Funding for Latinx Populations in the U.S.

Insights from the Updated Latinx Funders Dashboard

by Hilda Vega


In 2019, Hispanics in Philanthropy launched the  Latinx Funders Dashboard, to serve as a population-specific information source about how philanthropic resources are—or are not—reaching Latinx communities in the U.S. The Dashboard is designed to be an ongoing research project documenting the landscape of foundation funding for Latinx communities and tracking changes in scale and priorities over time. 

Informed by Candid, the Dashboard uses IRS information returns (like IRS Form-990 and Form 990-PF), information reported directly to Candid through their Electronic Reporting Program, and other resources like annual reports or grantmaker websites where charitable transactions are available as the primary sources of information. Due to the diversity of both sources and grant recipient information, the Dashboard provides only high-level snapshots of funding for broad social issues, of funding strategies used, and of funding by regions as well as by sub-populations like various age groups. HIP’s aim in providing this long-term resource is to influence the sector to more accurately target resources and more significantly support a variety of strategies to build prosperity for all Latinxs. 

Insights: Understanding Funding for Latinx Over Time and in Relation to the Philanthropic Sector

From the updated information in the Dashboard, which now includes all of 2018, we learned the following:

Overall Investments

  • 0.8% of all funding during 2013-2018 was awarded to organizations serving or supporting “People of Latin American Descent” (per Candid classifications). The U.S. Latinx population is, per the latest census data, 18.5%
  • Foundations invested atotal of $3 billion and approximately 58,000 grants across the six years.
  • In 2018, the most recent year for which more complete giving data is available, funding for Latinx populations was .6% of overall giving, with $490M of a total of $85B awarded overall. It remains to be seen how, if at all, Latinx communities have been supported in the surge of giving that followed calls for greater racial equity in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and other people of color at the hands of the police. What we do know, however, is that recent reports have identified significant gaps between pledges of racial justice and racial equity support beginning in 2020 and what NGOs have actually received in the form of financial support for racial equity and justice work. See From Intention to Impact report and the new Mismatched report for additional analysis and further insight into pledges versus actual dollars received to support racial justice and equity.
  • Looking at issue areas over the six-year timeframe covered in the Dashboard, the largest investments were: 1) Education at 20%, 2) Health at 12%, 3) Community and Economic Development at 11%, and Human Rights also at 11%. 
  • Education received less funding consecutively every year except for 2015. For context, total Education funding in the U.S. in 2018 was $58.5B; Health was $523.4B; Community & Economic Development was $39.7B, and Human Rights was $6.8B.
  • Areas receiving the smallest portion of funding for Latinx included: Agriculture, Fishing, and Forestry (1.1%), Philanthropy (1.1%), Religion (0.8%), and Sports and Recreation (0.5%).
    • Of note: Human Services was the second-highest ‘beneficiary’ of funding for Latinx by the number of grants awarded (16%), though it only received 7.3% of all funding. In other words, there were many grants made in support of Latinx communities in the area of Human Services, but they were relatively small. This pattern was common across several issues and can be seen in the rough average that half a billion dollars per year in this timeframe were awarded for Latinx through 10,0000 grants. In other words, generally speaking, one could say the average grant award for Latinx serving organizations has been approximately $50,000. The $1,000 to $5,000 grant size category was the largest, representing 21.3% of total grants awarded.

About Communities Supported

  • Roughly 80% of overall funding was, within the Latinx population, allocated in the following ways: 
    • The Economically Disadvantaged (37%)
    • Ethnic and Racial Identity (20%)
    • Children and Youth (20%), with Children and Youth showing an increase in 2014 and 2017 as 27.4% of total grants awarded
    • Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees received 8.6% of funding
    • Women and Girls received 5.6% of funding
  • It is important to note that communities including Latinx LGBTQI, with disabilities, incarcerated, and/or the elderly all received less than 1% of funding. 
  • Latinx communities on the Pacific coast (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington) received 32.3% of the total funding. The following regions received the least amount of funding: New England (3.4%), West North Central (2.6%), East South Central (2.5%), and U.S. Territories (0.8%).
  • More than 50% of funding supported the strategies of Program Development (37%) and General Support (17%).  

 About the Funders and Grants

  • Independent foundations contributed 67.3% of total funding.
  • The rest came from Community Foundations (15.2%), Company-sponsored Foundations (14.6%), and Operating Foundations (2.8%).
    • Of note: Community Foundations have progressively increased their funding for Latinx since 2014 ($36.1 million), reaching its highest in 2018 with $88.3 million. Their annual funding average is $55.2 million.
  • 21.3% of grants/awards were in the $1,000 to $5,000 grant size range. Grants at or greater than $1million were the least commonly awarded, representing a combined .6% of all grants.  

For the purposes of this report, the calculations do not include the Gates Foundation’s 2015 grant, totaling 417.2 million to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (The Gates Scholarship). This single gift represents 14% of the 6-year total and 44% of the total amount awarded in 2015.

Next Steps: Data and Analysis Still Required for Better Understanding the Adequate Resourcing of Latinx

The ongoing data updates to the Latinx Funders Dashboard have allowed HIP and its partners to provide targeted data about funding for our communities, especially to funders who are seeking to better understand their own relationship to funding BIPOC/communities of color. 

HIP’s dashboard is one slice of this conversation, complemented by other dashboards like Investing in Native Communities and by reports like Black Funding Denied, as well as data about representation in professional philanthropy such as the Diversity Among Philanthropic Professionals survey and report. This growth in creating and evolving resources to track funding for our communities (and their representation in making those decisions) embodies the reality that there are severe research gaps about how impacted communities relate to or benefit from U.S. philanthropy. 

For example, at present, there is no consistent information about whether funding for specific issues represents or adequately addresses local needs in communities or populations. Likewise, there is no report at present on existing data to help funders better understand where funding goes and how it is used by the many distinct demographic groups that comprise the Latinx population. According to the Urban Institute, the growing influence of Latinx in electoral politics, in the labor force, and as a driver of GDP is undeniable, yet as the Dashboard indicates, overall growth in philanthropic giving has not translated into greater investments in the future of Latinx.  However, the reality that Latinx communities consistently received less than 1% of all giving for many years points to the understanding that all of the issues critical to our communities are underfunded. 

HIP remains committed to furthering philanthropic research by and about Latinx communities, and works to ensure that Latinx viewpoints are included in ongoing research conducted by national organizations and collaboratives. We look forward to sharing more about this work and relevant insights in 2022.

For more information about HIP’s research projects, please contact Hilda Vega, Director of Philanthropic Practice, at