HIPGivers 31 PORTRAITS OF LATINO GIVING
Hispanics in Philanthropy
Hispanics in Philanthropy is a transnational organization whose mission is to: Strengthen Latino communities by increasing social investments in the Latino and Latin American civil sector. Increase Latino participation and leadership throughout the field of philanthropy. Foster policy change to enhance equity and inclusiveness.
“THE 31 HIPGIVERS FEATURED IN THIS BOOK ARE COLLECTIVELY ALTERING THE LANDSCAPE FOR OUR COUNTRY. THEY ARE PUSHING THE ENVELOPE BY ASKING FOR MORE — MORE CONSIDERATION, MORE AWARENESS, MORE COMPASSION, MORE ACTION, MORE GIVING.”
DEAR PARTNERS AND FRIENDS,
ur stories, as givers of philanthropic dollars,
economic prosperity, intellectual and cultural capital, and spiritual values, are as unique and diverse as any community. This special publication seeks to showcase some of the ways in which Latinos give. For the second year in a row, Hispanics in Philanthropy is working to more accurately portray Latinos as the givers that we are. The 2015 cohort of Latino HIPGivers are as diverse as they are generous. In the following pages you will find philanthropists, as well as writers, musicians, artists, technology experts, and a nobel-prize winner. Some give their time by serving on foundation and nonprofit boards or working tirelessly as directors and presidents of organizations. Others give their talent through music, art, books, or, in one case, hand-made artisanal chocolates. They all give their treasure by committing to their work, and by understanding that meaningful change and advocacy stem most deeply from dedication and true generosity. They are HIPGivers in the most authentic sense.
Nelson I. Colรณn Chair, Hispanics in Philanthropy
As the Latino population in the United States continues to grow, it is important now more than ever, to promote a narrative on Latinos as givers. Individually and as a group, we are deeply committed to our networks and to our communities. We give through foundations to our families, to our friends, and to our personal and professional neighbors. This inherent mindset makes investing in Latino focused philanthropy and in Latinoserving organizations highly beneficial for all. There is no denying that investing in the Latino community yields high returns. As the challenges around immigration and unaccompanied children crossing the border from Mexico and Central America become more and more critical, it is our privilege to not only support organizations that are making significant strides in the field, but also to shine a light on the accomplishments of the Latino community as a whole.
Diana Campoamor President, Hispanics in Philanthropy
The 31 HIPGivers featured in this book are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more-more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more GIVING. It is an honor to honor them. Our warmest agradecimiento to all HIPGivers, the ones we honor in this issue and the many others throughout the Americas. 3
BOARD OF DIRECTORS – OFFICERS – Nelson I. Colón CHAIR
President, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico Diana Campoamor PRESIDENT
Hispanics in Philanthropy Joyce Lee TREASURER
Chief Financial Officer, Marguerite Casey Foundation Sandra L. Vargas SECRETARY
President and CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation – DIRECTORS – Miguel Bustos Senior Vice President Community Relations and Outreach Regional Director
Wells Fargo Rui Mesquita Cordeiro Director of Latin America and Caribbean Programs
W.K. Kellogg Foundation Rafael Cortés Dapena President
Fundación Ángel Ramos Marcus R. Escobedo Program Officer
The John A. Hartford Foundation Shelly Esque Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs
Intel Corporation 4
Danielle Gonzales Senior Policy Officer
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation John Govea Senior Program Officer
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Ronald B. Richard President and CEO
Cleveland Foundation Mary Skelton Roberts Senior Program Officer
Barr Foundation Aida Rodriguez Chair and Professor of Professional Practice, Management
Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy Beatriz Maria Solís Director, Healthy Communities, South Region
The California Endowment Paul Spivey Search Consultant
Phillips Oppenheim – EMERITUS MEMBERS – Elisa Arévalo Vice President and Latino Remittance Acquisition Marketing Manager
Wells Fargo Bank Herman Gallegos Retired Corporate and Foundation Director
Luz Vega-Marquis President
Marguerite Casey Foundation
TABLE OF CONTENTS 04
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALEJANDRO D’ACOSTA AND CLAUDIA TURRENT
LAURA I. GÓMEZ
LATINO COMMUNITY FOUNDATION CHAIR
CO-FOUNDER LATINO LEGACY FUND
NUESTRO FUTURO CO-CHAIR
THE BONTÁ GROUP PRESIDENT AND CEO
EAST LA COMMUNITY CORP. PRESIDENT
SEMILLAS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE PRESIDENT
PRESENTE.ORG EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
COMMUNITY FOUNDATION SANTA CRUZ COUNTY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
MT. SINAI ADOLESCENT HEALTH CENTER DIRECTOR
MUSICIAN, COMPOSER AND INDIGENOUS ADVOCATE
AUTHOR AND ACTIVIST
THE TOMORROW FUND FOR HISPANIC STUDENTS FOUNDER
MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR/FOUNDER OF THE ADELANTE MOVEMENT FOUNDER
JORGE ENRIQUE GONZÁLEZ-PACHECO
TOMÁS A. MAGAÑA
AMELIA MORÁN CEJA
MARKOS MOULITSAS ZÚNIGA
CLOTILDE PEREZ-BODE DEDECKER
THE RT. REV. NEDI RIVERA
HISPANICS IN PHILANTHROPY STAFF
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF CASA DE CHOCOLATES, INC.
SEATTLE LATINO FILM FESTIVAL FOUNDER FACES FOR THE FUTURE COALITION’S FOUNDING DIRECTOR
MFS INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT INVESTMENT OFFICER
NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING CHEMIST
PRESIDENT CEJA VINEYARDS
DAILY KOS FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER
MIAMI DADE COLLEGE PRESIDENT
ANDRUS FAMILY FUND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR GREATER BUFFALO PRESIDENT AND CEO
KNIGHT FOUNDATION COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS DIRECTOR
FALCONDO FOUNDATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
ARTIST AND CULTURE STRIKE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
PBS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR STATION SERVICES
CDTECH PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
CHAIR Nelson I. Colón
PRESIDENT Diana Campoamor – PROJECT MANAGEMENT –
EVALUATION AND LEARNING COORDINATOR Erin Ginder-Shaw
COPY EDITOR Cheryl Brownstein-Santiago
CHIEF OF STAFF Sally Kuhlman
U.S. AND TRANSNATIONAL PROGRAMS VICE PRESIDENT Gracia Goya – CORRESPONDENTS –
PROGRAM ASSISTANT Marcela Buzo
COORDINATOR FOR THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT Jenna Carlsson
TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR John Yap
HIP MEXICO FELLOW Dana Preston
HIPGIVE FELLOW Miguel Oropeza De Cortéz-Caballero – WRITERS – Alex Parker-Guerrero Andy Frias Camila Guiza-Chavez Reavey Fike hiponline.org
â€œWhether through government, business or philanthropy, or individual acts of kindness, everyone can do their part.â€?
AIDA ALVAREZ LATINO COMMUNITY FOUNDATION CHAIR
Aida Alvarez has spent a lifetime giving back to her community and serving as a role model for Latinas at the highest levels of the U.S. business, government and civil sectors.
“There is no better inspiration than observing the positive impact a person can have on others by giving of her time, her talents and her treasure,” Alvarez said. Alvarez has excelled in wearing many hats and, true to her words, in each one she has given generously of her time, her talent, and her treasure. In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Alvarez to be the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), making her the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Cabinet. As SBA administrator, she presided over record activity: $61.5 billion in guaranteed loans and venture capital financing over a four-year period. SBA’s lending to women tripled. Lending to minorities doubled. “In business, I have stressed the importance of inclusion and corporate social responsibility,” Alvarez said. Alvarez started out with a career in journalism. She gained great recognition for her work, earning a Front Page award for journalistic excellence while at the New York Post. She also earned an Emmy nomination and an Associated Press award for her series on the war in El Salvador entitled, “The Morazan Diaries.” Prior to her federal service, Alvarez was a Vice President in Public Finance at The First Boston Corp. and Bear Stearns. She was also Vice President for Public Affairs at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. Before the SBA, Alvarez was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the first Director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the financial regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A Harvard graduate, Alvarez also holds honorary doctorates from Bethany College, Iona College, Mercy College and the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. In 2000, Alvarez was elected to serve on the Harvard Board of Overseers. She currently sits on the boards of Walmart, Union Bank and Progress Financial Corp. Previously, she was on the board of PacifiCare, now part of United Health. In the nonprofit sector, Alvarez chairs the Latino Community Foundation, serves on the board of the San Francisco Symphony, and is a Commissioner for the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. “Whether through government, business or philanthropy, or individual acts of kindness, everyone can do their part,” Alvarez said.
â€œ [Latino philanthropy must create] new philanthropic resources, and new ways to tackle complex problems in our communities.â€?
AIXA BEAUCHAMP CO-FOUNDER LATINO LEGACY FUND
ixa Beauchamp’s idea of philanthropy is creating opportunities for others. To Beauchamp, this means that every child should have a quality education and an equal opportunity for success.
