As the country is observing National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, I pause to give thanks for these vibrant cultures and the organizations serving them. They are core components of our diverse community.
Started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, the observance was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.
This month I am honored to conclude my terms of service on the Board of Directors for Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) – a transnational organization on a mission to strengthen Latinx leadership, influence, and equity by leveraging philanthropic resources.
I first got involved with HIP when I worked with the Council on Foundations based in Washington, DC and had the joy of working with HIP members on various conferences. From the very beginning, I was welcomed with the informal greeting that “you don’t have to be Hispanic to be “HIP”!
Fast forward 30 years, I look back with gratitude on decades of learning and partnership opportunities for myself and for CFGG.
When CFGG had the chance to help build the North Carolina site in HIP’s Funders Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities, it was an honor to be at the table as a founding member for over fifteen years. Through this model, HIP partnered with over 150 local and national funders to raise and regrant over $40 million dollars to build the capacity of Latino nonprofits nationwide working to strengthen their local communities. When the national Collaborative came to a close, NC funders wanted to continue our work in a new way, and now CFGG serves as the fiscal agent for the NC Collaborative for Strong Latinx Communities. This grantmaking endeavor includes participatory grantmaking featuring local Latinx leaders from across the state collectively allocating funds for Latinx-led programs.
I served on the HIP Board for two six-year stretches for a total of twelve years. When I received my first Board Meeting docket, I reviewed a chart of Board Member demographics noting, amongst other attributes, the various Hispanic cultural heritage affiliations . . . Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Argentinian, etc. HIP has always strived to maintain a very diverse Board and noting demographics can be a tool for assessing and monitoring that diversity. When I scrolled down to the entry about me, I noticed that I was listed as “Other”. It’s a useful growth experience for a “white” person to be noted as an “other” and to serve in a minority capacity. I have learned so much and garnered infinite respect for my Latinx colleagues. It has helped me to be a better ally and a better funder of community opportunities.
HIP has an unwavering focus on social justice and shared prosperity across the Americas. As the leader of a network of foundations, donors, and nonprofits, it stands for making impactful investments in the Latinx community and developing leaders to effectively address the most pressing issues impacting communities in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. Latinx equity, participation, and inclusion are essential for widely shared democracy and prosperity in the U.S. and the Americas. HIP is a forum for all funders to learn, support, and advocate for Latinx communities. Programs include HIPGive, PowerUp Fund, Leadership Conferences, Lideres Program, human rights initiatives, and international site visits. Triad-based Latinx leader Irving Zavaleta was selected for a fellowship in the Lideres Program, and many local nonprofits in Guilford Country received funding through the Collaboratives. I am sure that these programs and HIP’s role as advocate caught the eye of philanthropist MacKenzie Scott who recently awarded HIP a grant of $15 Million.
CFGG and I salute Hispanic Heritage Month and we are proud to be a member of HIP, to be a partner in the NC Collaborative, to be the home for two Latinx-led giving Circles (The Immigrant Fund and LEAF: Latino Education Advancement Fund), and to support our local nonprofit grantees that celebrate Latinx cultures and support Latinx communities. Please join me in giving thanks.
Tara McKenzie Sandercock