Press Release: Latino Community Foundation Tackles Environmental Justice and Higher Education

LCF Sacramento Summit 2016

 Latino Community Foundation Tackles Environmental Justice and Higher Education 

Sacramento, CA (March 30, 2016) – The Latino Community Foundation (LCF) will host its 4th annual Latino Equity Summit on March 30th at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. This year’s Summit will bring together over 250 Latino elected officials, government representatives, community leaders, and advocates from across the state of California. The annual Sacramento Summit is the only program of its kind that raises Latino issues and effective solutions in a one-day forum. Juan Hernandez, Executive Director of La Luz in Sonoma County said that “The candid discussions among Summit participants combined with the policy analysis and networking creates an atmosphere of comradery and hope.” The Summit will address two urgent topics for the Latino community— environmental justice and higher education.

LCF’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, will kick off the day by setting a framework for a Latino Equity Agenda and introduce Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. For the first time in history, Latinos hold the top two leadership posts in the state legislature. “The appointments of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Kevin de Leon present an important opportunity for our communities to unify and champion policies that will advance greater equity for Latino families.” Said Jacqueline Martinez Garcel.  Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is confirmed as the keynote luncheon speaker.

Guillermo Mayer, President and CEO of Public Advocates, will host the conversation on Latinos and the Environment. Dr. Belinda Reyes, Director of the Cesar E. Chavez Institute for Public Policy will host the conversation on Latinos and Higher Education. Renowned leaders from these sectors will showcase successful Latino-led strategies for advancing opportunities and policies on these issues.

The day will conclude with an Afternoon of Action at the state capitol. LCF has organized Legislative visits with key decision-makers and their staff to establish and strengthen relationships and to help move the day’s discussions into action. These visits will start a dialogue about opportunities for change to help California’s Latino families and communities. Immediately following the Legislative Visits, LCF, will host a networking reception at Cafeteria 15L.

Learn more at:


About the Latino Community Foundation

The Latino Community Foundation (LCF) is the premier Latino foundation in California. The mission of LCF is to inspire philanthropy, invest in Latino communities and lead transformative solutions for change. LCF fulfills this mission by investing in high-impact solutions, uniting leadership and inspiring philanthropy among Latinos. LCF is igniting a new generation of Latino philanthropists focused on inspiring positive changes in the Latino community.

Since 2008, LCF partnered with 65 Latino-based community partners and invested over $3.4 million in California’s Latino community.  LCF launched the California Latino Agenda, which brings issues that affect the Latino community to the forefront and connects philanthropic, business and community leaders to advocate for solutions that will empower Latino families, and create a better future for all Californians.


For more information about LCF visit  and


Latinos are Philanthropists // Join a Giving Circle!


 Latinos are a generous community and we shouldn’t be underestimated as philanthropists.

Two years ago, we asked you to join our philanthropic movement led by and for the Latino community. We knew that there was a tremendous amount of passion and ingenuity that Latinos could bring to the field. And we were right! Our Giving Circle members have rolled up their sleeves by giving their time and talent to local Latino nonprofits. They are interested in the issues, in leveraging funding and are thinking about systemic change.

As of today, we have 122 Latino Giving Circle members in 5 active chapters. We are currently recruiting for Founding Members of the Latinos in Tech and the Sacramento Circle.This year, LCF Giving Circles will be investing $100,000 in grants to Latino-based organizations that they have selected. Today we ask you to join! Stop by any of our upcoming meetings to see how it all works. Be part of a community that is empowering change. Give back in a meaningful, fun, and important way.

  • Minimum donation is $1,000/year
  • 100% of your donation goes back to the Latino community
  • Contact Sara Velten to join – email her at 
  • Check out the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s blog post about LCF’s work in Catalyzing Community Giving. 



