Latinos make progress, face challenges

By Todd Cohen

Americans need to fix our broken melting pot.

In North Carolina, for example, the fastest-growing Latino population in the U.S. needs better access to the health care, education, jobs, credit and other services most of us take for granted.

Nonprofit initiatives have emerged to begin to address those needs.

North Carolina is home to the fastest-growing Latino credit union in the U.S.; scores of groups serving Latinos, and a statewide alliance to assist those groups; a funders collaborative that has raised more money to support Latinos than in other states; foundation efforts to spur Latino giving; and pioneering research, funded by the state bankers association, to map Latinos’ statewide economic impact.

Underscoring the growing role Latinos play, the Triangle Community Foundation in the Raleigh-Durham area has named as its new president the head of the state’s leading Latino advocacy group.

Yet huge challenges remain.

Bowing to fear and intolerance, for example, state lawmakers this year ignored Latinos’ economic contribution, and defeated a bill to allow in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants’ children.

Most Americans have foreign roots. To heal our communities, we need to treat our newest neighbors the way we wish our communities had treated our families when they arrived.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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