She kept this philosophy at heart as she developed her professional career of more than 20 years in philanthropy, beginning as a program officer at the New York Community Trust, and later developing a thriving philanthropic consultant business. Most recently, Beauchamp became a proud co-founder of the Boston Foundation’s Latino Legacy Fund, the first Latino-focused fund in the Greater Boston area. With the Latino Legacy Fund, she said that she aims to use a permanent endowment to strengthen and advance the socio-economic status and leadership capacity of the Latino community in Boston, and to contribute to the region’s civic vitality. Beauchamp believes that strategic, organized Latino philanthropy can make a difference in creating “new philanthropic resources, and new ways to tackle complex problems in our communities.” As a consultant, Beauchamp has facilitated dialogues to advance funder relations in diverse communities, and promoted sustained, strategic philanthropy among African American, Latino, and Asian American donors. She has worked with groups such as the Association of Community Trusts; the Coalition for New Philanthropy; the Rockefeller Foundation; Puerto Rico Community Foundation; the Barr Foundation; the Hispanic Federation, and Hispanics in Philanthropy. Additionally, Beauchamp sits on the grantmaking committee of The Hestia Fund, and on the boards of The Philanthropy Connections, Board of Overseers at Children’s Hospital, and The BASE, a program for inner city youth. She first learned the value of strategic investment in the community from her father. A native New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent, she and her family did not have much, but her father, she recalled, would give his last dime to relatives and neighbors so their kids could buy books and supplies for school. “He did this because he believed strongly that education leveled the playing field, and decided that was the investment he was going to make in his neighborhood,” she said. Beauchamp firmly believes that, although there is a, “complexity of issues that are affecting our community,” we also have the, “ability to create the next generation of leaders. “That’s why we need to invest in our community,” she added.
“Latinos are incredibly generous.”
MARIA BECHILY NUESTRO FUTURO CO-CHAIR
Maria Bechily wants to know, will you join her? As founder of one of the first public relations agencies to tap into Chicago’s growing Latino market and leader of a variety of community-based organizations, Bechily understands the value of asking people to give. “Latinos are incredibly generous,” she said. “We give to our families, we give to neighbors, we give to friends. We send hundreds of millions of dollars to our home countries to build hospitals, roads, and parks.” The next step, and a quest that is very important to her, is inspiring Latinos to also give in their own communities. Maria Bechily’s career has been seasoned and vast. In addition to creating María Bechily Public Relations, from which she is now retired, she has also served on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks; the National Advisory Council on Women’s Educational Programs, and the White House Advisory Committee on Personnel. She won two Emmys for hosting shows on WSNS-TV, which is now part of the Univision network. She is also a lifetime trustee of the Goodman Theatre, and successfully promoted the expansion of its youth programs and the International Latino Festival. As founding Co-Chair of Nuestro Futuro, an initiative of the The Chicago Community Trust, she is also no stranger to fundraising, and she believes wholeheartedly in the power of collective philanthropy. A fundamental aspect of Bechily’s success is her stance on doing. “I care, how do I care?” she asks, “By being involved. Sometimes people complain to me about why doesn’t this or that event happen. I always say, why don’t you get involved? Do something about it.” It is this tenacity and drive to help people that has propelled her -- that and her parents. Bechily was born in Cuba where she lived with her family until age 12. Her house growing up was a safe space for people to gather and discuss the issues impacting their community. “The topic of social justice and working with those in great need was always part of my upbringing,” she said. “Not to take away from the needs of our home countries,” she said. “It takes outreach and education to help people understand that we need to take a look at what’s going on in our own communities to inspire involvement.” She believes in individual investments of time, talent and treasure to make us all better givers. “That’s how you build communities and ensure quality of life,” Bechily said. “Talk about it, provide opportunities, and ask.” In a nutshell, DO. 17
â€œ[I have] always had a sense of paying it forward. My parents ingrained the sense that we shared what we had.â€?
DIANA BONTÁ THE BONTÁ GROUP PRESIDENT AND CEO
iana Bontá has always been strongly committed to her community — locally and nationally. Her work has consistently been rooted in the fundamental health values and needs of those around her, and she has inspired a well-connected network of philanthropy to aid her work. “The demographic growth of the Latino population in the United States provides an opportunity for philanthropy to provide support for families in need,” she said during a 2012 interview for the Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) website. From her professional start as a registered nurse, Bontá has led a rich and storied career. She has worked as the President and Chief Executive Officer of The California Wellness Foundation; Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Health at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals; Director of the California Department of Health Services, Director of the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, and Deputy Executive Director, California and Los Angeles Regional Family Planning Council. Early in her career, she was Regional Administrator of Rural Health and was part of a state effort to establish rural community health centers for farm worker and Native American populations. She serves as a Board Member of the Archstone Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the private sector American States Water Board. She holds a doctorate in public health and a master of public health with an emphasis in population, family, and international health from UCLA. Bontá understands very clearly the impacts that philanthropy has on communities, and she intentionally dedicates her time and resources where they are most needed. Through Bontá’s eyes, as she stated in the 2012 HIP interview, “philanthropy can fund innovations and attempts to see what works best and evaluate whether it can be replicated in other communities.” Giving and philanthropy are not simply about individuals; collective action is equally important, she said. The most effective way of achieving positive results, she said, is to work together, “be open to understanding community needs and be open to new funding opportunities.” Bontá and her sister were born in New York City to a Chilean machinist and a Puerto Rican nurse’s aide. While she has worked with some of the most recognized and respected organizations in the country, she does not lose sight of her roots. Bontá has, “always had a sense of paying it forward. My parents ingrained the sense that we shared what we had.” For some, this sense of giving and fundamental philanthropy comes with experience and practice. For Bontá it boils down to her favorite quote from U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, who said, “There are no bystanders in life... Our humanity makes us each a part of something greater than ourselves.” 19
â€œBy pursuing meaningful work with authenticity and integrity, you will inspire others to follow your example, or at least make them take note of the importance of giving.â€?
MARIA CABILDO EAST LA COMMUNITY CORP. PRESIDENT
s a civic activist, Maria Cabildo knows how to latch onto dreams and blow life into them. As an urban planner by training and president of a nonprofit, she has specialized in creating opportunities while protecting the character of the largely Mexican-American neighborhood of Boyle Heights, gateway of East Los Angeles. Seeing a need for an organization to engage in public advocacy and community organizing on behalf of low-income residents, Cabildo and three others established the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) in 1995. It has since mobilized hundreds of neighbors for community planning and to fight the displacement of longtime residents. It has secured more than $155 million for community development and affordable housing. Cabildo sees herself as an herramienta, a tool that allows low-income eastside residents to unleash their potential and vision. “I take pride in leading [ELACC] with corazón and investing in leadership inside and outside the organization,” she said. Boyle Heights, an important Southern California Jewish center until World War II, shifted to become the heart of the growing Mexican-American community. But in the mid-20th century, it was broken up with the construction of five freeways. “For our community, the freeways meant the loss of an estimated 25 percent of our housing stock, the displacement of thousands, and environmental degradation,” Cabildo wrote in a zocalopublicsquare.org essay series funded by the California Community Foundation. “Today, the freeways remain my daily reminder of what happens when a community lacks power and decisions are made by people other than those that will be impacted.” Her father, Miguel Z. Cabildo, was a Mexican-born tailor, who altered the wardrobes of Hollywood stars from a Beverly Hills shop. She lives in East Los Angeles, where she was born. She says her father inspired her through his work ethic and his family and community commitments. And he taught her a big lesson. “You could give of yourself, you could give your time to make the community a better place, and you can have an impact, regardless of your economic means,” she recalled. Cabildo also came to realize that she was, in her own words, “able to pursue opportunities that have been unique and not readily available to many Latina/os.” She attended the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, in New Hampshire, earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York City and a UCLA master’s in urban planning. Cabildo also encourages others to give back to their own communities. “Allow yourself to pursue the work that is deeply meaningful to you. Do not make excuses for why you can’t do X, Y and Z,” she said. “By pursuing meaningful work with authenticity and integrity, you will inspire others to follow your example, or at least make them take note of the importance of giving.”
“Change isn’t easy, it isn’t fast, but it is possible.”