  • Latino Men’s Giving Circle: August 19th 
  • SF Latina Giving Circle: August 20th 
  • Sacramento Co-ed Latino Giving Circle: August 26th 
  • Peninsula Latina Giving Circle: August 27th 
  • East Bay Latina Giving Circle: September 3rd
  • Pleasanton Latina Giving Circle: September 8th 
  • Latinos in Tech (co-ed) TBD


Change happens…One Day at a Time


I was a sophomore in high school when I met Johnny Rodriguez. He wasn’t a teacher, a cop, or a counselor. He was a guy that looked like the people in my neighborhood. We spoke the same language, but he had something different to say. He also cared about what I had to say. For some reason, he believed I was much more than what I believed. There’s something special that happens inside of you when you meet someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself. Change happens.

What was different about Johnny is that he believed in all of us, no matter what we looked like, what we had done, or what we had been through. As a young Latino from a rough neighborhood, I felt good about not being judged. I felt confident. I felt empowered!

Johnny stood by me and my friends through thick and thin, and he did the same for many others. He dedicated himself to helping us all believe in ourselves.  ODAT is the manifestation of what Johnny did for us back then and what we all strive to do today.

One Day at a Time (ODAT) means different things to different people. But the essence is the same. We create familia. Some have said,

  • “ODAT is a place where you can share who you are, what you are, and not be judged.”
  • “ODAT creates a sense of belonging. A family where all differences are accepted and admired.”
  • “ODAT saved my life.”

If you asked me, I’d say ODAT creates a family culture and a belief that your son, daughter, grandchild, or nephew can reach their greatest potential if they have the support and opportunities they deserve.

Today, I am grateful to come back to serve in Brentwood as the Development & Business Manager for ODAT, an organization that was created by my mentor. Johnny, who is still my mentor and our Executive Director, taught me that, “You can’t change people. You can only give them opportunities to see life in a different way. Change won’t come overnight; it happens One Day At a Time.”


One Day At a Time or ODAT was founded in 1997 and is a Latino-based organization dedicated to providing positive educational and personal growth opportunities to young adults in East Contra Costa County and San Joaquin County. ODAT youth build better relationships with other peers, improve relationships at home and also perform better academically. We achieve this by providing a supportive network of peers and adults, promoting positive lifestyles, enhancing educational learning experiences, and developing decision-making skills that empower young leaders to realize their full potential.


By Ramiro Ibarra, Development and Business Manager at ODAT

Romero Ibarra




Creating a Culture of Coverage

Creating a Culture of Coverage,
Lorena Huerta, Executive Director of Familias Unidas


In a state where Latinos are now the majority, there were too few that enrolled into Covered California.The year 2013 is a benchmark in the Obama administration as health is now beginning to be recognized as a right and not a privilege.  The media campaign missed the mark in outreaching to Latinos.  Statements like, ” you cannot be denied for preexisting conditions” did not resonate with Latinos. Latinos and in particular, immigrant populations have not had access to insurance in the US or, in their home countries.  Health care is not part of the Latino culture.

It reminds me of growing up in the Central Valley.  I lived on a dairy farm where all the families around us were mostly uninsured.  One of the reasons I went into social work is because of my father’s example.  He was considered the community social worker because he knew some English.  A family that had been friends of ours were uninsured.  The mother of the family was diagnosed with cancer.  As was common for most families, she did not have access to preventative care and so she sought treatment too late.When she passed away, the family lost the home they worked so hard to buy.  It was their American dream.

Everyone has the responsibility to create a Culture of Coverage.  It is time to begin changing how we speak about health in our circles, within our communities, in our churches, and schools. It is our right to have access to quality health care. Not to be excluded are the remaining uninsured which really means those that are undocumented.  Health care for all means that they should be included into the Affordable Care Act.  It is time that we begin creating a Culture of Coverage in the Latino community.

My personal commitment to the Latino Community

by: Hector Mujica, Social Responsibility Strategist, Google


As a Latino born in Venezuela and raised in Miami, and now as a proud American citizen working for Google, I can closely relate to the needs of the Latino community. This deep understanding has led me to become an advocate for digital inclusion. Knowing the transformative and disruptive power of the Internet in the world – and as an agent of knowledge, communication, and reform – it is evident that digital access is key in today’s society. Unfortunately, the Latino community in the United States, is still not connected.  According to Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), only 52 % of Latino households are connected to the internet at home, making them much less likely to use broadband than Blacks (71%), Asians (75%), and Whites (81%). These figures are not only shocking, but they are a reflection of the depth of the inequalities that exist in our communities, and a call to action.

