The Latino Legacy Fund in Boston:

…only 1.3% of spending by U.S. Foundations is specifically targeted to Latino programs even though Latinos comprise nearly 25% of all children and youth…

By Aixa Beauchamp

6_Aixa beachamp articulista invitadaThere is cause to celebrate this Hispanic Heritage Month.

According to Child Trends, college entrance rates among Hispanics are up—with 69% of us are entering college right after high school.

On the economic front, the poverty rate in the United States has dropped for the first time since 2006, with Latinos experiencing the most significant change in income.

And according to the Kellogg Foundation’s “Culture of Giving Report, over the last 15 years the number of Latinos earning over $150k has grown by 129%. We still have a number of Latino families living on the margin, but we also need to recognize that we, Latinos are making some notable strides.

And what does this have to do with philanthropy, the topic of this article? Everything!

With increased education and capital, comes increased buying power and influence and the potential for increased giving. The rising upward mobility of Latinos will constitute an important source of new philanthropic resources for the United States.

The U.S. Census Bureau places Latinos at 10 percent of the state’s total population with Massachusetts as one of only six states in the country to attribute all of its growth to the Latino population.

In fact, over one third of youth under 18 living in Metro Boston are from a racial/ethnic minority group, with minority youth making up over three quarters of the population under 18.

In spite of these numbers, the Latino community has been historically underfunded.

A recent report by Hispanics in Philanthropy showed that only 1.3% of spending by U.S. Foundations is specifically targeted to Latino programs and organizations even though Latinos comprise nearly 25% of all children and youth and 16% of the population.

It’s time to leverage our growth. If we are going to spawn the next generation of Latino leaders, it makes sense for us to invest our capital in our communities.

As with the Jewish experience, Latino philanthropy has the potential to support and strengthen the fabric of our communities and the (Latino) nonprofit sector. History has shown that with increased education and economic resources groups have increased their engagement in civic life.

Latino philanthropy is vital to civic advancement and its impact on the sociopolitical process. Increased participation in organized philanthropy can help to accelerate Latino engagement and influence in mainstream civic life.

Latino philanthropy can transform the ways that generosity flows through and to communities of color, creating new philanthropic resources, new forms of community empowerment, new leading actors, and new ways to tackle complex problems.

Latino Funds have been around for the last 25 years. The largest to date are the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund in California, The Hispanic Federation in New York, The Hispanic Development Fund of Kansas City, as well as a number of others in Chicago, Denver and San Francisco. The Latino Legacy Fund is the first-ever Latino-focused fund in the Greater Boston area.

The Latino Legacy Fund is designed for donors who believe that there is a virtue not simply in giving money, but in giving it away strategically.

The fund has set an initial goal of raising $500,000 in seed capital, with the aim of raising $1 million in the first three years.

I am happy to report that In September the fund awarded $100,000 to five Boston-based organizations serving Latino preschool-aged children in early care programs—this year’s area of focus.

The Latino Legacy Fund and Latino –driven philanthropic initiatives like it, are starting to boost our visibility and give us a greater voice in our communities to affect change in the social fabric, political and civic life in the places where we live and work.

With the continued generosity and commitment of the Latino community, the Latino Legacy Fund and other initiatives like it have the potential to pool the power of many to promote long-lasting change for our communities.

Together we have a powerful voice and potential to change the way philanthropy is practiced as well as to increase our influence and impact.

Note: Aixa Beauchamp is the co-founder of the Latino Legacy Fund and has worked in the field of philanthropy for more than 20 years in the United States, Europe and Latin America, helping institutions to strengthen their programs and broaden their impact.

More information: (617) 338-1700 – (search for The Latino Legacy Fund)