Hispanics’ economic role critical

By Todd Cohen

Hispanics are fueling growth in the U.S. but face big challenges the charitable sector can help address.

Hispanics account for 7 percent of North Carolina’s population, for example, and nearly 30 percent of the state’s growth over the past 15 years, and filled one in three new jobs during that period, says a new study.

And in return for a net cost to the state of $61 million, or $102 per Hispanic resident, Hispanics contribute more than $9 billion to the state’s economy, the study says.

Yet Hispanics’ impact is limited because the Hispanic consumer market and business sector lack attention and support.

Hispanics, for example, spend money outside their communities because too few goods and services are marketed to them, and Hispanic entrepreneurs have a tough time clearing language, credit and financing hurdles.

The charitable sector can help remove those barriers.

Foundations, for example, can invest in entrepreneurial and journalism education for Hispanics, says Jim Johnson, a co-author of the study.

And foundations and nonprofits can work with the Hispanic community to identify goods and services not available to them locally.

By finding ways to boost Hispanic spending and enterprise, nonprofits and foundations can help spur economic growth.

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

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