EDITH CALDERÓN SEMILLAS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE PRESIDENT
dith Calderón studied hard and worked even harder on her way to a successful career as a foundation philanthropist. But, it was the rich textile tradition of the indigenous women in her native Mexico that inspired her to help them weave a better life for themselves through her work as Board President of Semillas, Mexico’s pre-eminent women’s fund. She recalled that, as a youngster in Michoacan state, she shared her mother’s deep appreciation for indigenous textiles. “She taught me to value them, and that permitted me to appreciate the artisans’ work as an art,” she said. She didn’t forget as she pursued her education. Calderón holds an MBA and a master’s in human rights from the Universidad Iberoamericana, a specialization in finance from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and a degree in executive management from the Colegio de Graduados en Alta Dirección. She worked for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for six years, at Mexico’s Ministry of Finance for seven years, and for 10 years she was the Financial Director for a conglomerate of companies focused on recycling initiatives. In 1988, Calderón was able to transform her appreciation for the textile work and her commitment for gender equity and women’s rights into a project that economically empowered indigenous artisans in the state of Michoacán. Through capacity-building workshops in design and technique, the artisans improved the quality of their textiles, earned more income and were able to improve their quality of life. “Accompanying indigenous women during this process allowed them to recognize their own abilities and strengths as protagonists in the development of their communities,” she said. In 2004, she joined La Sociedad Mexicana Pro Derechos de la Mujer (Semillas), the only women’s fund in Mexico. It was founded in 1990 to provide resources to women’s organizations in Mexico. It provides capacity-building programs and grants in the areas of women and work, sexual and reproductive rights, reduction of gender-based violence, and human rights. Ten years after Calderón’s first project with indigenous artisans, the Semillas Board President is working on a similar initiative to market and sell high quality textiles. The profits are returned directly to the artisans and reinforce the notion that their work improves their lives and that of their families and communities. “I’ve seen that, when a woman is inspired and works with other women from her community, they can achieve important changes in a short period of time,” she said. “Change isn’t easy, it isn’t fast, but it is possible,” she added. 23
â€œGiving is fundamentally important to changing our current society.â€?
ARTURO CARMONA PRESENTE.ORG EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Arturo Carmona is a shining embodiment of the adage, “if you don’t like something, change it.” His dedicated body of work has spanned organizations, legislatures, and networks. Hispanic Magazine once honored him with the Hispanic Achievement Award as, “one of the most influential leaders in the country.” Since 2012, Carmona has been the Executive Director of Presente.org, the largest national Latino online engagement organization in the United States, and the title was a long time in the making. Carmona has over a decade’s worth of experience working with diverse communities in a variety of contexts. He is a writer, a political analyst, and a community spokesperson and organizer. He has worked with the California State Legislature, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and he was the founding Executive Director of the Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM). Throughout Carmona’s career his “quest has always been to ensure the maturation of the Latino community,” as he puts it, and many would agree that he is succeeding. Based on his personal and professional priorities, it comes as no surprise that, to Carmona, “giving is fundamentally important to changing our current society. Not enough is given today to efforts that address the root causes of the main challenges facing our communities,” he said, “and we need to expand that by sharing stories and the importance of the act of giving.” “My family has always been a very giving family,” he recalled. Both Carmona’s mother and father approach the world with a genuine sense of philanthropy for change. Carmona said that his father, “says we need to build a better, more equitable world that addresses issues like poverty and inequality.” For Carmona, who believes strongly in promoting fairness and justice, it’s all about creating sustainable pipelines for giving that can facilitate the type of structural changes needed for working families to progress. He, “wholeheartedly believes that in order to measurably expand Latino giving in the U.S., we must better understand giving patterns and practices and build on that in ways that better address the issues impacting our families in the U.S.” Latinos give far more than they receive, he said, and it’s time to encourage society as a whole to do the same. He said he has always been, “very hopeful that Latinos can be a positive force of change that creates a more just and equitable society by strengthening communities and neighborhoods.” Carmona’s work is rooted in the notion that nothing happens overnight, but that if we work together, change will come. His vision for the future is that of an economically self-reliant Latino community around a core of economic justice, civil rights, and expanded political power to effectuate positive change. 25
“Demonstrate by example, by volunteer ing. I see that as a philanthropic service, giving time, giving money… inviting other people to join you in contributing to organizations that you care about.”
CHRISTINA CUEVAS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION SANTA CRUZ COUNTY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
’m still learning,” Christina Cuevas says when asked about her development as a philanthropist. Rather than seeming overly modest or self-deprecating, Cuevas is simply acknowledging an important motivation in her becoming a philanthropic giver.
A former Program Officer at the Ford Foundation and Executive Director of Latino USA, Cuevas now serves as Program Director at the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. The learning process to which she alluded began long before she became a philanthropist. She began by working for a start-up in San Francisco that had a small contract to establish Instituto Familiar de la Raza, the county’s first out patient mental health center to provide bilingual, bicultural services to Latinos in the city. The director of the organization knew that this large undertaking would not be accomplished with county funds alone, so she tasked Cuevas with fundraising. Cuevas, feeling passionate about the project, immediately applied for a fellowship in philanthropy to learn how the sector operated, and through this application process was recommended for a job at the San Francisco Foundation. The experience of applying for the fellowship was “important for me to get involved with those people who saw the world the same way I did, [so we] could share experiences,” she recalled. That unexpected assignment from the director of the new center turned out to be the beginning of a meaningful and dedicated career in philanthropy. But it is her mother who gets the credit for her dedication to giving back to her community. “I had a single, working mom,” she said. “I don’t know how she did it, but she was able to devote a lot of time during her working years to be involved in different kinds of organizations. Once she stopped working. she was really active in fundraising and hosting events to raise money and collect goods for needy people in the community.” Cuevas wants to inspire others to give in their own communities. “Demonstrate by example, by volunteering,” she said in response to a question. “I see that as a philanthropic service, giving time, giving money… inviting other people to join you in contributing to organizations that you care about.” For Cuevas, taking her time, and learning about philanthropy has been equally as important as working in it. “I really value the experiences I had along the way,” she said, “to help me understand what was going on in the world, in the trenches, before I got to the other side of the table.” “I feel very privileged to be working in this field,” she added.
Photo - Josue Castro
“No matter the scale of my work, I cannot imagine any professional activity that does not contribute to the community.” – Alejandro D’Acosta
ALEJANDRO D’ACOSTA AND CLAUDIA TURRENT SOCIAL ARCHITECTS
lejandro D’Acosta and Claudia Turrent have a very special ability to look at blighted areas and see what could be. They also have the social consciousness and grasp of economic realities to understand not only how poverty gnaws at the human spirit but how to build hope with the careful planning and precise design that they depend on as true architects. Although they were born and raised in Mexico City, D’Acosta and Turrent lived for eight years in Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorest states. They began a program there to fight malnutrition and promote food availability as a basic human right. Their visits to very remote villages inspired them to measure, design, construct and fund buildings and donate the infrastructure to the communities, not only in Oaxaca but in neighboring Chiapas as well. With the help of scholars, students and other professionals, they erected a total of 16 buildings, including health facilities and cultural centers, for some of the poorest communities in Mexico. The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Technische Universität Berlin, known as TU Berlin, also collaborated in those efforts. For D’Acosta and Turrent, architecture should serve communities. They are particularly proud of the way in which their work reconciles architecture inspired by local traditions and needs, while using local materials with contemporary sustainability. The social architecture that accounts for the bulk of their work was spawned by their humanistic belief in working to make the world better. They also believe in immersing themselves in the communities that they have served. “No one knows more about our own environment than we do; the value does not come from outside,” they wrote in response to a question from Hispanics in Philanthropy. “We must first understand what we already know—act locally to be global.” D’Acosta recalled that, when he was little, his missionary parents worked with indigenous Otomi in a highly marginalized community of the Mezquital Valley in Hidalgo state. There he learned to see marginalization as an opportunity for human growth. “No matter the scale of my work, I cannot imagine any professional activity that does not contribute to the community,” he said. “We have learned more than what we have been able to help.” Turrent takes great pleasure in seeing buildings they designed be inhabited and enjoyed. “It inspires me to build spaces that make people smile or even laugh and contribute to a pleasant everyday existence,” she said. Over the past 25 years, the couple also has taught at UNAM and the Universidad Iberoamericana, among other institutions of higher learning. They live in Ensenada, in Baja California, where they have a successful family viticulture project.
â€œThere are so many ways to give and each should give according to their talents and means.â€?
DR. ANGELA DIAZ MT. SINAI ADOLESCENT HEALTH CENTER DIRECTOR
r. Angela Diaz, the Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center’s Director, knows that what goes around, comes around. As a former teenage patient of the center, she can appreciate the young people’s situations, their medical treatment, and the tremendous value of paying it forward. “There are so many ways to give and each should give according to their talents and means,” said Dr. Diaz. As the leader of the adolescent center, she provides the guidance and model for the multiple ways the center is investing in its community. “I grew up poor in the Dominican Republic,” she said, “and I had an accident as a child.” That experience early in her life taught her about the importance of healthcare. By the time she was a teenager in New York and needed more support, she had found the adolescent center. She is acutely knowledgeable about the importance of affordable health services for youth, high-quality and welcoming care. “This is my way of giving back,” the physician added. Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center is the largest freestanding outpatient center for adolescent care in the country. It provides comprehensive services—primary care, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, dental care, and optical care – for free to over 11,000 young people every year. The center not only provides direct services but also conducts innovative research and is a “renowned training destination for adolescent health specialists across the globe,” she said. Its Junior Board, comprised of rising professionals, young leaders, and emerging philanthropists, provides mentoring for many of the center’s patients. “I love the young people we treat,” Dr. Diaz said. She knows uniquely that early attention to the health of adolescents truly means investing in the betterment of society. That is why the center is not only focused on providing high quality care, but it also wants to ensure that young people in need, especially those who are underserved or uninsured, feel comforted in their dealings with the center. Imagine being a teenager who suddenly needs confidential medical care and, because of cultural stigma or fear of maltreatment by their family or community, feels helplessly isolated. Dr. Diaz wants her center to be there for those teenagers. “I believe others can inspire giving in their own communities by acting as examples,” Dr. Diaz said. “I find this work so rewarding that it is not really a ‘give.’ I get back more than I give.”
