We are in Charge of our Own Destiny

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 2.46.55 PMMy name is Andrés Connell and I’m a founding member of the Latino Men’s Giving Circle. As an immigrant and as Executive Director of Nuestra Casa, nonprofit dedicated to serving the needs of immigrant Latino families in the East Palo Alto region, I know the value of working collectively with sister organizations to bring about community transformation. This philosophy carries over to my philanthropic work where I see the importance that comes from pooling our personal resources in order to better serve our communities.

I had the privilege of attending the 2015 National Immigrant Integration Conference in New York City earlier this week. At this year’s convening, we heard from a host of leading academics and immigrant integration experts on the importance of genuinely engaging immigrant populations. We were inspired by the words of both New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, both of whom have strong ties to Italian immigrants. Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, also made an appearance and promised to continue supporting DACA & DAPA legislation as well as pursuing CIR (comprehensive immigration reform).

The messages from all of these individuals were right on point and powerful, especially given the rhetoric coming from some of those on the opposite side of the political spectrum, but they paled in comparison to the passion and fervor coming from those of us in the audience. WE are the masters of our own narrative and WE must take the lead on steering the political discourse in the proper direction! WE cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and let ‘others’ dictate the local, regional and national tones of these very important political conversations.

As I think about the work that we are doing locally through our numerous Latino Giving Circles, WE are showing the country that WE are in charge of our own destinies. As Latinos, WE come from all different walks of life and from different economic back grounds but WE share a common vision for our communities. By joining one of our giving circles, you have an opportunity to invest in our communities and become part of the WE movement. Adelante!

Meet Greg Desmond, founding member of the SF Men’s Giving Circle

Greg Desmond is the Branch Manager at Morgan Stanley San Francisco. He is a founding member of the San Francisco Men’s Giving Circle. Originally from Boston and raised by a single mother, Greg shares his personal story and what compels him to make a difference in the Latino community. 

Why did you join the Latino Giving Circle?

I’m a member of Morgan Stanley’s Diversity Council in San Francisco. A few years ago I attended my first LCF Gala event. I was moved by the community and inspired by how much everyone cares and wants to help. During that evening I learned how the San Francisco Latina Giving Circle pulled together and made a difference to build a better future for the Latino Community. It reminded me of growing up and the struggles that my single mother went through to raise three boys in Boston. At one point, we were on food stamps and were faced with the possibility of losing our home and having to move to the “Projects”. It was organizations similar to LCF that gave me direction and kept me out of trouble.

While I was in college I was introduced into the Latino community through my college roommate whose family was from Mexico.  Later in life, when I moved to the Bay Area, I lived in the Mission with my wife.   I witnessed the disparity of lifestyles and it brought me back to my childhood.

While working at Morgan Stanley, I was approached by my friend and colleague Angel Chavez, he had an idea to start a Men’s Giving Circle. I told Angel I thought it was a great idea and to count me in. I’m an Irish kid from Boston, this is a great fit! This somehow pulled together all my life experiences and gave me the opportunity to make a difference.

What has been your favorite experience in LGC?

Knowing that we have the chance to positively impact the direction of a young man’s life. It’s been amazing being welcomed into the Latino community and getting to know all of the other members.

Why do you want others to join?

It’s a rewarding experience. Together we can all make a difference in the lives of Latino boys and young men.

LGCN-circle-locationsFor more information about joining a Latino Giving Circle Click Here.