Hundreds gathered at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday night to honor longtime Arizona Latino leader Tommy Espinoza. Not only was it his birthday, but Espinoza received the Heritage Award, the highest recognition of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
A Phoenix native, Espinoza has committed his professional life to supporting Latino families and individuals through educational opportunities and the advancement of community and business development. He currently serves as the president and CEO of Espinoza Community Development LLC, a corporation devoted to private community development.
Espinoza also served as the president and CEO of Raza Development Fund (RDF), which he co-founded. “RDF was a work of love,” Espinoza said. Eventually, it became the largest community development foundation in the country.
The event celebrated Espinoza’s achievements and contributions to Arizona communities. Among those paying tribute were Arizona Cardinals Owner and Chairman Michael Bidwill.
In a conversation with Arizona Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden, Espinoza said he does not think of one of his projects as the best or single most recognizable, but rather, “Success is small things you do in the community that add up to large success.”
The Heritage Award is a prestigious honor bestowed upon exceptional individuals whose accomplishments and unwavering commitment to Arizona have earned them acclaim, both at the state level and nationally.
Espinoza is a board member for Glacier Bancorp, Foothills Bank, the Catholic University of America, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Arizona State University, the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL), the National Catholic Education Association, and then San Juan Diego Institute.
The Heritage Award is molded in clay, cast in bronze, and depicts four historic Arizona leaders: George W.P. Hunt, the state’s first governor; Carl Hayden, Arizona’s first congressman who served for a record 57 years; Barry Goldwater, the first Arizonan to be nominated for U.S. President; and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.