“Giving has many forms.”
photo - Johnnylopera
LILA DOWNS MUSICIAN, COMPOSER AND INDIGENOUS ADVOCATE
ila Downs uses her music and lyrics to inspire reflection and promote understanding the impacts of societal changes. She often sings about social justice issues affecting Latinos and conveys the stories of migrant workers who travel from rural Mexico to the United States. Through her music, Downs, whose mother was a Mixtec Indian, has made an effort to preserve the indigenous languages of Mexico. She has recorded several songs in Mixtec, Zapotec, Mayan, and Nahuatl, among others. She celebrates her Mixtec heritage with her music, using her lyrics to tell important stories, such as the mistreatment of indigenous people in Oaxaca state, in Mexico. Her style draws from the traditions of folk and ranchera music from Mexico and South America, as well as American folk, jazz, and hip-hop. That duality of musical origins stems from Downs’ truly bicultural background. Her mother “ran away from her village at 15 to sing in Mexico City,” Downs said. In the Mexican capital, the Mixtec singer met Downs’ father, a professor from Minnesota. So Downs split her childhood between Oaxaca and Minnesota. She eventually went on to study anthropology before choosing a musical career. Nowadays, Downs supports an academic scholarship fund in Oaxaca. Over the past 12 years, she has helped encourage economically disadvantaged young women to finish their high school education. “Many of those girls have become successful professional women and have returned to their communities in rural areas of Oaxaca to practice their professions,” Downs said. The gift of educating these young girls has helped to bolster the entire community. Downs was inspired to give these young women an education because she had grown up in a difficult environment for women. Downs recalled her Mexican hometown as lacking in opportunities for women to continue their education and realize their dreams. She found support and inspiration in her Mixtec grandmother, who she remembers as a “mother and healer, [who] always had her doors open to people in need.” “Giving has many forms,” Downs said. “It could be tutoring, mentoring, or any artistic form that creates consciousness in people.” Downs said she prefers to give her music, lyrics, and voice as tools for social change. “Those of us who have privileges have a responsibility to help through words or actions to make a difference in the lives of others that are less fortunate,” she said. Taking action, Downs said, is the key to encourage community support for social causes. “The best way to inspire is by setting an example,” she added, “no matter how much or how little you give.” 33
â€œ If we truly want to imagine a new, different way of living, we must do it through art...â€?
LAURA ESQUIVEL AUTHOR AND ACTIVIST
exican literary luminary Laura Esquivel is a tireless giver on multiple fronts. In addition to being among the best known and most read contemporary authors, she promotes community and cultural programs in Mexico and has been a champion for human rights. As a giver, Esquivel lives and breathes art and social justice. One project that she is particularly proud of involves the use of music along with other rehabilitative services for young prison inmates. The program’s benefits have extended beyond the prison walls. As part of the celebration for last summer’s release of her most recent novel, “A Lupita Le Gustaba Planchar,” she had members of the City of Oaxaca Police Band and a group of former convicts perform a concert together. She earned global acclaim in 1989 with her first novel “Like Water for Chocolate.” The famous story, which concocts magic realism by mixing love and recipes, has been translated into 36 languages and was a New York Times bestseller for over a year. She was the scriptwriter in 1991 of the novel’s wildly successful film adaptation. It fed a family passion for filmmaking, which she shares with two of her children and Director Alfonso Arau, her former husband. She also serves on a variety of film festival juries. But, she says, she wants to spotlight positive influences that movies can have. Expanding on a theme of countering the effects of media violence and negative messaging that she tackled in her nonfiction book, “El Libro de las Emociones” (2000), Esquivel dreams of creating a festival to recognize filmmaking that strikes peacemaking, positive, and healing themes. It would further her aim to promote societal healing through the arts. Esquivel also has not shied away from political activism and human rights advocacy. In 2012, when the Tucson Unified School District ended its ethnic studies program and banned teaching “Like Water for Chocolate” and other books, Esquivel didn’t mince words. “I am so very sorry, not as much for my work as for an educational system that denies its students the right to get another point of view, to know other ways of life, to receive the fresh air that would allow them to acquire a planetary awareness,” the former kindergarten teacher wrote on Facebook. In 1988, Esquivel became a founding member of the center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). In 2009, she won a borough executive primary but lost in the general election. A year later, the winner appointed her to head the General Directorate of Culture in Coyoacan, where she lives in Mexico’s capital. In this way, Esquivel has combined her quest for social change with her artistic identity. “If we truly want to imagine a new, different way of living, we must do it through art,” she said. “There’s no other way; it is through stimulating art that we can imagine ourselves as active beings in our countries, in our families, and not as victims.” 35
â€œ Launching this fund was one of the most daring things I had ever done.â€?
DIANE EVIA-LANEVI THE TOMORROW FUND FOR HISPANIC STUDENTS FOUNDER
any college students might wish that they could set up a fund to help people like them qualify for financial aid. Diane Evia-Lanevi and her husband actually did that quite successfully just five years ago.
In fact, the launch of The Tomorrow Fund for Hispanic Students, which gives scholarships, has been such a success that it raised $500,000 in just five years. Evia-Lanevi was born in 1965 in Camaguey, Cuba, and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was just 13 months old. Evia-Lanevi studied at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida where she met her husband. According to Evia-Lanevi, had Flagler College not offered her additional financial support after her federal aid was cut as she began her senior year, she would not have been able to graduate. To express their gratitude, she and her husband returned to their alma mater to establish a scholarship fund for students in need of extra financial assistance. After college, Evia-Lanevi began her career as a newspaper reporter and correspondent in Miami and eventually worked on issues of marginalized women and children in Geneva, Switzerland. She launched The Tomorrow Fund for Hispanic Students in 2009. In the past 12 years, she has served on boards for numerous nonprofit organizations, including the American Immigration Council; Triangle Community Foundation; Conservation Trust of North Carolina; Flagler College Alumni Board of Directors, and El Centro Hispano. Evia-Lanevi cites her family life as foundational to much of her work. She said that her parents instilled in her not only their work ethic, but also a sense of duty to help others. Even when they had little of their own, she recalled, they continued to send items back to their family in Cuba. Her parents, in her words, “would never say no to anyone asking them for help.” Now, as a mother, Evia-Lanevi feels her own commitment to generosity. Recognizing that many U.S. Latinos will not have the same financial support to attend college as her daughter does, she sought to fill the gap in scholarships for low-income, first-generation Latino college students in North Carolina. “Launching this fund was one of the most daring things I had ever done,” she said, “and, although I was terrified in the days following the decision to launch the fund, I have found it to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.” Evia-Lanevi credits the success of the foundation to both the help of those around her, and to those she works so hard to serve. “The success of the fund is due to the donors, the board, and really to these kids who work so hard for an education,” she added. 37
â€œ We give to our families and to our communities first, which is as it should be.â€?
NELY GALÁN MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR/FOUNDER OF THE ADELANTE MOVEMENT FOUNDER
Nely Galán understands that to give authentically, you must first take personal care.
“I believe giving starts with yourself, otherwise you become a wounded healer,” she said. This understanding has allowed Galán to not only become successful but to begin a meaningful conversation around Latina empowerment. In 2012, Galán founded The Adelante Movement with the goal of encouraging young Latinas to become financially literate entrepreneurs. As stated in the organization’s mission: “We need to take ourselves to a higher place for the sake of our children. We need to own more businesses, raise more money … and become a powerful voice for our community.” Through Movement seminars and activities around the country, Galán wants young Latinas to know that they are creative and fully capable of blazing their own path toward economic, personal, and professional success. She has applied this message in her personal life. Galán’s family left Cuba when she was two years old and moved to New Jersey, where she grew up. She was the first ever Latina to become President of Entertainment of a U.S. television network, Telemundo. The head of GaLAn Entertainment is also an Emmy Award winning producer, a public speaker, the first Latina to appear on “The Celebrity Apprentice” with Donald Trump, and a vocal proponent of philanthropy. “I feel that Latinos are very giving,” Galán said. Early in her career, one of her bosses in the television industry passed along a lesson that she has embraced as a guiding principle: “Leave the world better off than you found it.” “We give to our families and to our communities first,” she said, “which is as it should be.” Through trainings and national tours, The Adelante Movement has taken Galán’s vision of empowerment, self-sufficiency, and entrepreneurial spirit to young Latinas across the country. Galán is realistic. She knows that the challenges Latinos/as face in life. That is why, she said, “giving to my community starts with first having given to myself … financially, psychologically and physically, so I have something to give back.” As a media mogul and self-made businesswoman, she is a very successful role model for young Latinas.
â€œ Culturally, we are very much about giving. So to formalize your passion and give back is ideal.â€?
LAURA I. GÓMEZ VYV CO-FOUNDER
n a male-dominated industry where only three percent of the workers are Hispanic, Laura I. Gómez is not only making a name for herself, but blazing a trail for Latinas to come.
