica. He fondly remembers, La Clinica’s Executive Assistant, Luz, being the first to plant the seed by saying, “you know you do so much for La Clinica, you should be on the board. I Immediately thought I would really like to do that.”
Serving since 2018, Jimenez was voted on as Vice President of La Clinica’s Board of Directors in July of this year. In this role Jimenez hopes to bring La Clinica to the next level alongside his colleagues. He shares, “the staff at La Clinica, are fantastic, they do the bulk of the leading. We [the Board of Directors] just kind of do the sizing.” He explains that for La Clinica del Pueblo growth is on the horizon and a lot of change is occurring since the outbreak of COVID-19. “There is a lot of change in legislation that has come through for COVID-19, specifically in the health community. We are hoping we can get La Clinica to that next level of growth.”
“La Clinica is a local organization, it helps Latinos like me. I grew up with La Clinica in my neighborhood, and there is a lot of need for La Clinica in our community both in D.C. and on a national level. Helping the Latino community was something he learned from his parents and feels, “in this role, it just means I can continue doing the work that [my parents], were doing all along by helping our community, Latinos, and people in need in the D.C. area. Helping my hometown is something that means a whole lot to me.”