The Hispanic Women's Network of Texas, the only statewide voluntary organization in Texas dedicated to the advancement of Hispanic women, was founded on November 21, 1987, in Dallas to improve the condition of Hispanic women in public, corporate, and civic life. It obtained nonprofit status in 1988. The network was modeled on the National Network of Hispanic Women, which had been in operation since the early 1980s.
In 1986 the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company donated $9,000 to the Mexican American Legal and Defense and Education Fund, which was used to fund the conference in which the network was established. Southwestern Bell Telephone Company contributed $3,000. The conference was attended by 200 women. The first officers included María Luisa Mercado, president; Amalia Rodríguez-Mendoza, first vice president-issues; Dr. Dianna Mendoza Freeman, second vice president-development; and Olga Cookie Mapula, third vice president-membership. A board was composed of two representatives from twelve regions in the state.
The network had 500 members in 1988, typically middle class, the majority representing business and professional women. It addressed the issues of political appointments, conducted voter registration drives, and testified before the state legislature. It also encouraged Hispanic women to apply to Leadership Texas, a program of the Foundation for Women's Resources, which provides skills to women in the state. The network publishes a quarterly newsletter, Vision, in English. Statewide annual conferences have been sponsored by the cities of Dallas, Austin, Laredo, Waco, and El Paso. The Laredo meeting in 1990 spotlighted Señora Rosario Ibarra de Piedras, a past presidential candidate in Mexico, and state treasurer, later governor, Ann Richards. The event draws around 200 persons.