Federal, Corporate and Philanthropic Leaders meet at HIP GameChangers in D.C. and Philadelphia
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Charles A. Gonzalez were among the 100+ leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, government and corporate sectors who took part in two days of HIP GameChangers meetings and panel discussions in June in Washington, D.C. “Sometimes, government doesn’t have all of the answers. That’s why we need to have partnerships,” Secretary Solis said in opening “The Americas’ Future in the Balance: A Briefing on the Underfunding of Latino Communities,” which took place on June 18 at The Woodrow Wilson Center and on June 19 at the Cannon House Office Building. The sessions were co-sponsored by the Washington Office on Latin Affairs (WOLA), the Greenlining Institute, and the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR). During the initial session, Foundation Center Vice President of Research Lawrence McGill discussed the underfunding of Latin America as well as Latinos in the United States. He presented data from the “Foundation Funding for Hispanics/Latinos in the United States and for Latin America,” which the Center released in collaboration with HIP. U.S. philanthropic giving to specific Latin American countries by issue area, he said, goes primarily to environment (33 percent); international affairs (20 percent); and health (14 percent). Following McGill’s presentation, Carlos Orta, president and CEO of HACR, presented key findings from HACR’s Corporate Inclusion Index, an annual assessment of how businesses and corporations are faring in the inclusion of Hispanics in four areas: employment, procurement, government, and–of particular interest to HIP–in philanthropy. To wrap up the day, McGill, Orta, and Andrew Selee, vice president of Programs and senior advisor to the Mexico Institute at The Woodrow Wilson Center, shared their reactions to the Foundation Center data during a panel discussion that was moderated by HIP President Diana Campoamor. “Being targeted is more important than being massive,” Selee said about the need to develop long-term and sustainable strategies to increase philanthropic giving. HIP and the attendees received a warm welcome the next day from Congressman Gonzalez, who called on our country to take another look at its relations with Latin America. “We don’t treat Latin America like we treat others … . That is very important in foreign relations,” the San Antonio Democrat said. “We need to reawaken the interest.” At the second session, Orta was asked how he would achieve more adequate funding for Latino communities. “There are very few Latinos that run corporate foundations and it all starts from the top,” he said. “You also have to take a business mindset to your philanthropy — you have to have a plan.” Greenlining Institute Executive Director Orson Aguilar discussed efforts and lessons learned in California to build the capacity of minority-led nonprofit organizations. “This is not a Latino issue; it’s an American issue. The power of asking for diversity data makes an impact,” Aguilar said. “We need to figure out what we can do from where we sit,” WOLA Executive Director Joy Olson responded when asked what advocates, policy makers, philanthropists and others can do to reverse a stark decrease in funding for economic and social aid to Latin America and the Caribbean since 2010. In addition to the two days of Washington discussions, HIP partnered with the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley Grantmakers to host a GameChangers forum on June 4 in Philadelphia. Major themes that emerged from that forum was the need to develop an individual donor base for the region’s Latino nonprofit sector and the need for targeted, collective efforts to increase educational opportunities for the region’s Latino children and youth. Nearly 50 funders, nonprofit directors, and community leaders attended the Philadelphia gathering. Presenters included: Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, director of Outreach and Program Evaluation at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians; HIP Vice President Ben Francisco Maulbeck; Samuel S. Fels Fund Executive Director Helen Cunningham; Beatriz Vieira, vice president of Philanthropic Services for The Philadelphia Foundation, and Lucas Rivera, executive director of Artistas y Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA). “We need to build sustainable, long-term relationships and funding streams to develop Latino organizations,” Vieira said. HIP will continue to host GameChangers events throughout this year in an effort to constructively address the structural underfunding of Latino communities and other pressing issues affecting our communities in the United States and Latin America. You can visit the Twitter feed of @behipgive for highlights and photos of the events.