Latino leaders share giving insights and practical advice
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Givelify asked Latino faith and nonprofit leaders how this month can be honored with good deeds. As we all seek to do more in our communities, these leaders provided perspective on current needs and the effects of Covid-19. They also shared some of the great work their organizations are doing and how we can create more meaningful change in the Latino community.
We spoke to:
- Amanda Arizola, Vice President of Finance and Operations of Philanthropy Southwest whose mission is to foster meaningful philanthropy and trusted relations that impact the southwest region’s people, communities, and most pressing issues
- Pastor Miguel Matos, Director de Asociaciones del Distrito de California, Asamblea de Iglesias Cristianas, Inc. (Director of Partnerships of the California District, Assembly of Christian Churches, Inc.)
- Janet Cruz Padrón, founder of the Latina Money Institute whose mission is to advance awareness of the Latina wealth gap and its impact at an individual, societal, and global level through leading-edge research and innovative solutions
- Pastor John E. Perez, Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Beacon, New York
Here’s what they shared with us:
When it comes to giving back and doing more good – whether it’s time, talent, or treasure – what do you think are some of the biggest needs right now?
Arizola: Prior to COVID, our communities were facing harsh challenges ranging from emergency services, medical care, insurance needs to an ever-widening and systematic race wealth divide. These issues have been exacerbated because of the global pandemic and have caused a major hardship to families. The need hasn’t changed, emergency services such as food banks, behavioral health assistance, mortgage/rental assistance, skills training for those who are in industries that technology changes have been made obsolete and educational funding for trade skills have become vital.
If you have an opportunity to support financially, that would be wonderful, but it is also important to give of your time either as a volunteer financial or business coach, volunteer tax assistant, or computer skills trainer.
Matos: The biggest need right now is to reach people with the Gospel, love, and kindness. Our world is hurting and a kind gesture to your “neighbor” can be powerful. We should lend a hand where we can. Financially, time or just a simple hello.
Cruz Padrón: During this unprecedented time that we are all currently living through, the biggest need right now is to know that we are not alone. It is so critical for us as individuals and as organizations to remain engaged with one another via digital platforms to stay connected to the human aspects + economic resources that can prove to be the lifelines that will get us safely through these challenging times.
Perez: We need to encourage the Latino community to vote in this upcoming election. Per Pew Hispanic Research, a record 32 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2020 election. Imagine the impact we could have in the upcoming November election!
As it relates to the work of your organization, what challenges have Covid-19 brought on to the community you serve?
Arizola: Philanthropy Southwest is a philanthropy serving organization and support foundations, private and community, by connecting them through the power of relationships and learning. COVID has ignited and united foundations to be able to provide additional support for emergency services to nonprofit organizations. We have seen many foundations increase their giving, being flexible with previous giving deadlines, and providing support in the ways in which they can serve the community.
Matos: The challenge has been staying in touch. Making sure we stay connected in an isolated season. It is especially hard because we as Latinos value community – from the family unit to extended family and friends. Even though we’ve found new ways, like counting on technology, this new normal can still take an emotional toll on many.
Cruz Padrón: The Latinx community has been one of the hardest hit due to their work within the essential service industries. As a research institute, the bulk of our work in the past was primarily realized through the use of technology. However, from a human standpoint, the pandemic has profoundly activated and mobilized our organization to find and create more “boots on the ground” actionable ways to provide and connect our community to the knowledge and the resources they need.
Perez: In talking with our front line health care workers, COVID-19 has impacted the Latino community greatly. We need to fight for better health care in order to be in a healthier position going forward. We need vital, strong, and healthy communities. We need to combat Covid-19 down to the common flu within our Latino communities
How do donations to your organization create an impact in your community?
Arizola: Supporting philanthropy helps create an understanding of community issues and provides a repository for learning. The current projects of Philanthropy Southwest include efforts for board leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, and economic impact of philanthropy.
Matos: When the church body gives, we are able to love on the community with meal programs and serve our families in need. We also use giving resources to create programs that give back to our children.
Cruz Padrón: Latinas are in such a tough place right now. Not only are they needing to look after their own health and wellbeing as they go off to work in the public sectors, but they are also often needing to step in as educators for their children back at home who are required to attend virtual school. Donations from generous donors are being used to provide supplies and support to the Latinas that walk this very demanding and anxiety-inducing tight rope.
Perez: Donations allow us to do impactful community work. An increase in donations would allow us to educate, train, and better support the needs of our local communities. We have the ability to nourish their bodies and in specifically, their minds with what is needed most to make it in today’s world.
What would be your advice to anyone seeking to create meaningful change in the Latino community?
Arizola: Number one would be to actively listen to the community. To hear the needs beyond any political rhetoric. Understanding that the needs of the Latino community are human needs. The need to be united as a family, to feel safe in their own homes, and to have the opportunity to be plentiful. Secondly is to make sure that Latino/as are at the table, if your board is lacking Latino/a voices, then I urge you to find qualified candidates, they are out there and plentiful. Give those opportunities and allow others to be brought to sit at the table.
Matos: To be Christ-like. Loving people the way that Christ loves us. Give what you can. That can be anything from your time to financial support. Love trumps everything. Impact starts with a small kind gesture. Your contribution small or big can make a change. Be encouraged!
Cruz Padrón: My greatest advice to my gente would be to be giving of yourself. If you have an amazing talent, share it with the world and tell your story. If you have a healthy reserve of financial resources, donate some to those that could greatly benefit from them. The world so desperately needs what you have to offer. Don’t hold back. Nothing is too small to make an impactful difference.
Perez: My advice would be to get involved in an area you’re passionate about. For me, education is key. Our children need to able to experience the same level of education that others receive in other communities. This would level the playing field and bring about long-term equity needed for them to excel in all areas of their lives.
Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to recognize the contributions of Latinos in the United States. A great way to honor it individually or as an organization is by being involved and committed to creating more meaningful change. Here are some key takeaways from our guests:
- Listen: Actively listen to the communities you serve to understand their needs
- Connect: Get involved, individually or as an organization, in an area you’re passionate about
- Commit: Small acts with ongoing commitment can create meaningful impact
- Give: Generosity comes in all forms – from volunteering time, sharing your talents or your treasure
As communities feel the ongoing effects of COVID-19, organizations and their generous donors continue to make a lasting impact. As found in our Giving in Faith report, 31% of donors strengthened their reason for giving during the pandemic. And, 55% of donors remained consistent or increased their online and mobile giving amounts. Even through these times, generosity and kindness are a tap away.
Connect with nearly one million donors looking to do more good. Organizations that join Givelify increase their donations by 20-30 percent within the first 60 days of rollout. Grow giving and further your mission with the most trusted online and mobile giving platform today.