Now More Than Ever


14980771_10154522653034003_1724831710883059396_nAmerica has a new President-elect.

Today, more than ever, we must hold fast to our convictions and remain steady in our commitment to organize our communities. We must stand stronger and fight even harder for justice. The outcome of this election does not change who we are as a people. It does confirm how critically important our collective work is and the urgency by which we must act.

The Latino Community Foundation is proud to have been on the ground getting out the vote. Our organizing efforts, combined with hundreds of remarkable community partners, must and will continue. We will not grow weary in advancing the values of this great country and the founding principles of equality. LCF exists to build the power of the Latino community and that work will continue in full force.

I am also reminded this afternoon of the glimmers of hope all across America. Now is the time for us to fan these flames of HOPE.

  • California elected the first African-American woman to the Senate – Attorney General Kamala Harris
  • New York elected the first formerly undocumented Dominican-American man to the Senate – Adriano Espaillat
  • Nevada elected the first Latina Senator – Catherine Cortez Masto
  • Stockton, California elected its first African-American mayor – Michael Tubbs
  • Oregon elected the first openly LGBT Governor – Kate Brown
  • Florida elected the first Vietnamese-American woman to Congress – Stephanie Murphy

The strength of our country is reflected in the diversity of our views and our leaders. And, our democracy depends on the continued participation of ALL of us. Let’s make a commitment to each other to stay politically and civically engaged.

Our work is far from over. We will move forward. Together.

Jacqueline and the Latino Community Foundation


The Latino Dinner Table: Why aren’t we talking politics?


By: Lacy Maria Serros

Imagine eating dinner with new friends, drinking a glass of red wine and being asked, “so, what’s going on with your people in America?” I was living abroad in Europe and was the only American, and the only one with Latino heritage. I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into being the spokesperson for all things American or Latino.

Politics, however, kept surfacing in one way or another – what is it about the dinner table and politics?

Whenever the comparisons of European countries to the U.S. would start, I couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed. The criticism would typically start in generalizations, but ultimately, it was about the most pressing and highly publicized issues facing the U.S. – racism, gun violence, police brutality, to name a few.

However, the conversation was always rooted in a question about how the U.S. is going to elect its next president and continue to be an economic leader globally. The underpinning of this elicit question was if the American people would actually vote.

Anytime that I was challenged with this, I shared personal experiences about how I started organizing by walking door-to-door registering Latinos to vote or how in one of my previous roles as a funder I collaboratively provided resources to large national groups that conduct voter protection activities (i.e. bilingual poll monitors).

But, the theme of these conversations is that America has a problem with race, and that we as a people do not know or care to know anything about world affairs, let alone about our own country. To be honest, there were days when I didn’t want to return to the U.S. because of the growing racial tensions, the threat of and actual deaths in Black and Latino communities, and the ensuing apathy of people saying that they weren’t going to vote.

However, as I lamented over how the U.S. was being portrayed at European dinner tables and through the media, community organizations, outspoken celebrities, and other justice leaders across this country were mobilizing people to get and remain active in our democracy. The most prominent example is that of the Black Lives Matter movement, its growing base of supporters and its influence on America’s conversation about race.

Whether we want to admit it, the Latino discourse is not nearly as organized. That is not to say that our community isn’t having difficult conversations about race, or that there aren’t some serious efforts and successes to organize, empower and activate social change within the diverse Latino communities across the country. But, we need to do more.

Maybe we need to bring politics to the Latino dinner table. Maybe we aren’t talking enough about the issues, solutions and the power of our democracy.

We’re still referred to as the “Sleeping Giant,” yet there are people who say we might be finally “awakened” if we as a voting bloc do our job. In fact, Latinos are the largest ethnic or racial demographic in the U.S. and by default we have the capacity to choose the next president through our vote and our ability to mobilize the vote of our family, friends and community members in California and other states.

The urgency to build our political power, ensure our unique needs are heard, and activate the nation’s Latino electorate is ever pressing. It’s important to vote because the fact remains that those in power in this country have influence over all of our livelihoods. Regardless of your position, apathy does not negate the fact that the next U.S. President will have deciding power and great social and cultural influence of our country…and its relation to others.

As we get closer to November 8, groups like the Latino Community Foundation, Voto Latino, The Dolores Huerta Foundation, and others will work to register and get Latinos to participate civically in local politics and the presidential election. People will always want to know where you come from – show them by voting! 

To join Lacy in voting this election, register to vote online by going to or text LATINOS to 384-387 to register! It only takes a few minutes.

About Lacy Maria Serros

Lacy is a senior advisor and strategist with 15 years of experience in social justice movement building nationally. Originally from the Central Valley, California,  Lacy began her career organizing with the United Farm Workers of California. She currently lives in New York, where she received her Masters in Public Administration, and is working on racial justice and human rights efforts.

