Latinas: The New Face of Philanthropy


Three years ago, the Latino Community Foundation (LCF) brought together 16 intergenerational women that founded the very first Latina Giving Circle. That year they pooled their resources, shared their passions and awarded $10,000 in grants. More importantly, something powerful happened that year. Those women ignited a movement of Latinos investing in their community. This year, the inaugural Latina Giving Circle invested $50,000, totaling $80,000 in grants over 3 years.

Because of these pioneers, we now have 126 Latino Giving Circle members in seven chapters in the Bay Area that have awarded $122,500 in grants. Together, we are shaping a new narrative about our community. We are a generous force that wants to give back in a way that empowers the existing and emerging leadership in our community.

Last week the San Francisco Latina Giving Circle, now with 32 members, convened to select the recipients of the $40,000 they had pooled together. Four finalists were invited to present their pitch. To everyone’s surprise, Tina Perez, a giving Circle member had her boss at Chevron add an extra $10,000 to support the circle. With $50,000 and a passion to improve their community, they chose their most recent grant recipients. The Chicana Latina Foundation was awarded $15,000, Somos Familia received $15,000, Educa2, Inc $10,000 and Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) got $10,000. All these organizations run on small operational budgets, have fierce Latino leadership, and are committed to long-term, grassroots change.


“We are so grateful to have the support of the Latina Giving Circle! Somos Familia’s work is about transforming our Latino families and communities into safe and welcoming spaces for LGBTQ people. Having your financial support and acceptance means so much because it shows Latinas are for this transformation. It’s an affirmation that our community is behind us. Thank you!”

This bold philanthropic movement now has expanded to seven Giving Circles lead by the Latino Community Foundation. In 2015 the Pleasanton Latina Giving Circle awarded $5,000 to Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, $2,500 to Centro Legal de la Raza and $2,500 to Diaz & Loera Centro Latino. Additionally, the Peninsula Latina Giving Circle gave $10,000 to Puente de la Costa Sur (PUENTE), $5,000 to Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) and $2,500 to Shop with a Cop of Silicon Valley.

But this work is not limited to visionary Latina women. LCF also hosts the Latino Men’s Giving Circle with 29 Latino men purposefully investing in Latino boys. This year, they gave out $10,000 to Educa2 and $5,000 to HOMEY. Most recently, the co-ed Latinos in Tech Giving Circle was launched. Currently, LCF is exploring the launch of a Sacramento, Vallejo, and a Wine Country Giving Circles.

LCF’s mission is to inspire philanthropy by and for the Latino community. “It is time to take responsibility for our own future by investing in our own Latino-led solutions for change,” said Sara Velten, LCF Vice President of Philanthropy.

The circles exist to inspire action and to provide support to Latino-based organizations, some of the most underfunded nonprofits in the country. Less than 1.4% of all philanthropic dollars go to support Latino-based nonprofits. While the majority of the Giving Circle members are Latino, non-Latino donors contribute too. Join our movement!LGCN-circle-locations-v3

For more information please contact Sara Velten at

More information about LCF: 

Our Work is Rooted in Familismo

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Bringing LCF Grantees together to exchange ideas, challenges and strategies during a day-long convening is powerful. Doing it in a way that honors and respects the values of the Latino community is transformative. LCF strongly believes in the power of authentic, trust-based relationships to create and sustain individual, organizational, and social change.

Much of what LCF does is rooted in the idea of Familismo or simply known as cultivating a sense of family and value among our community of donors, funders, and grantees.  Sitting beside our respected community leaders and funders, we had an opportunity to be heard, share insights, and aspirations of our work. So, as opposed to talking at each other we spoke with each other. In these conversations, reflections were sparked, but more importantly authentic relationships were made.  In a warm and welcoming environment, a candid conversation has the power to change hearts and minds.


During our convening, we first sat in circulo, sharing our personal stories. We honored our roots and shared gratitude for our immigrant parents and grandparents. Inspiring Latino nonprofit leaders, Camille Llanes-Fontanilla, Juan Hernandez, and Socorro Santillan shared insights, fundraising strategies, and grant writing support with their peers.

This year, LCF also invited funders such as Justin Steele from, Pia Infante from Whitman Institute, Lateefah Simon of Rosenburg Foundation, Janeen Perez from the Tipping Point Community, and Christine Clark from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. These pioneers shared their personal stories and challenged Latino leaders to push philanthropy to address some of the toughest issues of our time.

The current lack of funding for Latino nonprofits – less than 1.4% of all philanthropic dollars go to Latino nonprofit organizations – must be addressed by building bridges. LCF is here to build those bridges.

Join us by promoting the work of our Latino-based nonprofit organizations. Here is a complete list of our current Grantees:

pia!This pic cannot quite do justice to the sacred space for nonprofit leaders and funders to swap story and talk real talk that Latino Community Foundation created yesterday. Side note: the first panel I’ve ever participated in where panelists are dispersed among a circle as opposed to lined up at the front firing squad style.” – Pia Infante ‪#‎disruptingpatterns ‪