Founded in 1962, The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, Inc. (Concilio) is the oldest Latino organization in Philadelphia and has a well-established reputation as a leader for Latino family services. The organization was founded by a group of Latino leaders concerned with the economic, social and political issues facing the growing Latino community of the City of Philadelphia, beginning as a federation of social and fraternal organizations that grew in numbers over the years. Some groups spun off to found organizations that continue as pillars in the community today.
Concilio is first and foremost a human service organization that provides a network of family support services to vulnerable families in Eastern North and Northeast Philadelphia, serving more than 9,000 individuals each year through this comprehensive network.
Concilio is also widely known and appreciated for its founding of two historic Philadelphia events that convene the entire Latino community every year. Concilio founded the Puerto Rican Festival in 1964 (Festival Puertorriqueno Filadelfia), and the Hispanic Festival at Penn’s Landing in 1981 which draws 30,000 to Penn’s Landing for a two day celebration of Latin culture and heritage. These two events and the cultural appreciation activities that surround these events are the two opportunities for the Latino community to come together in cultural celebration in mainstream Philadelphia.
The spring of 2010 ushered in a new chapter in Concilio's long and distinguished history as a leader for one of Philadelphia’s largest and most vulnerable populations. The Board of Directors selected a new leader for the organization, Joanna Otero-Cruz as Executive Director of Concilio.