In 2007, the Latino Community Foundation (LCF) announced the launch of an unprecedented commitment to invest $1 million over a four year period to support the development of Latino children and youth – The LCF Children and Youth Initiative was born. The success of the Initiative went far beyond grant dollars. Together, we collectively increased Latino access to quality early education, reduced unplanned teen pregnancies, and engaged Latino parents in their children’s education.
It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we share the Final Children and Youth Initiative (CYI) Evaluation Report. Click on this LINK to read the full report.
LCF far exceeded its own ambitious goals and was able to leverage additional critical funding for its Health and Technology initiatives. Since 2008, LCF has raised and invested a total of $2.6M in more than 40 Latino-based organizations that are making a big difference in the Latino community.
Here are some reflections and key lessons from the Children and Youth Initiative:
Latino-based organizations face tremendous challenges and opportunities in serving their communities. Working with a primarily immigrant population means that organizations require the necessary cultural competency and staff capacity to oftentimes service whole families with multiple and complex needs. Effective outreach also requires culturally appropriate strategies, particularly because Latinos remain the largest digitally unconnected ethnic group in California. Organizations must spend considerable resources to find trusted staff with the professional and linguistic competency needed to serve and empower the Latino community.
Despite the scope of the challenges that Latino-based organizations face, they are resilient, adaptive, and continue to serve as anchors in their communities. Even in the hardest of times, Latino-based organizations continue to function and meet the multifaceted needs of the growing population. CYI Community Partners did not see themselves simply as service providers; they saw themselves as vital institutions that promote a culture of self-efficacy in their communities. These organizations serve as hubs for sharing resources, developing community leaders, and promoting cultural strengths and solutions.
- Increase Transparency and Partnership: It is important for funders and organizations to work together to better understand how funded work is a part of the foundations theory of change.
- Invest in Capacity-Building: Capacity-building is not a one-size fits all model and requires significant time and resources. LCF believes that community and identity-based funders are important vehicles for this work and that grants coupled with additional learning support yields much greater impact.
- Work with the Community, Adapt and Remain Flexible: It is very important for funders to remain in dialogue with community leaders, include them in planning, execution, and responding to emerging needs.
Although the Children and Youth Initiative is now complete, our work is not finished. Today, the Children and Youth Program is and will continue to be the cornerstone of LCF’s grant-making strategy, alongside Health, Technology, and Civic Engagement. In addition to granting financial resources, LCF has launched the California Latino Agenda, which convenes a community of change makers to address issues and lead solutions for change.
We are continuously inspired by the Latino community’s tremendous assets, optimism, and a deep desire to succeed. By working together and reaching beyond sectors, we are making a big difference for the growing Latino community in California.
Join us as we build a better future. Read the report HERE.