CARMEN CASTELLANO C O - F OU N DE R & P R E S I D E N T, CASTE LLAN O FA M I LY F O U N DAT I O N
S PHOTO: GEORGE DELGADO
SOME OF US DREAM ABOUT WHAT WE WOULD DO if we won
Castellano was born and raised in Watsonville, California. the lottery—the toys we would buy and vacations we would Her parents were business owners, and they instilled in her take. But when Carmen Castellano and her husthe philosophy of giving back. “My dad was very genORGANIZATIONS band, Alcario, won the California Super Plus Loterous at heart … he could not see a person in need American GI tery jackpot in 2001, they took a different route, and not reach out to help them,” she recalls. “He Forum Scholarship creating a family foundation to give back to their would even give away his jackets. He would come Foundation community. home without a jacket and say, ‘Someone needed a American jacket, and so I gave it away.’” Even before they won, Castellano and her husLeadership Forum band were longtime givers. They always donated She has many such stories: her father would invite Class XX what they could to organizations in their San Jose hungry families for dinner, her grandparents raised Castellano Family community and were active volunteers at local nontwo children in need as sons of their own, and so Foundation profits. “When we won the lottery, my light-bulb on. Having grown up in this environment, giving Chicana/Latina moment was: ‘Oh my God, we can take this to a became second nature to her. Foundation whole other level!’” recalls Castellano, noting that When she was 20, an ambitious Castellano joined Latina Coalition of she took out a pad of paper and started to write out the board of Junior Ventures in her hometown. Now, Silicon Valley a list of organizations they could give to. she’s in her 70s and the mother of three grown chilLatina Leadership Over the years, the Castellano Family Foundation dren, and she isn’t slowing down. Castellano is a memNetwork of California Community has awarded grants to more than 140 organizations, ber of the board of directors for the National AssociColleges totaling more than $3.5 million. “We put a brown ation of Latino Arts and Culture, the Latina Coalition of Latino Community face in the field of philanthropy, [where it was othSilicon Valley, and the steering committee for the Santa Foundation erwise] almost nonexistent,” Castellano says of her Clara County Office of Education Artspiration. She is a Los Lupeños de foundation. “That is the big give: being visual and Fellow of the American Leadership Forum Class XX and San José being present.” has served on the boards of the San Francisco-based National Assn. of The foundation has gained great credibility Latino Community Foundation, the Mexican cultural Latino Arts and during its more than 12 years in operation, which organization Los Lupeños de San José, the Chicana/ Culture Castellano sees as another gift in itself. “I think one Latina Foundation, the Latina Leadership Network of Quadre Music of the other gifts we give to the community is that California Community Colleges, Quadre Music Group, Group we legitimize grassroots organizations,” she explains. and the American GI Forum Scholarship Foundation. Santa Clara County “They can say, ‘We’ve gotten the stamp of approval Reflecting on the generous nature of her parents Office of Education Artspiration from the Castellano Family Foundation,’ and it helps and extended family, Castellano wonders, “How do you learn, if not by example?” give them leverage in seeking other funds.” 23
Hispanics in Philanthropy celebrates its 30th anniversary by honoring 30 amazing Latino leaders who give back.