I am a philanthropist. My mom is a philanthropist. My friends are philanthropists. We are the future of philanthropy.
I come from a generous family that always gave back to the community. We gave every Sunday to church, we gave to school, we gave to causes, we donated our time, and we opened our home to families immigrating to this country. Our family embodied the core of what philanthropy is; even though I did not hear that word until college, it was not a word that was uttered in our home.
Today, I will speak at the Council on Foundations Community Foundation Conference in San Diego on a panel titled, “Rising Poverty and Wealth Inequality: Will Only the 1% Drive the Future of Philanthropy?” My answer is….not if the Latino Community Foundation has anything to do about it. I will discuss the new generation of philanthropists- younger, more diverse, and hungry to build a community that wants to better this world. I will also address the need to invest more in the process of democratizing philanthropy, making it more accessible and inclusive.
At LCF see this happening every day.
- In 2013 almost 20 women came together to form the LCF Latina Giving Circle. They individually donated funds and collectively made grants to empower Latino families through education, jobs, and leadership development.
- Right after the President of the United States announced a way for undocumented students to remain in this country to work and study, LCF came together with Latino employee groups of major companies to raise money for these students. Through social networks and online outreach we raised $10,000 to assist students with legal and application fees. Many have now been granted Deferred Action and have brand new opportunities open to them.
- Today we see thousands giving to aid the victims of the devastating hurricanes that have hit Acapulco in recent days.
Yes, giving by the 1% in large numbers makes the news day in and day out, and this investment is critical. There is also power in numbers—thousands can give a little and make just as a big of an impact. We know this to be true.
At the Latino Community Foundation our mission is to build a better future by investing in Latino communities. Those investments come from a growing community of Latino philanthropists who want to be a part of changing their communities for the better.
As the Chair of the National Latino Funds Alliance (NLFA) I know that the work to make philanthropy more diverse and inclusive is happening all over the US. The dozen Latino funds that are NLFA have engaged tens of thousands of Latinos to give back to their communities, investing millions in local solutions to challenging problems.
I sense that we are now at a tipping point-more Latinos are going to college than ever before, putting them in a new socio-economic reality and position to do more to help other families. As California, and the nation, continues to grow and diversify it is the voices of these philanthropists that have the potential to turn the tide in favor of a society that is more equitable and representative of all. It is these philanthropists that will build the social fabric of our communities.