She gives back by being a role model as an entrepreneur who values and promotes diversity, through her participation on civic boards and by mentoring students in East Palo Alto, Calif. Gómez was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. Her undocumented family immigrated to California when she was 10 and settled in Redwood City, on the edge of Silicon Valley. Her tech industry introduction began with a Hewlett Packard (HP) internship when she was 17. “Find what you’re passionate about and go for it,” she said. “My passion has always been women and technology.” Gómez has also worked as the Head of Twitter en Español; the Head of Localization at Twitter; an ESPN consultant, and an Internationalization, Localization and International Product expert for Jawbone. Most recently, she co-founded Vyv (sounds like vive), a news and commentary site offering media accuracy analysis and viewer participation. In a December 2014 USA Today article, journalist Laura Mandaro pointed out that one-third of Vyv’s staff is female and two-thirds are Latin American or Middle Eastern, mostly working abroad. It reflects Gómez’s commitment to diversify the sector. She serves with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and other policymakers on the board of the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at the California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. “Something that is really dear to my heart,” Gómez said in the May 2014 Nueva Latina, “is seeing more Latinas in entrepreneurship. I want to be able to give back … to another Latina …” She also volunteers her time mentoring at Eastside Prep, an East Palo Alto college preparatory school, which its website describes as “committed to opening new doors for students historically underrepresented in higher education.” “Culturally we are very much about giving,” she wrote about Latinos for this HIPGivers article. “So to formalize your passion and give back is ideal.” Gómez credited her mother for this commitment to philanthropy. “She’s so selfless and so giving,” she said. “She’s the one who pushed me toward entrepreneurship. Definitely, I think she has taught me humility, and to be selfless and giving.” Gómez said that authenticity also has helped her to succeed. “Being very honest around my own path in discussing immigration, technology, diversity and entrepreneurship,” contributed to her professional achievements, she added. In striving to change the tech landscape for Latinas, Gómez is also setting a standard for achievement with genuine, humble grace.
â€œOnce youâ€™re committed to your community, the opportunities to give and give back, are limitless... It just happens to be chocolate this time.â€?
AMELIA GONZALEZ PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF CASA DE CHOCOLATES, INC.
melia Gonzalez is an entrepreneur, a natural teacher, artist and ardent supporter of Latino culture. And she does it all very sweetly. As she puts it, “chocolate is a celebration of culture.”
“Through chocolate, I am able to educate people about Latin America—its rich history, its traditions and the gifts Latin America has given to the world,” she said. Gonzalez was raised in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, the gateway of East Los Angeles. But she has also lived in Lima, Peru, and Oaxaca, Mexico. She has traveled all across Latin America, and in 2012 she founded Casa de Chocolates, Inc., in Berkeley, Calif. The idea for establishing a chocolate business focused on Latin American flavors and inspirations sprang up in 2011, when Gonzalez teamed up with Bay Area based chocolatier, Arcelia Gallardo. Gonzalez has a background in public media and for over 20 years, she worked for KPFA, a listener-sponsored free speech community radio station in Berkeley that promotes cultural diversity and community understanding. Gonzalez has always been passionate about art and culture. She and her husband founded the first folk art museum in Oaxaca, and it was during this time that Gonzalez was reminded of her deep-rooted love for chocolate. “Once you’re committed to your community,” she said, “the opportunities to give back are limitless… It just happens to be chocolate this time.” As a San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur, Gonzalez has also emphasized her commitment to sustainability and to supporting community-based organizations and causes. “The need is what drives me,” she said. “… As long as there is a need [in our communities], we have to do what we can.” The trick is what Gonzalez realized when she was working in her art museum in Oaxaca. “It’s determining what the need is, and what your gift to the world is, and how you can do that,” she added. “Give with your heart and talent,” she suggested. “There are so many ways of giving,” she said. What’s important is that people give in ways that are best suited for them, and that they do so generously. Sometimes, the optimal way of supporting one’s community comes with hand-crafted artisanal chocolates.
“ You need to have your vision really clearly in your brain, follow it, believe it, think ‘give’ instead of ‘receive.’ ”
photo - Katherine Wickhorst
JORGE ENRIQUE GONZÁLEZ-PACHECO SEATTLE LATINO FILM FESTIVAL FOUNDER
orge Enrique González-Pacheco was not raised a giver. Not in the traditional sense. His path to professional and personal success cannot be attributed to any one person or event, but it does directly coincide with his deeply rooted philosophy on giving.
“You need to love yourself before you can give and share,” he said. “You never lose when you give—you win all the time.” He is a poet, journalist, artistic promoter, and the Seattle Latino Film Festival founder. González-Pacheco’s five books were published in the U.S., Mexico, Spain and Canada. Born in Havana, González-Pacheco immigrated in 2003 and moved to Seattle in 2006. His mother died when he was very young, and his relationship with his father was tumultuous. “I don’t have a person,” he said, “I have my passion for teaching and helping people learn. I have filmmakers, writers, musicians; they are my people.” González-Pacheco knows that givers and artists do not simply appear, they are cultivated. “When I came to Seattle from Miami, my first project was to try to find a way to give something to the community in Seattle,” he recalled. Right away, he realized that Latin American culture was sorely underrepresented, so he developed the film festival. Through visual and written art, González-Pacheco said, the Seattle Latino Film Festival is dedicated to doing outreach in schools, to educating students on immigration, and to helping young people understand that, “when you give, you receive.” “I work primarily with the students,” González-Pacheco said. “Mostly the Latino second generation. They want to represent their parents and grandparents. They speak two languages—they are the people that I feel are inspired.” And González-Pacheco is no stranger to inspiration. In addition to authoring five books, his poetry and prose have been published in magazines, anthologies, and newspapers in eight countries. Language and art are deeply rooted components of his creative and philanthropic makeup. His recipe for triumph? “You need to have your vision really clearly in your brain, follow it, and believe it, think ‘give’ instead of ‘receive.’ ” “I appreciate when people help other people,” González-Pacheco says. For him, giving is never ending, and the effort is all worth it. “I want to see this festival representing our culture,” he said. “We need to understand the Latin American culture as a very diverse place. We need to dream, and believe.”
“ It was hard to be the first, because you’re walking through all those milestones without role models, figuring this out on your own.”
TOMÁS A. MAGAÑA FACES FOR THE FUTURE COALITION’S FOUNDING DIRECTOR
omás A. Magaña isn’t just a pediatrician based in Oakland; he is a Latino who has dedicated his life to the holistic care of at-risk youth. He wears many hats: assistant professor, medical director, lead physician, and founder of the FACES for the Future Coalition. FACES is a program that provides support for disadvantaged youth to succeed in college and in health professions. Magaña was born in East Los Angeles, where his mother raised him on her own with support from extended family. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. “It was hard to be the first, because you’re walking through all those milestones without role models, figuring this out on your own,” he recalled. First-generation college students, such as Magaña, tend to have lower graduation rates than other students and lower family incomes. But Magaña defied the statistics thanks to his own resilience and the support he received. “Apart from the incredible support from my mom, there were certain adults, who came into my life at critical moments and who believed in me, saw my potential, and offered me opportunities that were otherwise not available,” he wrote. He went on to graduate with a bachelor of science from Cornell University, a master’s from the University of California, Berkeley, and a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. A parade of awards for his professional skill and his service work followed those academic successes. FACES seeks to close the achievement gap that makes academic success seemingly impossible by providing academic, wellness, youth leadership, and avenues to explore careers in health professions. Dr. Magaña is proud of the work that the nonprofit has done to address three problems: low academic achievement, poor health outcomes, and a lack of Latinos in health careers. In 2012, the Oakland Unified School District had a 62.6 percent high school graduation rate. However, 100 percent of the students in the FACES program have graduated from high school, and 90 percent of those students follow post-secondary pathways, such as college, certification programs, or employment. “It’s extraordinary,” Magaña said, “we have many alumni, and now these kids are in health professional schools, social work, nursing, medicine, clinical psychology, and several are hired by the places they interned in as high schoolers.” He believes that empowering more Latinos, nationally as well as locally, to obtain healthcare careers, and providing bilingual and bicultural care, will generate a huge impact on the health outcomes for the entire Latino community. Dr. Magaña envisions that those healthcare professionals, in turn, will also become role models, proof that success is possible, making it more attainable for additional underserved youth to achieve their goals. 47
“ There’s no better reward or inspiration than receiving a heartfelt thank you.” 48
THOMAS MELÉNDEZ MFS INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT INVESTMENT OFFICER
oston-based Investment Officer Thomas Meléndez was introduced to the notion of philanthropy at a very young age.
