All month long, as part our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, we’ll be highlighting and honoring some of our 2019 Líderes.
HIP’s Líderes Fellowship cultivates mid-career Latinos working in philanthropy and nonprofits by gaining knowledge, learning new practices, and building relationships within a network that supports their ability to advance and thrive.
This year’s HIP Lideres represent 19 grantmaking institutions and 12 nonprofits from across the United States. Lideres were chosen on the basis of demonstrating a commitment to working for racial equity to achieve social justice. The Fellows represent diverse Líderes — including indigenous, Afro, women, and LGBTQI Latinos — who have the courage to work in the complexity of the intersections in which we all live, including race, class, education, gender identity, ability, etc.
Meet Claudia Williams
Tell us about yourself. What do you want people to know about you as a Latinx professional in the philanthropic and social sector?
Growing up in Mexico, it was easy to figure out that women do not have the same privileges as men, and that a large portion of the population lacks access to the opportunities they need to thrive.
When it was time to choose my professional path, I wanted to do work that would allow me to have a positive impact on the world and where I could contribute to bringing about change. That is how I entered the social sector right out of college.
Fast-forward 12 years later and I’m still trying to change the world managing the activities of the Young Women’s Initiative of Washington D.C. and crafting and executing program strategy at Washington Area Women’s Foundation.
My vision for philanthropy is to embed gender and racial equity in all of the work we do, from more leadership opportunities for women of color to grantmaking and funding strategies that prioritize structural change and ending gender and racial disparities.
What calls you to do this work today?
Hope calls me to do my work every day. Hope that we will understand each other better, that we will help each other in our journey to grow, that we will figure it out, and hope that this will be a good place to be for my son Alejandro.
What brings you joy?
Being a mother brings me so much joy. Seeing my son learn, interact, and discover the world is such a precious gift that I am very grateful to have in my life.
I also love spending time on projects that let me tap into my creativity. I have a passion for baking and decorating cakes—you can see some pictures of my cakes on Instagram @happycakesdc—and I have recently started doing painting and visual journaling.
How will you transform Philanthropy?
I am transforming philanthropy by questioning my actions every day and making sure the work that I do matches my values of gratitude, wholeheartedness, and hope.
I am also transforming philanthropy by raising my voice to call out things that feel icky and to center gender and racial equity in all of the work that I do.