We have to engage — we have to fight — we have to vote!


By: Carmela Castellano, President and CEO of the California Primary Care Association

I grew up with a strong sense of social justice and civic duty. As a young Latina, I knew that I would stand up for my rights my entire life. I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for someone else to fight for me.

My mom set a great example. As Executive Secretary at San Jose City College, she knew the decisions of the board of trustees had a great impact on the college’s employees, its students, and the community. She couldn’t afford to make big campaign contributions like some, but she walked precincts, made phone calls and put her energy behind the candidates she supported. Seeing my mom involved in the political process from an early age is one of the reasons I am such a passionate advocate today. Like my mom, I fight for the causes I support.

One of them is my concern for the people who want to vote but can’t. All across the country there are processes that are causing the exclusion of voters —particularly Black and Latino voters—, such as the absurdly strict voter identification laws adopted in some states. These laws are a stain on our democratic process and an unfortunate violation of people’s civil rights.

Thankfully, California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla has taken significant steps to make the voting process easier and more welcoming to all Californians:

  • He has championed a new online voter registration process. You can visit to register, and complete the process in a couple of minutes. All you need are the last four digits of your social security number and your driver’s license number. You can also go to LCF’s site:
  • He has supported a new vote-by-mail law. Your mail-in-vote will now be counted if it’s post-marked on or before Election Day. In past elections mail-in ballots had a different deadline, resulting in tens of thousands of ballots being thrown out. Now, everyone has the same deadline to vote — Election Day.
  • He has sponsored the new Motor Voter law. This progressive law —only the second of its kind in the country— will register to vote every eligible California citizen who goes to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to get a driver’s license or renew one. In its first year of operation, experts’ forecast that the new Motor Voter law will add two million new voters to the election rolls. Many will come from low-income families who are young and Latino.

Secretary Padilla has shown tremendous leadership by advancing the voting rights of millions of Californians, especially those who are most likely to be marginalized by the process.

Another cause I’m passionate about is the effort that my own constituency —community health centers — is making in getting their communities registered to vote. Health centers already follow federal requirements to offer voter registration when enrolling patients into the Medi-Cal and Covered California Programs. Additionally — in partnership with Community Health Vote and NonProfit Vote—, CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates launched a campaign on September 27, National Voter Registration Day, which runs through the last day to register before the general election, October 24. Through this campaign we hope to register thousands of voters who will advance the issues important to our communities.

Health centers are uniquely positioned to support efforts to increase voter registration and voter turnout, because they are familiar and trusted sources of care in their communities, which also provide additional supportive services, education, and outreach to their patients —often in a language other than English.

These are all exciting innovations that empower disenfranchised communities like those I have dedicated my life to serving. Unlike other states, California is breaking down barriers to voting so that everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard. Like my mom, we have to stand up and do our part to advance the causes of justice that are so important to our community.

We have to engage — we have to fight — we have to vote!

It is our civic duty.

To follow Carmela Castellano’s work – 

If you aren’t registered, please do it before the October 24th deadline. It takes 2 minutes and you can do it here:

Yo Voy A Voter campaign image

Hispanic Heritage Month of Action


Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month with a Month of Action

We come from different countries. Speak different languages. But we are all Latino. Diverse people united by our values, our stories and our struggles. This month, we come together as one.

Will you honor Hispanic Heritage Month by taking action with LCF? Join our #YoVoyaVotar Campaign and/or be part of a Movement of Latino Philanthropists. 

GOTV: Yo Voy A Votar ¿Y Tú? Campaign Only 17% of California’s 7 million eligible Latinos are likely to vote, a statistic that is imperative to change. LCF has launched this multi-media and grassroots campaign to reach 1 million Latinos and to register 10,000 new Latino voters.

Join our Movement of Latino Philanthropists: LCF is defining a culture of philanthropy that is uniquely Latino, using the values of the community to make a difference like never before. LCF invites you to join our movement! Share your values of generosity during this month of action.

As we honor our ancestors’ leadership during Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s follow in their footsteps.Take action with LCF – empower Latinos and yourself.

Yo Voy A Voter campaign image

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!

Embracing the transformation to become a Data-Driven organization

In a philanthropic world increasingly driven by outcomes and impact, nonprofits are on the lookout for new ways to become data-driven organizations. A data-driven organization transforms data into information and knowledge in order to inform and shape key business decisions. This organizational capacity increases the ability to succeed in a rapidly changing environment.

Becoming a data-driven organization is a significant cultural and organizational shift. It is not just a simple change, it is a full transformation. The process of transforming an organization is not an easy task – it will take a lot of time and effort and will create a lot of growing pains during the process.