“If you have a large extended family, as I do,” he says, “the practice of informal philanthropy is infused in your DNA.” Meléndez, who works at MFS Investment Management, was the eldest of four boys born to Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, in New York City. Although they lacked university degrees, his parents, he recalled, “instilled in us traditional values and a true sense of family.” His parents also passed along their work ethic, judging by his accomplishments. At MFS, a global asset management firm, Meléndez participates in the research process and strategy discussions, customizes portfolios to client objectives and guidelines, and communicates the portfolios’ investment policy, strategy, and tactics. Prior to MFS, he served as an institutional portfolio manager for more than 10 years, having worked as an emerging markets director for Schroders North America, a general manager for Schroders Argentina, and as a Latin American fund manager for Schroders Capital Management International in London. Meléndez has been able to give back to the community, particularly to Hispanic youths, through his service on the boards of several organizations, including The Robert Toigo Foundation, ASPIRA of New York, and Boston Children’s Hospital. He credits his wife, Aixa Beauchamp, with introducing him to formal philanthropy very early in life. Both Meléndez and Beauchamp, who met as teenagers, give without hesitation their “time and resources towards education and healthcare for Latino children,” he said. They are now both involved with the Boston Children’s Hospital Milagros para Niños, as well as the Latino Legacy Fund, the first Latino-focused fund in the Greater Boston area. But Meléndez stresses that giving money is not the only way to make a difference. “Donate your expertise, mentor someone, lead by example, and get involved,” he suggested. He finds that it is the personal relationships that he builds with the people that he works with that make him so successful. “Talk to others about what you do,” he said, “and instill in those you come into contact with a responsibility of what’s expected from them.” For Meléndez, his philanthropic work was been very fulfilling. “There’s no better reward or inspiration than receiving a heartfelt “thank you,’” he says, “or watching someone or someone you’ve worked with or mentored flourish.” Meléndez works to instill in his sons the same foundational values that his parents instilled in him and his brothers. His parents, he recalled, taught him to “help and speak up when something was wrong. Every day I try to provide my boys with the same lessons.” 49
â€œ Scientists may depict problems that will affect the environment based on available evidence, their solution is not the responsibility of the scientist but of society as a whole.â€?
MARIO MOLINA NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING CHEMIST
hen Mario Molina won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995, he was being recognized as a pioneer in the field of atmospheric chemistry. The Mexican chemist was one of the first to worry about the consequences of certain industrial gas emissions and their effect on Earth atmosphere’s protective ozone layer. His research on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) led to a landmark publication in 1974. The study essentially predicted that CFC emissions would deplete the ozone layer. Ten years later, scientists discovered a huge hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. During those 10 years, Molina and his research team published a series of articles that identified the chemical properties of compounds that play an essential role in the breakdown of the stratospheric ozone layer. Subsequently, they demonstrated in a laboratory the existence of a new class of chemical reactions that occur in the surface of ice particles, including those that are present in the atmosphere. They also proposed and demonstrated in the lab a new sequence of catalytic reactions that explain a major part of the destruction of the ozone in the polar stratosphere. Molina’s dedication to atmospheric research led to the 1989 United Nations Montreal Protocol, the first international agreement to effectively deal with a manmade environmental problem of global scale. Molina has dedicated his impressive career to much more than atmospheric chemistry. Today, through the Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies on Energy and Environment, an independent nonprofit created in 2004, he seeks practical, realistic and in-depth solutions to challenges related to environmental protection, the use of energy, the prevention of climate change and fostering sustainable development. The Center seeks to engage the population at large. “Scientists may depict problems that will affect the environment based on available evidence,” he said. “Their solution is not the responsibility of the scientist but of society as a whole.” The Center also addresses air quality, a serious problem in Mexico, by promoting public policies and cost-effective measures to cut air pollution that affects more than 30 million Mexican city dwellers. Molina’s strong desire to work with emerging scientists has inspired his various professorships at MIT, the Universidad Autónoma de México, the University of California, Irvine, and the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He also donated $200,000 of his Nobel Prize winnings to help young scientists around the world to do environmental research.
â€œ... It is my mission to bring recognition to all of the voiceless and invisible workers.â€?
AMELIA MORÁN CEJA PRESIDENT CEJA VINEYARDS
he president of Northern California’s Ceja Vineyards thrives on challenges.
A corporate executive who started out picking grapes with her family, she wants to give back—with time creatively spent and with wine. When she thinks of legacy, she speaks of building an environmentally safe society, where the goals of educating the young and making healthy eating choices are shared by all. “I come from a family that not only wanted to help the family but others,” says Amelia Morán Ceja, the first Mexican-American woman to be president of a wine production company. “That is the legacy that I have transferred to my children.” Since its 1999 founding in Napa County, Ceja Vineyards has shipped countless cases of wine for free pourings at nonprofit events, and Morán Ceja has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly for those who advocate for women, children and farm workers. She recalled the time she and friends put together a Carneros wine region tour for the Napa Valley Vintners Auction, which raised $18.7 million last June for local causes. “I got a balloon company to donate a balloon ride, a friend with a yacht to donate a ride and … we got a bike touring company that donated a bike tour, and a dinner for two couples with a case of wine,” she said. “It sold for $50,000. You have to be creative.” A native of Mexico’s Jalisco state, the young Amelia, her mother and her older sister moved to the U.S. in 1967 to join her father. On their first weekend, while grape picking, she met another 12-year-old, Pedro Morán, who had just arrived from Michoacan state. He went on to obtain an engineering degree; she studied history and literature at the University of California, San Diego, and his brother, Armando, studied enology (the science of wine and wine making) at the University of California, Davis. When she graduated, Amelia and Pedro got married and later had three children. The couple, Armando and his wife, Martha, co-founded Ceja Vineyards, and they opened the Carneros Brewing Co. in 2014. Morán Ceja, a University of California-trained master gardener, is preparing cookbooks with family recipes. She talks up healthy choices at farmers’ markets and schools and shares with young immigrants how she overcame a lack of English skills and others’ biases about farm workers. “A lot more respect should be given (and a lot more acknowledgment of their contributions to the wine industry) to the people that labor at midnight through the harvest and through the freezing temperatures,” she said in an interview for the Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) website. “That’s how I began, and it is my mission to bring recognition to all of the voiceless and invisible workers.” “In wine countries,” Morán Ceja added, “there are two cultures that co-exist next to each other. But … it’s sad because we have so much to learn from each other. Often, we have a lot more in common than differences. We are all human and love our families and communities – and that should be the unifying factor.”
â€œI give political activists a megaphone they can use to advocate for the causes they care about.â€?
MARKOS MOULITSAS ZÚNIGA DAILY KOS FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER
arkos Moulitsas Zúniga is not the kind of person to “pull up the ladder” behind him. In fact, he isn’t one to even just hold it steady. He is the kind of person who builds upon the ladder so that people for generations to come can reach new heights. Moulitsas was born to a Greek father and a Salvadoran mother. When he was just nine years old, his family came to the United States to escape the civil war in El Salvador, where they had witnessed violence, injustice, and strife. When he got to Chicago, however, Moulitsas experienced a great deal of kindness and support in his transition to life in the U.S, which helped shape the person who he is today. After high school, Moulitsas enlisted in the Army and served in Germany. After his discharge, he obtained bachelor degrees in Political Science, Journalism and Philosophy from Northern Illinois University and a law degree from Boston University, Today, Moulitsas is an innovator in online publishing and fundraising. He is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, which describes itself as the largest progressive online community in the country. Founded in 2002, the website hosts over seven million unique visitors per month, has half a million registered users, and a growing e-mail list of nearly two million. Noteworthy contributors to the site include Presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But what really defines Daily Kos is that it connects and gives voice to millions of ordinary American citizens. In Moulitsas’ own words, Daily Kos gives “political activists a megaphone they can use to advocate for the causes they care about.” Since 2008, Daily Kos has raised over $10 million in online political fundraising. Moulitsas says this has involved “identifying candidates, ballot initiatives, and organizations fighting for the issues my audience cares about, then asking them to donate, then asking them again, and finally asking them one more time.” Moulitsas is a married father of two, and in his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano. He also founded the venture-backed Vox Media, and is the author of three books. His written works include “Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics”; “Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era,” and “American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right.” Through his creativity and commitment, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga is undoubtedly building up the ladder towards a more just society.
â€œ I want to do whatever I can to build a culture of opportunity, where each person has a genuine chance to achieve prosperity and dignity.â€?
EDUARDO PADRÓN MIAMI DADE COLLEGE PRESIDENT
iami-Dade College President Eduardo Padrón credits his success as an internationally recognized leader in higher education to the support he received from others.
“I had very few prospects,” he recalled, after his arrival in the U.S. as a 15-year-old Cuban refugee. “Great generosity and support opened doors of possibility for me that changed my life,” he said, adding that he wants to give back by making education accessible and valuable for the next generation. “I want to be one of those people who ensures opportunity is available to those who have come after me.” Eduardo Padrón has served as President of Miami Dade College since 1995, leading innovative reforms to improve student access, retention, graduation, and overall achievement. “Education is the foundation of a meaningful and contributing life, and I want to give of myself to ensure that this opportunity is available,” Dr. Padrón said. “I want to do whatever I can to build a culture of opportunity, where each person has a genuine chance to achieve prosperity and dignity,” he added. Indeed, with an enrollment of over 170,000 students, Miami Dade College graduates more minority students than any other institution and is recognized as one of the top institutions of higher education in the country. Dr. Padrón’s contribution to improving access in higher education has earned him worldwide recognition. During his career, he has been appointed to positions of national prominence by six American presidents, including recently as Chairman of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and as a U.S. Representative at UNESCO’s World Conference on Higher Education. In addition to receiving several honorary doctorates and awards in academia Dr. Padrón has been honored by France as commander in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, with Argentina’s Order of San Martin, and by then King Juan Carlos II of Spain, who presented him with the Order of Queen Isabella. A graduate of Miami Dade College, he went on to earn a bachelor’s summa cum laude from Florida Atlantic University and received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Florida before returning to work his way up at the community college that gave him his start. “The truest inspiration is communicated by being the change we want to see around us. Small acts of contribution from many people make a huge difference,” he said. “A genuine community is inclusive, sharing the challenges and the opportunities. “We change the world with small steps, one person at a time.” 57
“Giving is about connection.”
