Euvalcree seeks new director as nonprofit’s role expands

Gustavo Morales

ONTARIO – Euvalcree, a local nonprofit working to empower minority communities in eastern Oregon, is looking for a new director based out of the organization’s office in Hermiston. 

Gustavo Morales, a founding member of the organization and current director, is moving to a deputy director role based in the Willamette Valley. 

“We want to strengthen the voice of eastern Oregon in western Oregon,” Morales said. 

He said he’s looking to leverage his position in the Willamette Valley to focus on legislative affairs, government relations, and the funding and development of programs in eastern Oregon.

In 2016, Gov. Kate Brown appointed Morales to the Oregon Cultural Trust Board. 

Euvalcree was founded in November 2014 in Ontario as a response to the frustrations of local Latino residents and community leaders. The organization expanded into Hermiston last year. 

Morales volunteered as executive director in 2015. At the time, he said the organization didn’t have the resources for staff, so Morales offered to work for free the first two years. Now the nonprofit has 12 employees.


In the nonprofit’s early days, Morales had taken a leave of absence from medical school after becoming disillusioned with his dream of becoming a doctor. He was working on his MBA at Boise State University and was drawn to the work that founding members were doing to galvanize underrepresented communities in the area. 

The 28-year-old Ontario native said he knew he wanted to help people and the nonprofit’s vision caught his attention. 

“I’ve been able to do something that has changed the perspective of what can and can’t be done,” Morales said of his time as director. “The success of the organization has catalyzed a lot of community members and shown them what they can do. That in itself has a strong ripple effect.”

He said one of the organization’s biggest accomplishments in its first five years was to bring the community together. 

The nonprofit spearheaded popular community events including the Day of the Dead event at Four Rivers Cultural Center and an annual Children’s Day celebration.

The organization has also done extensive outreach to help community members sign up for the Oregon Health Plan. 

A few years ago it worked with Pacific University, Morales’ alma mater, surveying nearly 500 residents in the Treasure Valley to identify the strengths and concerns of the local Hispanic community. 

From the beginning, the nonprofit worked to get the Latino community more involved in local government through initiatives like Latino Leadership workshop sessions for youth and adults.

 Latinos make up 34% of Malheur County’s total population, according to 2019 Census data, and 62% of Ontario school district students. 

Morales said moving forward, Euvalcree will focus on developing opportunities for homeownership and economic development in eastern Oregon.

“We are looking for someone who can take the work that’s been developed and look at issues and challenges and create opportunities from there,” Morales said. 

Have a news tip? Reporter Yadira Lopez: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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