Second Generation Hispanics ~ An Opportunity for Latino Philanthropy

I recently read Jose Villa’s article, “The Multicultural Future of Non-Profits” that focuses on the impending demographic donor cliff: a shrinking base of older, whiter donors in theUS.  This demographics shift represents an opportunity for Latino philanthropy.  As the article states:

“47% of U.S. Hispanics donated to a charity or philanthropic organization in the last 12 months” 

Villa goes on to explain that if second-generation Hispanics do not have a strong connection to their parent’s home country, they won’t send remittances. 

“Clearly there is an opportunity with more than 60% of Hispanics born in the U.S. to be a more traditional option for their philanthropy.”

 Villa provides larger, mainstream organizations with recommendations on how to attract Latino donors.  However, what is missing from this article is a focus on what Latino-based organizations should be doing to attract these new sources of funding.

 We cannot just assume that Latinos will direct their dollars to Latino causes. Or more importantly, those Latino philanthropists understand the nonprofit landscape in order to direct their giving. 

 LCF will soon release an evaluation report of our four-year, $1M, Children and Youth Initiative.  One of the most interesting findings of this report has been an increased understanding of the unique challenges facing Latino organizations: immigration, digital divide, structural racism, and language/cultural constraints. 

 These factors are often compounded to create an environment where greater resources are needed to support lifting families out of poverty, and yet, fewer foundations and individual dollars are geared to Latino-based organizations.

 While there is much work to be done in the philanthropic sector to change this reality, I want to focus on what Latino-based non-profit leaders can do today to not only survive, but thrive:

  1. Be a technology, digitally-driven organization. I know many Latino clients do not have computers at home and are not always online, but that is changing. More importantly – even if your clients are not online now, your donors are.  Latinos are young, very tech-driven, engaged in social media and hungry to connect with you.


  1. Be Donor-Centered.  Constantly ask the question, “Why would this matter to my donors?”  Face it, you cannot do this work without money, donor contributions are often unrestricted (gold) and so you have to face the fact that this must become a priority for your organization if you are going to remain sustainable.  Ask your donors what matters to them, and ask often!


  1. Communicate your story.  The squeaky wheel gets greased. Show the impact of your work-analyze your data regularly, at least yearly, and demonstrate the ‘so what’ about your work.  Make sure everyone in your organization has the data and messaging to be an unabashed advocate for your cause. 


  1. Build relationships and ask for help.  I know from running a ‘start-up’ that these recommendations are not simple.  Look for pro bono assistance – I am always amazed at how many people step-up when asked for help. Sometimes, that ask can reap benefits for much longer than a check. Think outside of the box, build meaningful relationships and creatively engage people in your organization’s work.


Last but not least,


  1. Engage the next generation of Latinos.  Find time to connect with Latinos in all sectors. Go where they are and tell them why your work is important.  Be knowledgeable, be bold, and don’t assume that they aren’t interested. Invite young and entrepreneurial Latinos to join your board. If you can get people to take ownership of your organization and your cause, you will thrive.


Be part of the solution…

We at the Latino Community Foundation are very excited to launch this blog and provide a space for discussion and engagement on issues that matter in the Latino community. 

I have been leading LCF for 5 years now.  It has been a time of tremendous growth for the organization.  With your support we have invested $2.1 million in programs that provide educational, health, and economic opportunities for Latino children, youth, and families.  Funds have provided 3 year olds with kindergarten readiness skills, high school students with sex education classes, and parents with the power to support their children’s development. 

But, what I am most proud of is our commitment to bring communities and donors together, connecting results-oriented leaders with the resources they need to succeed.  Building this base of donors of individuals, corporations, and foundations invested in the future of the Latino community will be our legacy.  

There are many challenges ahead.  Everywhere I turn I see an article or story about the low graduation and college-going rates, increase in diabetes diagnosis, and staggering unemployment rates among Latinos.  While this is true, it only fuels LCF’s commitment to identify ways we can collaborate with others and together lead a movement that will build a better future.

This summer we will kick-off a statewide tour to develop a network of Latino-based organizations and donors to support a California Latino Agenda.  Our hope in this journey is that we will connect fearless leaders with each other to move forward an agenda that will lead to better outcomes and greater opportunities for Latino children, youth, and families. 

Be a part of the solution. There are many ways to get involved:

  • Follow this blog to learn more about the critical issues facing California Latinos and how you can make your voice matter;
  • Donate to one of LCF’s investment funds to increase opportunities for families,;
  • Join an LCF giving circle to pool resources and invest in causes you care about!


We’re growing. And, we want to tell you about it.

Not long ago, LCF made a promise to invest one million dollars to support Latino children and youth in the Bay Area. Five years later, we have kept true to that promise; invested $2.1M and grown our Children and Youth Initiative from a single program with a cohort of 10 organizations, to a network of 40 community based organizations that spans the Bay Area, Central Coast and Central Valley.

As we developed our investment strategies, LCF created a speaker series Community Conversaciones. Community Conversaciones brings leaders together to learn about and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the Latino Community. We want to take these conversations online, igniting critical conversations through this blog.

It is our goal that the LCF Blog becomes a forum where knowledge and information can be shared. We will feature guest bloggers who can share their own insights on the future of California’s Latino community. We will focus on solutions to these challenges, always forward thinking– learning from the lessons of our past, and embracing the opportunities of the present– to build a better future for California.

As always, we welcome your responses and look forward to reading your comments!