LETICIA PEGUERO ANDRUS FAMILY FUND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
eticia Peguero, Executive Director of the Andrus Family Fund and the Andrus Family Philanthropy Program, doesn’t mince words when it comes to understanding philanthropy as a lifestyle and making it a priority to give back to the community.
“My give is to remind those sitting around the philanthropic table that social justice is not just what we put in our missions, but how we live our lives,” Peguero, wrote in answer to a HIPGivers question. This philosophy has been Peguero’s touchstone in more than 20 years of working in social justice programming and philanthropy. In discussing ways to give back, she stressed the importance of also considering “how we give of our time and how we challenge the dynamics of power and inequality in the U.S. and in our countries of origin.” Peguero has a bachelor of arts degree from Fordham University, and a master’s in public administration from the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, both in New York City. She also successfully completed a National Urban Fellows Master in Public Administration Fellowship, a renowned leadership development program in New York City. She has worked as the Regional Vice President at the Posse Foundation, and as Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships. In addition to her current work with Andrus, Peguero helps run Areytos Performance Works, a dance theatre and performance art company. Living in New York’s South Bronx is a choice Peguero values. “I live in the South Bronx and grew up in a community in Brooklyn where lots of Puerto Ricans lived,” she said. “I choose to live in the South Bronx because I love it... The community of young people, the artists, the older women taking care of their grandchildren... The new immigrants wondering how and when we will pass immigration reform.” Peguero said her neighborhood inspires her to practice giving and compassion in the same ways that she advocates for them. She attributes this outlook to her “grandmother’s struggle working in factories with little knowledge of the language or culture.” “Like many of us, I come from a community that has non-traditional notions of what it means to give,” she said. “Philanthropy in many of our communities means the sharing of who you are,” she added. “Giving is about connection.” For Peguero, it’s organic, a way of viewing the world. “I think if we recognize that philanthropy is alive and well in our communities,” she said, “we can help define it from our own community-grown perspectives.” And those grassroots perspectives, Peguero added, inform her leadership of the Andrus Family Fund, which seeks on a national scale to impact the lives of many who are 16 to 24 years old and are stuck in the cyclical confines of the foster care and juvenile justice systems. “Give because we are all interconnected...” she said. “Your success is tied up in mine.”
â€œ People want to be part of solutions, and we can shed light on those pathways to better tomorrows.â€?
CLOTILDE PEREZBODE DEDECKER COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FOR GREATER BUFFALO PRESIDENT AND CEO
lotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker set out to be a positive force for change. By all measurements, she has done just that, and she has done it really, really well.
The President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo works to connect people, ideas and resources in Western New York. She also has led numerous public and private sector collaborations focused on systemic change for issues such as school readiness, capacity building for arts organizations, and safety for victims of domestic violence. Dedecker currently serves on the boards of the Foundation Center and Community Foundations Leading Change. And she knows how people at the other end of giving feel. For two years after her family fled Cuba for the U.S. when she was a child, she said, they were “completely provided for by the social safety net and charitable contributions from people who did not know us.” “This support put a roof over our heads and meals on the table,” she said. “I came to philanthropy as a beneficiary, and for this I hold a great debt of gratitude.” For Dedecker, philanthropy is uniquely positioned to affect positive change. She flourishes, she said, in “taking on challenging issues, pursuing cross-sector solutions, engaging a broad cross-section of stakeholders and marshaling needed resources to change lives. “Philanthropy,” she said, “is ultimately about improving lives with a set of assets that go beyond traditional grant support.” Prior to her Buffalo foundation work, Dedecker served on the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation and was the U.S. Committee co-chair of the United Nations International Year of the Volunteer. She has been honored by the Points of Light Foundation, the Governor’s Award for Service, and the President’s Award for Service. She was on the Mayoral Council on Hispanic Issues and the National Federation for Just Communities board. She has a State University of New York at Buffalo education master’s. For her, people are inherently generous, forward thinking and capable of local philanthropy. “People want to be part of solutions, and we can shed light on those pathways to better tomorrows,” she added. Above all, Dedecker believes her career is geared to help the U.S. realize its full potential for all. “Givers,” she said, “move all of us closer to making the promise of America the practice of America.”
“We don’t just give a check and watch the progress. Community foundations are our partners.”
BAHIA RAMOS KNIGHT FOUNDATION COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS DIRECTOR
n living between worlds, Bahia Ramos seeks to be a unifying force that leads, teaches and encourages positive change. Growing up as an Afro-Latina in Brooklyn with strong ties to the Panamanian community, Ramos, Knight Foundation’s community foundations Program Director, explains that she has, “used empathy and curiosity as a guide to understand and meet the needs of a range of communities and partners.” On a personal level, Ramos enjoys her role as a translator between the worlds of large-scale philanthropy and community institutions, in a way that can strengthen their relationship. Ramos manages Knight Foundation’s $175 million investment in community foundations. One of its most visible initiatives is the Knight Community Information Challenge, which encourages funding of projects that meet local news and information needs. Before joining the Knight Foundation as a National Urban Fellow in 2009, the New York native graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and served as director of government and community affairs at both the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Ramos also spent two years in London as a consultant in the Corporate Responsibility Department of the Man Group PLC, an investment management company. She served on the Grant Advisory Committee for the New York Women’s Foundation, and as a Trustee for Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. She is also a Miami Foundation MiamiFellow. At Knight, the Community Information Challenge has invested in over 100 projects in six years. It has helped thousands of community leaders to learn about technology and media innovations, exchange best practices, and use information to advance change. One example was a campaign by the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County focusing on closing the achievement gap in schools. The Ready Set Learn campaign helped to change public policy and increased funding for low-income preschoolers and kindergarteners. “We don’t just give a check and watch the progress,” she said. “Community foundations are our partners. In addition to funding, we provide research and a space for them to learn and exchange new ideas with their peers in philanthropy as a way to advance local change.” For Ramos, this Knight initiative also has given her the chance to connect the innovation and action of philanthropy to the daily life of people in the community. Ramos’ grandmother, from whom she draws inspiration, would enjoy that back-to-basics view of giving. Ramos remembers her as a selfless person who was able to see humanity in others and who was always generous with her time and her spirit. The philanthropist learned from her grandmother that the act of giving is, at its essence, about connecting with others. And Ramos has embraced this “theory of connection,” which she learned watching her grandmother, as central to her work at Knight. “She demonstrated the abundance in life,” Ramos recalled.
â€œWhenever we are focused on what we can receive, we begin to die; when we focus on what we have to give, we begin to live.â€?
THE RT. REV. NEDI RIVERA EPISCOPAL BISHOP
piscopal Bishop Nedi Rivera has spent her life giving. She gives to her friends, to her family, to her community, and to her parishes. In 2004, the Rt. Rev. Rivera was elected Bishop Suffragan to the Diocese of Olympia, in Washington state, making her the first Latina bishop in the Anglican Communion. Her approach to giving, she said, stems from the desire to, “help people claim their vocation, power, and responsibility for the health of the world.” Rivera advocates paying attention. She believes that each of us is responsible for contributing to healing the world, to give so that our hearts are open, and so we can develop philanthropic outlets that are effective and strong. “Whenever we are focused on what we can receive, we begin to die,” she said. “When we focus on what we have to give, we begin to live.” Bishop Rivera was ordained as a Deacon in 1975, as a Priest in 1979, and as Bishop in 2005. She holds an honorary doctorate in divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif. She has been a member of national boards, including the Curriculum Board for the College of Bishops which is designed to aid bishops around the country develop not only spiritually, but also academically and personally. In 2005, Bishop Rivera organized a team to rebuild St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. While with the Diocese of Olympia, she spearheaded a campaign to purchase 30,000 mosquito nets for distribution in African countries that are severely impacted by malaria. She believes in justice and making a difference in people’s lives, even if it goes against the grain. In 2006, when the gay marriage debate roiled the church, Bishop Rivera took an unpopular stand. “I won’t marry anyone straight or gay, until the church officially authorizes the marriage of homosexuals,” she said. In 2003, she had supported the ordination of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. She recalled her years of study at Wheaton College. The variety of courses required, she said, “were all about being educated to be a leader, a giver.” The importance of making a difference was reinforced for her in college. But she first learned it from her father, Episcopal Bishop Victor Manuel Rivera, who was Puerto Rican. “My dad was a great believer in what we have, we are given for the sake of the world,” she said. It is a sentiment Rivera has carried throughout her life, and her work. 65
“I dream that someday we will see all of America’s children feeling protected, guided along a path of peace and happiness.”