Google has been hard at work in understanding and addressing the complexities brought on by the digital divide. We are a stakeholder in helping communities to bridge the digital divide, and we need strong local partners who are closest to the people impacted to deliver smart and sustainable solutions.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. A key component of realizing that mission involved bridging the digital divide in our own communities. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Latino Community Foundation to provide funds, Chromebooks and trainings to teach the Latinos how to leverage the web for success.

Googlers (Hispanic Resource Employee Group) also marked Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting LCF Family Health+Tech Day for the past two years where we invited members of the local Latino community to spend an afternoon at Google learning how to eat healthy, stay active, and leverage technology for health and learning. But our commitment to the Hispanic community in bridging the digital divide does not end in the Bay Area, we have also been piloting trainings and device donations at other locations around the state, and around the country.

Access to the web has had a profound impact in my own life. It has helped shape my knowledge, ideas, and my passions. It has also opened doors to new opportunities I otherwise would not have had access to. It is my hope that with efforts of companies like Google and organizations like the Latino Community Foundation we will fully connect everyone, everywhere to the power of the web. Join us today.


Poverty data does not surprise us – and that’s a bad thing.

Poverty data does not surprise us–and that’s a bad thing. State surplus this year provides an opportunity to do something about this once and for all.
Raquel F. Donoso

For me fighting poverty is personal. I am a product of programs that provided my family the opportunity to buy a home, me the ability to receive a first-class public university education, and my son the opportunity to attend world class childcare. That is why I have dedicated my life to ensuring every family has the same chance.

The California Budget Project (CBP) released data this week that looks at poverty in California 50 years since the War on Poverty began. While there has been progress, it is clear that many families experienced big setbacks during the recession which still remain to this day. Last year, nearly 16 percent of Californians (6 million) lived in poverty. The child poverty rate is even higher, with 22.5 percent of the state’s children (2.1 million) living in families with incomes below the federal poverty line,which is an income of $18,498 for a family of three with two children. 1 in 3 of these children is Latino.

poverty map
What is more troubling is the variation of poverty rates in California. As the map below shows, counties like Santa Clara, Marin, and San Mateo have poverty rates below 10%, while Fresno, Tulare, Imperial have poverty rates at 20%-25%. This means in Fresno 1 in 4 people live below the poverty line, which is far below what many experts believe is sufficient to support a family in California and much of the U.S. In addition to this, for many families the weak labor market and financial devastation created by the Great Recession is not a thing of the past.

At the Latino Community Foundation, this information is not surprising. We ask our partners, Latino-based organizations funded by LCF, information on the family income of those they serve. On average, the majority of the responses show that family incomes are between $20,000-$25,000 a year for a family of four. Much more needs to be done to change this reality. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because everyone does better when all boats are lifted. Children born into families that make more money do better – they do better in school, they have better health indicators, and overall add infinitely more to the prosperity of a society.

The CBP report does acknowledge that the War on Poverty programs, such as food stamps and cash aid, did make an impact in reducing poverty. Social policies aimed at tackling poverty work, but we can do better. California needs its own War on Poverty platform that moves policies forward based on current and future demographics and the needs of all residents in the state. As a single mother that received assistance during college I know first-hand that work training programs focus all too often on jobs with little or no upward mobility and assistance is tied to arcane rules.

I know there are efforts throughout the State to reduce poverty and LCF partners with many organizations to help support this mission. California is set to have the biggest surplus in more than a decade. At a recent budget briefing it seemed that the discussions in Sacramento were leaning to conservative actions rather than reinstating safety-net programs that have been devastated by budget cuts over the years and contributed to growing inequality and increased poverty.

With the 12th largest economy in the world it is critical that we come together and do something to address the chronic poverty we see in so many communities throughout California. Actions can be taken, with little funds, to bring programs that fight poverty into the 21st century and make them work better for a new wave of California residents and families. However, to really change the current state of affairs and build a more prosperous State that does not allow any child to go to be bed hungry – will require greater, more effective investments and leadership.

To read more about the history of the war on poverty: click here