Catalyzing Community Giving, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

A few years ago, the San Francisco-based Latino Community Foundation noticed a significant uptick in the number of Latino women donors asking how to get more involved in its work to help vulnerable Latino families and children. “They wanted to give back in a deeper manner,” says Sara Velten, the foundation’s VP of philanthropy.

In response, the foundation organized its first giving circle, launched in November 2012. In its first two years, that giving circle—made up of an intergenerational group of Latina women from highly diverse backgrounds—distributed $30,000 in small grants to mainly women-led groups doing powerful work in their community. “It’s unbelievable what these organizations have been able to do with [these grants],” says Velten. “And the fact that they’re getting individual support from Latinas—from mothers like them—it’s very special for them.”

The Latino Community Foundation currently has five giving circles, four of them all female. With its Catalyzing Community Giving grant, the organization is working to grow its giving circle program—and to further engage Latina donors. “The format is very appealing to women,” Velten says. “And it’s unbelievable how they now use their voices in ways they wouldn’t even think about a few years ago.”

“We know that women will give if they are also taking action,” says K. Sujata, president and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, an organization with a long history of developing women and girls as leaders and philanthropists. The foundation is now using this principle to guide its Catalyzing Community Giving work to grow—and, importantly, diversify—its donor base. “The focus of our project is to engage more donors and expand the diversity of our donors, at all levels of giving,” she says.

One cohort of donors the foundation hopes to more fully engage is millennials—specifically, young women of color. The organization already boasts a giving circle made up almost entirely of millennials. But recruiting more young women donors means “finding out what moves them and what activates them,” says Sujata, adding that this cohort is particularly driven by issues related to justice.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Foundation for Greater Memphis is also using its Catalyzing Community Giving grant to recruit new women to philanthropy, albeit in a different way. The organization is helping local women of color-led civic organizations to secure more donors and more resources by enhancing their communications and messaging strategies—particularly those designed to engage donors of color in their work and their programs.

Helping these organizations develop the messaging that touches the hearts of donors of color—and taps into what executive director Ruby Bright calls their “deep spirit of giving”—is a key part of this effort. The foundation is also teaching these organizations and their leaders about fund development and how to expand their programs to achieve further impact.

Through these efforts, all three foundations are learning more than they ever knew before about how to inspire women of color to engage even more deeply in and through philanthropy. “This project is a learning lab for us,” says Bright.

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LCF Giving Circle Wins Award!


The Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project honored LCF’s San Francisco Latina Giving Circle for providing the inaugural funding for its Bay Area Institute last week. They also honored our vision – philanthropy by and for Latinos!

The circle’s $5,000 grant allowed 30 Latino high school students three days of leadership development training at the University of San Francisco. Most of the students had never been on a college campus before; many had never seen a city.

All children deserve the same opportunities. Funding ourselves means we insist upon those opportunities for ourselves.

“We are here helping you today, and we expect you to help those behind you tomorrow,” Christiane Gonzalez, one of the founding members of the LCF San Francisco Latina Giving Circle, told the cheering students, as she accepted the award on behalf of the giving circle movement.

Make a difference in your community. Join LCF’s Latino Giving Circle Network. For more information, visit our website or contact Elisa Schement at eschement@sff.org.



Announcing Our 2015-16 Grantees

We believe in the power of our community to make lasting change. Those closest to the issues are best equipped to lead smart, community-defined solutions for change. That’s why we invest in dynamic, small to mid-size Latino-based organizations.

Last week, the LCF Board of Trustees approved the 2015-2016 Healthy Communities Initiative and Children and Youth Initiative grantees for a total of $175,000. These 11 Latino-based organizations represent the incredible talent and ingenuity of our community. These investments are focused on empowering Latino youth, increasing parental engagement, and supporting Promotoras (community health workers) to serve as family wellness mentors and community advocates.

Despite the scope of challenges that Latino-based organizations face in serving their communities – they are resilient, adaptive, and continue to serve as anchors in our communities. Today,  Latino-based organizations still receive less than 1.4% of all philanthropic dollars.  To learn more about the inequity in funding, please read the latest  philanthropic equity report from the D5 CoalitionWorking together, we must change these statistics.

We are very proud of these investments and we want to thank our funding partners: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Kaiser Permanente for their leadership in the Latino community of California.Together we are investing in what works in the Latino community.

Please click on each organization to learn more.

streetlevelStreet Level Health Project
Street Level Health Project (SLHP) is a grassroots organization based in Oakland that improves the health and wellbeing of underserved urban immigrant communities in the Bay Area. SLHP empowers and supports their community by educating, expanding access to care and advocating to build healthy and vibrant immigrant communities.

familiasunidasFamilias Unidas
Familias Unidas is a grassroots wellness organization based in Richmond. Following the approach of “La Cultura Cura,” they were founded as a community counseling and information center. Their community programs include preventive health education, mental health support, and holistic family empowerment services.

ACTACT for Women and Girls
ACT for Women and Girls is an action-oriented, community-led non-profit organization activated in Tulare County. By engaging intergenerational women, they develop leaders in their communities that promote personal, organizational and systemic change. ACT is dynamic and forward-thinking Latino based organization.

laluzLa Luz Center
La Luz Center is a comprehensive family resource center located in Sonoma. They catalyze community change through health, education and financial empowerment. La Luz is leading the change they want to see in their community.

saludSalud para la Gente
Salud Para la Gente brings much needed wellness and health related services to migrant and seasonal families in the mid-coastal tri county region of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties. SPLH expands access to culturally appropriate, community led services that empower youth and parents.

latinocommissionThe Latino Commission
The Latino Commission empowers the rural communities of Central Valley, especially in Cutler-Orosi, of Tulare county. TLC invests in the leadership of its young people by leading the “Adelante Latina Program” that connects, heals, and inspires young Latinos to build a broader vision for themselves and their families.

ffsjFathers and Families of San Joaquin
Fathers and Families of San Joaquin (FFSJ) promotes the cultural, economic and social renewal of the most vulnerable families in Stockton and the greater San Joaquin Valley. FFSJ protects children, honors women, and respects the knowledge of elders. Their programs help young people find their power and engage the Latino elders to share their wisdom.

Fresno Barrios Unidos
FBU is a grassroots organization serving Southeast Fresno. FBU works with youth, families and individuals to help them access wellness information and the tools they need to improve the quality of live for themselves and their families. FBU has demonstrated tremendous leadership in the field of reproductive justice.

Somos Mayfair
Somos Mayfair cultivates the dreams and power of Latinos in the Mayfair community through education, leadership development, and community organizing. Somos Mayfair is dedicated to fostering Latino parent leadership through the implementation of the Latino-based, Promotor Model.

Mission Graduates
Mission Graduates is focused on creating a college-going culture in the San Francisco, Mission District by empowering youth and engaging their parents. They achieve their objective through after-school, in-school and Summer programs that reach over 1,000 Latino children, youth and families each year.

youthallianceYouth Alliance
Youth Alliance (YA) is a holistic, grassroots organization that brings the greater community of Hollister together to make lasting change. YA’s vision is to empower youth as leaders who contribute to the social and economic betterment of their community. YA provides innovative and culturally relevant services that strengthen and enrich Latino youth and their families.