“There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck or running a business or bringing up a family. They teach the truth by living it.” ― President James Garfield (1831–1881)
Mr. Bill de la Fuente is a clear depiction of what President James Garfield quote states: “They teach the truth by living it”. For over 30 years Bill de La Fuente has resided in San Diego County. A patriot to our Country he served in the military from 1967 to 1971. He then made North County San Diego, his hometown. Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, de la Fuente, rooted himself in the City of Escondido and later the City of Vista, where he has positively impacted the lives of many community members.
A long-time business owner (De la Fuente Party Supplies), he was very aware of the many hurdles faced by Hispanic Comerciantes (Entrepreneurs) within our local communities. Motivated to bring awareness and notoriety of a vast “majority” of what for many years was considered a “Minority” in our local Cities. De la Fuente, Founded and successfully directed Comerciantes Latinos Asociados- a Latino based organization that helped guide and provide resources to our Latino business owners, for well over 16 years. When Mr. de la Fuente spoke, people listened. His impeccable reputation that was vastly known for Living the truth, Bill earned the respect and fellowship of City governments and its leaders, school districts and their boards, even the most challenging, the trust of the Latino Comerciante, which was still an up-and-coming novelty for many communities.
Bill de la Fuente is known for always staying true to his word. A man that could never be swayed, bought or easily influenced. He is a Civic Leader and as such has influenced the lives of the many individuals that have crossed his path. De la Fuente built a bridge between Latino communities and local city governments. He paved a road that was rooted by knowledge, awareness, and integrity. “I do not want the corporate dollar, our comerciantes can stand on their own and be a direct contribution to the education of our youth”. He instructed many on the importance of being involved in our local Cities, making our presence count, being a proud and active resident, most importantly, giving back. Always an advocate for education, De la Fuente focused primarily on Fundraising for Scholarships that were issued every year to local High school students that through academics, had earned their way to a road guiding them to University studies. The diffusion of the contributions made by local Latino Comerciantes as also the developmental growth in each small business owner that he mentored, combined, have been his daily fuel to continue to be the true Leader he has become today, one that teaches the Truth by living it.
Bill de la Fuente’s accomplishments are vast and diverse. Upon his retirement of the CLA organization, June 18, 2015, the Bill de la Fuente Scholarship Foundation was created in his dedication. The City of Vista, Mayor Judy Ritter also proclaimed a day in honor of De la Fuente, on April 2, 2015, the 2nd. of April to be the “Bill de la Fuente Day”. He is a Founder for the very first Latino Speakers Bureau in North County. He has also instituted the first Latino Blood Drive in North County San Diego and has successfully brought together donors for over 16 consecutive years. De la Fuente has also Founded: Sendero's group, Adams-Gamble Neighborhood Committee, Latino Heritage Committee, North Santa Fe Association, and lastly, Founder of the Benito Juarez Community Garden where when not speaking or mentoring students or business owners, you will find de la Fuente, cleaning and pruning his jardin.
De la Fuente has also co-founded, East Valley Parkway Business Association, Neighborhood Alliance. He was project Director of the first Latino Bank in North County, Palomar Savings Servicios Bancarios. An influential Facilitator for the Townsite Leadership Development Institute. As also served as Chairman and Board Member for the following groups: Festival Latino Committee, Old Escondido Neighborhood Committee, Assistance League Advisory Committee, South Escondido Blvd Academy, East Valley Pky Overlay Planning Committee, Escondido Economic development Taskforce and the Echo Foundation. He has also served as Advisor for; Palomar College EOP and Vista ROP. Lastly within the Educational sector, de la Fuente has served as Chairman-Hispanic Advisory Committee for CSUSM; Chairman-Latino Heritage Committee; Harmony of History Mural; HSI Taskforce CSUSM, and the University Council CSUSM.
Over the last 30 years, Bill de la Fuente has been an orator at over 600 community presentations, has aided in over 60 employment placements, successfully executed over 20 Latino blood drives and has mentored over 105 local businesses. Even today, while in his retirement, Bill de la Fuente, is highly sought after for his mentorship, friendship, influence, and to have a cup of “Te de su jardin”. Bill de la Fuente is loved and respected by many. He is a father, grand-father, brother, friend and mentor. May his story always be shared with admiration and humility, and may it always be an example to others that we are not all here to Make a Buck… but to Make a Difference!
"Es bueno ser grande pero es mas grande ser bueno."
501-C 81-4155267 Bill de la Fuente Scholarship Foundation