ARELIS RODRÍGUEZ FALCONDO FOUNDATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
hilanthropist Arelis Rodríguez knew when she was growing up in the Dominican Republic that she wanted to help those less fortunate. But it wasn’t until years later, during a Scandinavian trip, that she understood what would become her signature approach. “I was really impressed when I traveled to Norway to see how very young children would go alone to school, so I asked how that was possible,” she wrote in response to a HIPGivers question. “The answer is simple: Everyone cares for them along their route to school (the adults help them to cross the street, the pedestrian, the motorist, the business owners, etc.).” “It struck me how lovely it was that the community understood that the children’s welfare was the responsibility of the whole community,” she added. “I dream that someday we will see all of America’s children feeling protected, guided along a path of peace and happiness.” Rodríguez has been Executive Director of the Falcondo Foundation since 1989, when a Canadian mining subsidiary created it. She is driven to help fix social problems’ underlying causes. “I knew that I not only had to help but, to reach more people, I had to find a way to motivate those who have to invest more, to embrace our people’s aspirations and sign on to the solutions, not only with money but with ideas, examples, commitment,” she said. Rodríguez set out to fight high-barrier poverty in the Dominican Republic, where the median age is 27 years. The CIA Factbook puts the 15-24 age group jobless rate at nearly 30 percent, and overall joblessness was at 15 percent in 2013. Even so, its modest $9,700 per capita GDP in 2013 points to a better economy than Haiti, its Hispaniola neighbor. In her quest, Rodríguez headed two nonprofits targeting poverty and unemployment, and grew her community development and environmental expertise. Her efforts generated corporate social responsibility models that were replicated in her Caribbean country and elsewhere. She is a proud founding partner of the HIP Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities in the Dominican Republic. The Falconbridge Foundation School Sponsorship Program she helped to create has helped 77,000 pupils and 2,100 teachers in 135 schools and was recognized by USAID as a private sector-public instruction model. “I have had the privilege of having worked with hundreds of youths, and I have noticed that, when we change even one life in a community, we are betting on the socioeconomic transformation of that family and that community,” she wrote for HIP. “The enormity of the problems shouldn’t overwhelm us or discourage us, since it is with everyday actions that we can change our people’s fortunes, one by one, and one day at a time. “We need to personally feel the frustration of our people who, despite working so hard, can’t manage to climb out of poverty,” she added. “We have to do it with ganas and ingenuity, to identify creative, brave and sustainable solutions.”
â€œNow in my professional art life, giving is something I have built into the way I operate.â€?
FAVIANNA RODRIGUEZ ARTIST AND CULTURE STRIKE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
t is said that art touches a dimension of the human spirit that words alone cannot reach, and for that we have artists. Now take an artist and instill her with a deep sense of compassion and giving, and there you have Favianna Rodriguez: a real catalyst for social change. Rodriguez is the Executive Director of Culture Strike, an online magazine and advocacy organization that mobilizes artists around issues of migrant rights. She is also a talented artist herself: she uses vibrant prints to fiercely tackle issues such as migration, globalism, economic injustice, and patriarchy. Rodriguez, who grew up in Oakland, Calif., and still currently resides there, recalls being on the receiving end of people who gave selflessly, “I was the direct beneficiary of peoples’ charitable contributions; whether it was for an organization, or for a meaningful cause,” she said, recalling as an example the aid she benefitted from after graduating high school. “I received over $30,000 in scholarship money that largely had been raised thanks to individual donors,” she says. In addition, Rodriguez was able to explore her artistic talent in programs that were directly funded by individual donors. In pursuing her life’s goal “to create profound and lasting social change in the world,” Rodriguez has been fearless in taking on new endeavors, both in the nonprofit and the small business areas in the San Francisco Bay Area. She co-founded Presente.org, an online community organizing network that works to strengthen Latino communities. She also co-founded the EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA) and its public arts program, Visual Element, which trains young artists in the Mexican tradition of muralism. Rodriguez is a cultural strategist and educator. She has participated in activities at the Ford Foundation in New York; School of the Art Institute in Chicago; the de Young Museum and The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco; the Habana Hip Hop Festival, in Havana, and El Faro de Oriente, in Mexico City. Rodriguez’s art has been exhibited at such notable venues as the Museo del Barrio, in New York City; de Young Museum and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in San Francisco; the Huntington Museum and Galería Sin Fronteras, in Austin, Texas, and in Chicago and Providence, RI. Her works have been seen abroad in Rome and Tokyo, as well as England, Belgium and Mexico. “Both my entire politicization and growth as an artist can be directly attributed to nonprofit organizations, which functioned on shoestring budgets, but that were extremely effective nonetheless,” she said. “Now in my professional art life, giving is something I have built into the way I operate,” she said. “I want to continue the cycle of opening doors for young artists of color.”
â€œI believe we all have something to give, to share, with our communities. All we have to do is figure out what moves us, what makes us feel alive and, as long as we bring that spirit into our neighborhoods, everything will be fine.â€?
JUAN SEPÚLVEDA PBS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR STATION SERVICES
uan Sepúlveda has been working and advocating for his community since before the age of 16. When most teenagers are concerned with prom dates and Friday night football games, Sepúlveda was busy being the first ever high school student hired to work for the Kansas Secretary of State.
Since then, Sepúlveda’s commitment to public service has increased exponentially, and he has embraced improving Latino communities, large and small. “By sharing our strengths,” he said, “we bring more than just money to the table; we bring, more importantly, ourselves to the challenges our community faces.” Currently PBS Senior Vice President of Station Services, he has also served as the Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs for the Democratic National Committee and was the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. He also developed a national strategy consulting organization called The Common Enterprise, which has sought to frame political and social debates from a non-partisan, community perspective. “I believe we all have something to give, to share, with our communities,” he said. “All we have to do is figure out what moves us, what makes us feel alive and, as long as we bring that spirit into our neighborhoods, everything will be fine.” Sepúlveda is only the third Latino to have become a Rhodes Scholar. He holds bachelors’ degrees from Harvard and Oxford, and a doctorate from the Stanford Law School. He grew up in a working class, Mexican-American neighborhood in Topeka, Kan., with his mother as a strong role model and inspiration. “… She made sure we understood that we were part of a larger community and that we had a responsibility to take care of one another,” he said and cited their participation in an annual tradition at their local church. “I always remember families taking vacation time during the summer, so we could help run our annual Fiesta Mexicana — a week-long celebration of our culture — where all the money raised went to keeping our neighborhood school open.” When asked how others can inspire giving in their own communities, Sepúlveda quoted Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” “By bringing love into the picture,” he added, “we change everything.”
â€œI believe I am part of a continuous movement of individuals that sacrificed so much to provide me an opportunity to go to college, develop my leadership skills and be part of a community of Givers trying to change the conditions that exist in our Latino communities.â€? 72
BENJAMIN TORRES CDTECH PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
enjamin Torres, President and CEO of the Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech), cites farm workers leader Cesar Chavez and African-American Muslim minister Malcolm X as two of his greatest inspirations.
He said their contributions and the work of others had inspired him to commit his life to building up “the capacity of individuals and communities to overcome the income and racial divide by working together and committing themselves to address systemic conditions in communities.” Torres lives in his native Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles with his long-time partner, Juana Mora, and his daughters, Aurelia and Camila Valentina. For him, the best way to create change in any community is to work with “grassroots residents, stakeholders and community leaders to develop common goals that bring us together and focus on creating space for democratic discussion… Engaging people is a critical part of the process.” CDTech is a job training and leadership and economic development nonprofit in South Los Angeles, a largely African-American and Latino low-income area. Torres joined CDTech in 2002 and became President and CEO in 2010. According to an article in Policylink.org in June 2014, it has partnered with other nonprofits to replicate its program in Oakland and Fresno, both in California. “We partner with local businesses and anchor institutions, like [University of Southern California], hospitals, and downtown developers, so we can be at the table during the planning phase and train residents to take advantage of opportunities,” Torres told Policylink.org. Before joining CDTech, Torres worked with the Multi-Cultural Education Consortium in Santa Barbara, served as the Youth Leadership Director for La Casa de la Raza, also in Santa Barbara, and was Project Director for the MultiCultural Collaborative Community School Initiative in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. He also gives back to the community by serving as a board member of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) in Los Angeles; TRUST South L.A., and For Chicana/o Studies Foundation. He holds a master’s in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University. “I believe I am part of a continuous movement of individuals that sacrificed so much to provide me an opportunity to go to college, develop my leadership skills and be part of a community of Givers trying to change the conditions that exist in our Latino communities,” he wrote in response to a question from Hispanics in Philanthropy. “We stand on the shoulders of so many who fought to give us opportunities,” he added. “We need to do the same for those yet to come.” 73
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Latinos' stories, as givers of philanthropic dollars, economic prosperity, intellectual and cultural capital, and spiritual values, are as u...
Published on Mar 1, 2015
Latinos' stories, as givers of philanthropic dollars, economic prosperity, intellectual and cultural capital, and spiritual values, are as u...