LCF Trailblazer in Philanthropy, 2016 Gala Awardee
My name is Catalino Tapia. I am the Founder of Bay Area Gardeners Scholarship Foundation. I am a gardener and now a philanthropist.
I came to this country from Mexico in 1964 with only 6 dollars in my pocket. A year later, I meet who is now my wife Margarita Tapia. After working on many different jobs my wife and I started to save money for our kids’ education. I became a gardener in Palo Alto and Redwood City. All that effort paid off when my son, Noel Tapia, graduated from UC Berkeley Law School. This is the proudest moment of our lives. That night I noticed that only a handful of Latino students graduated, I promised myself to do something about it.
After a couple of years went by, with the help of my son and his lawyer friends, I created the Bay Area Gardeners Scholarship Foundation. Once I had the legal documents in my hands I began to fundraise. I decided to ask my wealthy gardening clients for scholarship donations. I thought to myself “What’s the worst that could happen? They could fire me or say no.” To my surprise, on the first two weeks I raised $10,000 from donations from my gardening clients.
Up to this day we have awarded 173 scholarships, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary and we are planning to award 30 scholarships, placing us at over 200 scholarships. It makes us proud to help so many students and their families with the little we have.
To me, philanthropy means love. Giving people food when they are hungry or my jacket when they are cold. It’s about people, about giving and helping. I want to share a short story that occurred to me in 2007 after an article of the foundation came out in The San Francisco Chronicle, a family from Colorado wanted to donate, but did not have the money. Their two sons of 7 and 5 years old had a piggy bank, which decided to cash out and send me a nice letter with three $20 bills, this action made me cry for days. To me this is philanthropy to its fullest expression.
When the scholarship recipients look at me as their second DAD, it makes me very happy to be a person in their lives that believes in them. That’s what we do. It’s not just about the money, it’s about helping young people achieve their dreams.
I have a 6th grade education and now I have a foundation. If I can do it, so can you.
If you are inspired by Catalino and his Foundation, join us at his 10th Anniversary celebration! To buy tickets, click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/10th-anniversary-student-recognition-dinner-and-fundraiser-tickets-26002695763
Latino youth are the fastest growing demographic in the state of California… and It’s time to invest in their leadership. That’s what we did at this year’s Gala!
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, young Latinos are optimistic about their future, place a high value on education, hard work and career success. Unfortunately, their actual circumstances do not align with their optimism. Latino youth are the least likely of all ethnic groups to graduate high school and attain a college degree. Currently, only 12% have earned a college degree. The majority of all students in California’s public schools are now Latino and they are California’s future.
At this year’s Gala, and thanks to your generosity, we raised $32,000 for our Fund-a-Need and are awarding grants to six Latino-led organizations that work with Latino youth – include The Bay Area Gardener’s Scholarship Foundation, North Bay Organizing Project, CDTech-LA, Carecen-SF, Youth Alliance, Latino Family Fund de Gilroy. In addition, we raised $9,000 for the Next Generation Latino Giving Circle program which offers scholarships to support emerging philanthropists in our community. Last but not least, we also raised $24,500 to support two Program Interns at LCF.
Bay Area Gardener’s Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships to students in the Bay Area, where a large immigrant community resides and seeks higher education but lacks financial resources. Led by their founder, Catalino Tapia, this Foundation proves everyday that anyone can be a philanthropist. With their fund-a-need donation they will be able to support their recent cohort of 31 scholarship recipients with a laptop to supplement their undergraduate experience.
“This grant has come to us at a perfect time! We are celebrating our 10th anniversary and now be will be able to give laptops to each one of our 31 scholarships recipients. We are extremely thankful for our partnership and we know our students will be too when receiving those laptops on Saturday July 9th at our 10th Annual Gala and Recognition Dinner!”
Click here to buy tickets to their BAGSF’s 10th Anniversary Gala!
North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP) unites diverse leaders to build leadership and grassroots power for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. With the active participation of member organizations, including Day Labor Centers, Latino-led Family Resource Centers, Churches and Congregations, NBOP is building a powerful vehicle for civic leadership and effective grassroots organizing. The Integrated Voter Engagement Team and the Latino Student Congress are currently focused on door to door canvassing, voter registration and local and regional GOTV activities.
NBOP led and recently won Santa Rosa’s first rent stabilization ordinance and helped San Mateo gather signatures for a similar rent stabilization and just cause eviction in partnership with Faith In Action Bay Area. Sonoma County’s housing shortage is among the worst in the U.S., with many working families unable to afford rent, and with multiple families crowding into 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. Recent Coverage on NPR.
“Thank you Latino Community Foundation for this investment in our work and in our grassroots leaders. Voting is not a spectator sport. We make our neighborhood count!”
CDTech equips South LA residents and youth to invest in each other’s lives and to transform their neighborhoods. A nonprofit organization with 20 years of experience in South LA, CDTech combines grassroots participation with strategic policy understanding. CDTech trains community members on how to canvass door-to-door to engage, listen and educate their fellow residents on vital issues. Leveraging this connection, CDTech creates community development and economic development programs that incorporate deep insight into the actual needs, desires and capabilities of South LA residents. With this fund-a-need grant they will provide mentorship, leadership development and job training to Latino Community College Students in South Los Angeles aspiring for a carer in STEM.
“What an honor it is for CDTech to be the very first LCF Grantee in Southern California! This is the start of building a powerful new relationship that will bring new focus and new faces to address the issues of Southern California’s Latino communities and to create new locally-led investments in equitable development of the region’s next generation of Latino leaders.”
CARECEN-SF provides vital services and engages in community development and advocacy to help create a vibrant and thriving Latino immigrant community in San Francisco’s Mission District and beyond. With this fund-a-need grant, CARECEN will help provide a second chance to Latino kids from the Mission District who are coming out of juvenile detention.
“We are thrilled about the Latino Community Foundation gift! Thank you for your partnership and support. The entire CARECEN team is pleased with this generous donation and the Second Chance Youth Program will use the funds to continue to reach young people in the community. “
Youth Alliance offer a safe space for youth to find their purpose and path, all while becoming active members of a community that is caring, knowledgeable, creative, and above all else inclusive. Youth Alliance strives to create thriving and equitable communities through comprehensive, innovative and culturally relevant services that equip youth and families to become change agents in their own lives and in their community. Their fund-a-need grant will be used to provide young Latino men from San Benito an opportunity to learn about their culture, become civically engaged, and instill a sense of hope and purpose.
“Youth Alliance is privileged to be funded by the Latino Community Foundation to further our work in developing the next generation of Latino leaders in the Central Coast. We sincerely thank you for believing in us.”
Latino Family Fund de Gilroy builds the confidence of Latino middle school students through an innovative grant giving program in Gilroy, California. The Latino Family Fund de Gilroy increases the participation and visibility of Latinos in the philanthropic sector and instills youth with a commitment to giving back and leadership in their community.
With their fund-a-need grant they will be able to provide middle school students in Gilroy the opportunity to be mentored by philanthropic leaders, experience first-hand the art and science of grantmaking, and become civically engaged in their communities.