The Friends of the HRIC is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation, which began as a community- based organization of volunteers in 2001 to help the Newark Public Library create and develop the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center. Their dedication and hard work have enabled the co-founders of the NJHRIC at the NPL, Olga Jiménez Wagenheim, and Ingrid Betancourt, to launch and develop this important statewide institution. The Friends of HRIC hosts and co-hosts numerous activities and events with the NJHRIC including the NPL Hispanic Heritage series, Latino Lecture and Film Series, and helps in obtaining grants for research and oral history projects about Latinos in New Jersey. It sponsors an awards dinner every other year, in honor of the late María DeCastro Blake, where Latino civic leaders are recognized for their contributions to their communities, while also raising funds for ongoing projects of the NJHRIC. Over the last sixteen years, the Friends of the HRIC, in collaboration with the NPL, has raised over $700,000 for the establishment and development of the NJHRIC and its programs.