There are multiple reasons why nonprofits must embrace transformation. For Canal Alliance, the most important reasons to transform came from the desire to fulfill our mission, stay competitive with new and current funding, and allocate our resources wisely.

One of the main challenges that non-profits face during the process is the complexity of managing large amounts of data. To address this challenge, Canal Alliance developed a customized database, built in Salesforce, to collect, monitor, and analyze data in real time. Although we have not completed the full process of transformation, we have already been able to see some positive results. Here are some examples:

Using data to increase individual giving
Individual giving plays a crucial role in the sustainability of our organization. We have strengthened our story with data to show who our clients are, where these clients are coming from and their progress towards goals. From 2011 to 2012, individual donations have increased by 31%.

• Using data to educate funders
Our clients are people coming from remote cities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico. Most of them have less than a high school education, limited Spanish literacy and very limited English literacy. The demographic data that we collected has allowed us to educate funders about the challenges facing today’s immigrant population and how our strategies are designed to help overcome them. As a result, we have been able to maintain our extensive portfolio of foundations year to year.

• Using data to improve our programs
We are not just collecting data for reporting or fundraising purposes; we are also using data to strengthen our programs. We designed and implemented a performance measurement system to frequently monitor client progress, enabling us to identify students’ turning points in real time to connect the appropriate service and advocacy to each student. As a result, our Youth Program has increased the number of students graduating from high school and going on to higher education.

Transformation brings multiple benefits, but it is hard to go through, and is easily discouraging. Transformation is not an event with an exact start and stop point; it’s a process which requires patience, persistence, and a strong commitment for improvement.

At the end of the day, the main beneficiaries of transformation are not foundations, employees, partner agencies, individual donors, or volunteers. Those who really benefit from an efficient and effective organization are the clients we serve. Being data-driven helps us to better achieve positive outcomes in their lives.

Canal Alliance is a 30 year old, multi-service organization located in Marin County, which helps low-income, Spanish-speaking immigrants acquire the tools they need to thrive. The organization annually reaches more than 3,000 young people, families and individuals who face multiple challenges. By effectively collaborating with more thank 30 other agencies and 400 volunteers, Canal Alliance delivers education services, improves access to community resources, offers immigration legal services, emergency food, and provides business training and job-seeking support. As a result, vulnerable immigrants, who fled their home countries to escape poverty and/or persecution, gain the tools they need to successfully move from crisis to stability and finally to thriving.

Author: Omar Carrera, Associate Director, Canal Alliance

We did it

by Raquel Donoso

This November Latinos went out to vote in record numbers. Latinos represented 10 percent of the U.S. voting electorate, double what it was in 1996. The numbers rose to more than 12 million, up from 11.4 million Latinos that voted in the last election.

What the country saw this month is that the United States electorate is beginning to mirror the immense diversity of the country-not just with regards to race/ethnicity but also in terms of age, gender, and sexual orientation. The United States is at an exciting and critical time. By 2050, the Hispanic population is expected to nearly double, accounting for as much as 29 percent of the total population. Each month, 50,000 Latinos turn 18 and are eligible to vote.

What does this mean moving forward?  What does it mean for California?

California has already begun to experience the national demographic shifts. For the past decade Latinos, because of the growing numbers, have become critical contributors to winning margins of victory.

Latinos will continue to make an important impact in the voting booth.  The question then becomes how will this translate into policy changes to improve economic and education outcomes for Latino families in this state?

After the election there have been countless articles and discussions about what the President will do on immigration reform given that it is an important issue for Latino voters.

Yes, it is an important issue for the Latino community and one that rightfully should, and I predict will, be an important element of President Obama’s second term.

Yet, in every poll and interview done with Latino residents immigration is not the only issue discussed.  The Latino vote cannot be distilled into one issue.  Latino voters care about education, the economy, health care, the deficit, and the gap between rich and poor.

In California we need to focus on rebuilding our public education system to once again be the envy of the nation, to ensuring all our children have access to 21st century learning tools, to increasing economic security for working families that make too little to attain the American Dream.

It is possible.

We are not called upon to be civically engaged every two or four years. Every day LCF works with organizations that are transforming communities and empowering Latino parents and families to speak up, to make their voices heard. In Sacramento, on local school boards, elected officials need to hear from their constituents – they need to know what the community wants and to be held accountable for their actions.

This is the vision for the future of California, what is possible when people come together for the good of communities to shape their future.

In 2013, LCF will be hosting its first statewide conference in Sacramento. After decades of investing in communities it is time for us all to come together – community leaders, elected and appointed officials, the business community, and philanthropists – and forge a path to prosperity in this state.  Identify the issues where a critical mass can have an impact, raise up the stories and voices of those struggling, and invest in the future of California. Please stay tuned for more information on our upcoming conference.