Funds target Latino needs

By Todd Cohen

Latino charities in North Carolina soon can seek support from a new funding collaborative.

The effort, to begin making grants early in 2003, has raised nearly $1 million, will get matching funds from national foundations and could generate $2 million or more for grants.

Designed to strengthen groups run by and serving Latinos, the collaborative aims to spur contributions from local and statewide funders that will qualify for national funds.

“This is an extremely creative response to a very rapidly changing demographic in our state,” says Tony Pipa, executive director of the Warner Foundation in Durham. “It is funders looking for ways in which to leverage their resources and be strategic together.”

The national collaborative was launched by Hispanics in Philanthropy, an international funders network, and is backed by national foundations such as Ford, Kellogg and Rockefeller.

They will match, dollar for dollar, funds raised in participating states.

To help North Carolina qualify, Warner is giving $100,000 and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem is giving $500,000.

Half of Reynolds’ support will match funds raised in each of five communities, and the other half will be pooled with other funders’ contributions to support rural Latino groups.

The initiative has raised $100,000 in Winston-Salem, $95,000 in Greensboro, $125,000 in the Asheville area and $60,000 in the Triangle. Other funders are being recruited, and Charlotte funders meet Oct. 23 to consider backing the effort.

The collaborative also will provide leadership development and technical assistance for Latino charities, and will convene participating funders, which meet Oct. 24 to begin developing grant guidelines.

“We need to begin working with the Hispanic community to try to determine what’s the best way to go about addressing the issues,” says Walker Sanders, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

In a survey two years ago, Greensboro nonprofits said their biggest challenge was rooted in the region’s changing demographics and mix of new cultures and languages, says Tara Sandercock, the foundation’s vice president for programs.

An influx of Latinos has prompted an increase in grant requests by Latino groups and human-services agencies serving Latinos, she says.

The Winston-Salem Foundation works with a small corps of Latino groups, says Donna G. Rader, the foundation’s vice president for grants and programs.

El Puente, a program launched by the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, for example, connects parents and schools, while the Hispanic Action Association, a new group that had been part of Neighbors in Ministry, operates a resource center for immigrants on the city’s Southside.

Other funders include Sara Lee in Winston-Salem; Weaver Foundation, Moses Cone-Wesley Long Community Health Foundation and News & Record Foundation, all in Greensboro; Beattie Foundation, Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and Janirve Foundation, all in Asheville, and Community Foundation of Henderson County in Hendersonville; and Triangle Community Foundation in Research Triangle Park and A.J. Fletcher Foundation and Stewards Fund, both in Raleigh.

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