Leveo V. Sanchez II
Son of Victoria D. de Sanchez
Founding Member, Hispanic Youth Foundation of Northern Virginia, 1997
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Country of origin (or family’s country or origin):
- US Army Corp of Engineers Candidate School
- New Mexico Highlands University
- B.A. Economics
- George Washington University School of Government
- M.S. Foreign Affairs – Latin American studies
Chairman of the Board
Development Associates, Inc. and Hemisphere National Bank
Leveo V. Sanchez is a dynamic leader with broad experience in both governmental and the private sector, both domestically and internationally. A New Mexican by birth, whose career and schooling took him to Guatemala, Washington, DC, France, Nicaragua and Peru. From 1966 through 2005 he established numerous businesses in such areas as real estate development and investment, property management and maintenance, banking, governmental and management consultants and exporting trading. In 1969 he founded Development Associates (DA) a national, minority owned and operated consulting firm. In 1971, he and a group of entrepreneurs established a National Bank in Washington D.C. Mr. Sanchez became Chairman of the organizing group and one of the founders of Hemisphere National Bank. Hemisphere National Bank was a minority owned and operated Bank which fulfilled many of the needs of a rapidly growing Latin population.
Prior to devoting full time to his business activities, Mr. Sanchez held several high level positions with the US Government over a period of 13 years (Office of Economic Opportunity, Regional Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region which included seven large states and the District of Columbia with large urban centers.). Mr. Sanchez reported directly to Sargent Shriver, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO-often referred to as the poverty program). Prior to joining the US Government, he was employed by the Organization of American States for three years.
In 1965, Mr. Sanchez was chosen to direct the Office of Institutional Development in the Latin American Bureau of the Agency for International Development (AID). He was responsible for developing policies, providing technical assistance teams, and implementing programs to build or improve agencies throughout Latin America and Caribbean countries. This experience was preceded by 51 months as a Peace Corps staff member—the last 14 months as Deputy Director of the Latin American Region for the 17 Peace Corps programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to becoming the Deputy Director of the Latin American region he was Chief of Operations for Central America and the Caribbean programs. From 1951 through 1953, Mr. Sanchez served in US Army Corps of Engineers and served as a detachment commander in France.
Who inspired me?
My primary mentor was my mother, Victoria D de Sanchez. Her mentoring continued throughout her life.
A fellow AID employee, Edward Marasciulo, who was the ROCAP Deputy Director for USAID/Guatemala and Director of USAID/Honduras, later described some of my work in education, including this confrontation with the Guatemalan Minister of Education:
“There are many shinning stars in the Foreign Aid business, but some stars shine much brighter than others for their dedication and unique ability to transfer ideas, good will and their own inner strength to reflect the American system.
Perhaps the greatest defender of improvement in the public education system in Central America was a unique woman from the Southwest of the United States whose whole life has been dedicated to making illiterates learn how to read and teachers how to teach. Her six-feet-plus frame gave her a physical stature that matched her imposing leadership qualities. I recall once arriving at a normal school in Estell, in the Nicaraguan highlands, when she was immediately surrounded by children and teachers, few of whom exceeded five feet in height. They were drawn to her like a magnet. She was outstanding in so many ways, but perhaps the greatest was in her strong defense of a broad public education system that could reach every child and every teacher in Central America – a cause to which she devoted many years of her life.
By far the greatest achievement of Victoria Sanchez was the leadership she provided in the creation of an Alliance for Progress Program in Central America which was designed to bring authors from the five Central American and Panama countries into a single environment to write and distribute a full curriculum of textbooks from the first to the sixth grade. The administrative structure of the program was close to perfect except for the political nuances of nationalism in each of these countries. I recall one incident in 1964 in Guatemala where the Regional Textbook Project was based when the Guatemalan Minister of Education objected to distributing the textbooks throughout the primary schools even though no other text books were available. The Minister confronted Mrs. Sanchez one day with the fact that an illustration in one of the books showed a young boy pulling a wagon with a loaf of bread in it. On the basis of this illustration, the books – in the opinion of the Minister – were not appropriate for distribution. The Minister criticized that “el pan es sagrado” (bread is sacred). Standing with her imposing frame looking at this minuscule Minister of State and knowing that his objections were based on the fact that these U.S. sponsored books were somehow or other related with Anglo Saxon culture (and not that bread was sacred), she said to him in perfect Spanish, “Mr. Minister, illiteracy is a mortal sin. Will you continue to have that sacred fact on your conscience?” Realizing she had taken a risk in being so direct, and after an uncomfortable period of silence quietly left the office of the Minister. The order to distribution of books was made the following week.” Edward Marasciulo August 26, 1987
Board of Directors:
- Pan American Development Foundation, President
- New Mexico Highlands University Foundation, President
- Universidad Del Valle de Guatemala
- Hispanic Youth Foundation of Virginia
- Greater Washington Business Center
- Volunteers in Technical Action (VITA)
- US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- National Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Los Cerezos
- National Board of the Smithsonian Institute
- Museum of Latin American Art
- Quincentenary Development Board of the Smithsonian
- Institute, Chairman
- Latino Economic Development Corporation, Chairman
- Ibero-Washington, DC Chamber of Commerce Board, Chairman
- National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation, Director
- Las Vegas/San Miguel Economic Development Corporation
- Santa Fe Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
- Board of Regents of New Mexico Highlands University
Why am I involved with the HYF of Northern Virginia?
The Hispanic Youth Foundation was formed to focus on the educational and other needs of Hispanic Youth. These are activities I had been doing all my life with Hispanic both in the US and Latin America, thus I became one of the founders of the foundation.