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Latino nonprofits to get grants

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By Jennifer Whytock

Latino nonprofits in North Carolina soon will receive $2 million from local and national funders to strengthen internal operations.

Last year, North Carolina joined the Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities, an initiative that is active in 13 states and two countries and has raised $15.8 million from 95 regional, national and Latin American funders.

Hispanics in Philanthropy, a San Francisco-based association of grantmakers, started the program in 2000 and plans to raise $16.5 million by 2005 to help strengthen small Latino nonprofits with assets under $2 million.

In North Carolina, the Latino population has grown to 530,000, up 400 percent from 1990 to 2000, and has outpaced the growth of local Latino nonprofits, which have grown from roughly half-a-dozen in the early 1990s to 100 today, says Andrea Bazan-Manson, executive director of El Pueblo in Raleigh.

Some of these new Latino nonprofits have a small, often volunteer staff and are stretched too thin by trying to offer too many direct services, such health, housing, education, youth programs and English language, instruction, at once, says Magui Rubalcava, program director for the Funders’ Collaborative.

The collaborative’s “capacity-building” grants do not fund programs and services, she says, but aim to help make nonprofits more effective at providing them.

Grants might support a range of activities, Rubalcava says, such as training board members about their duties and responsibilities; helping nonprofits measure their effectiveness and decide whether to launch income-earning projects or charge fees for certain services; hiring fundraising staff or launching new fundraising initiatives.

Some nonprofits might get one-year grants to hire consultants to help develop more focused proposals for capacity-building grants.

Eighteen North Carolina funders soon will visit 25 local Latino nonprofits that have been selected from a pool of 41 applicants, and in late October will decide who will get the grants, Rubalcava says.

Tony Pipa, who is executive director of the Warner Foundation in Durham and spearheaded the effort to bring the collaborative idea to North Carolina, says he hopes the project will give local funders a better sense of Latino issues and strengthen their relationships with local Latino nonprofits.

The Warner Foundation and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem, along with 16 other regional funders in North Carolina, have pledged $980,000 to the collaborative.

Hispanics in Philanthropy will match these funds with money given to the collaborative by national foundations like the Ford Foundation in New York and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Michigan.

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