When $1 million is invested in Latino-led organization across the Valley, the timely and critical investment shows an effort to continue the vital work of those community organizations in the Central Valley – from San Joaquín to Kern counties.
The Latino Community Foundation (LCF) announced its new ‘Roots of Latino Power’ initiative on July 18 to award, in partnership with The James Irvine Foundation, grants to 37 grassroots organizations throughout the Central Valley.
“Investing a million dollars, for us, is a dream come true,” said Jacqueline Martínez-Garcel, CEO of LCF during the announcement of the initiative at Arte Américas, in Fresno. “It is something that from day one, the Latino Community Foundation had focused to do.”
The initiative’s investment aims to empower Latino-led organizations to continue working on the frontlines of creating opportunities for Latino families and youth to thrive as civic leaders.
“Because for us, this is the heart of, not only of our state, but it is the spine of our country. And when the Central Valley is healthy and strong, our nation is healthy and strong. You hold it together,” said Martínez-Garcel, of the 400-mile spread of a region.
Martínez-Garcel said those organization are changing one mind at a time.
LCF leaders said nearly 50 percent of the population in the Central Valley are Latino and they are the driving force of the economy, and the initiative will aim to ensure that they also benefit from economic growth in the region.
“When our Latino families are thriving, and our young people are out there stepping into their power, into their leadership, that’s when we know we will be healthy, active, and everything else because everything will fall into place, but we need to give out youth the space,” Martínez-Garcel said.
Besides the grant founding these organizations will also receive technical support from nationally recognized coaches on communications and fundraising. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to build a network of Latino led organizations driving positive change for families and building civic and economic power in the region.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here,” said Sammy Nuñez founder and executive director of Fathers and Families of San Joaquín in Stockton of receiving one of the grants. “I want to give thanks to the Latino Community Foundation and their tireless efforts to continue to support and provide opportunities for us to come together and build power.”
“We stand together with the rest of the 99-corridor to put in some work,” Nuñez added.
Sisters Erica Ayala and Ana Andrade from the organization Invest in Me in Patterson in Stanislaus County, hope to continue their work to empower young women and building future leaders with the grant.
“It’s instrumental,” said Ayala of the grant adding that they would be able to provide space for young women in middle school and high school grade (seventh to 12th grade), as well as support their annual conference and expanding to host more workshops throughout the county.
“The bottom line we would be able to have more participants,” said Andrade. “With more money we would be able to bring more youth into the program, that means more workshops, more opportunities to invite more people to our conference, it expands it, its growths and we are grateful for this opportunity.
The following is a list of the organizations receiving the LCF “Roots of Latino Power” grants, by region and county:
▪ Central Valley (organizations with offices Valley-wide): Lideres Campesinas; 99Rootz; California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance; Central Valley Healing Collective; Communities for a New California Education Fund; Parent Institute for Quality Education; Youth Leadership Institute; and Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative.
▪ Fresno County: Fresno Barrios Unidos; Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indigena Oaxaqueño; Central Valley Worker Center; Westside Youth Inc.; LGBT Pink Panthers Movement of Fresno; Community Center for the Arts and Technology; and Real Authentic Women Wellness.
▪ Madera County: Pequenos Empresarios Inc.
▪ Merced County: Delhi Parent Committee
▪ Kings County: Professional Latin American Association
▪ Organizations receiving funding through the LCF’s Latino Giving Circles: Arte Americas; Centro La Familia; Education and Leadership Foundation; Every Neighborhood Partnership; and Manos Unidas de South Modesto
“The James Irvine Foundation’s goal is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically,” said Don Howard, CEO of The James Irvine Foundation in a statement. “This investment represents an important step in that direction, and we are proud to partner with the Latino Community Foundation and others to ensure the residents of the Central Valley have the opportunities to thrive economically and as civic leaders.”
The selection of the winners was done in a participatory grantmaking process with the support from a Central Valley Leadership Committee made up of local leaders, youth, community organizers, civil servants, and Latino Giving Circle Members. The Committee reviewed applications and met in-person to “pitch” organizations to each other in Fresno.
LCF has the largest network of Latino philanthropists in the country and has invested millions of dollars in improving the livelihood of Latino families. It is the only statewide foundation solely focused on investing in Latino youth and families in California.