What if we invested in nonprofits the way we do in startups?
What if we gave our grassroots leaders access to world class fundraising coaches and branding experts? What if they had time to pause and dream?
We could create strong institutions led by those closest to the pain and to the solutions. Our nonprofits would be able to share their authentic stories. They could define their own measurements for success. They could jump out of the hamster wheel of endless fundraising to strategize and to build. They could have the power and resources to stay on mission and ensure their staff are thriving, not just surviving. They would stand taller and be bolder in their advocacy.
You don’t have to imagine any longer. At the Latino Community Foundation (LCF), we have made this investment and we have seen the results.
In 2017, LCF launched the first-ever Latino Nonprofit Accelerator, a groundbreaking capacity building initiative designed to help grassroots organizations level up their fundraising and branding game over the course of 16 months.
In a philanthropic landscape in which these organizations are chronically under-resourced, the Accelerator participants gain access to world class fundraising, marketing, and design expertise that helps them tell their stories, attract new investments, and build a beloved community that dreams together. The organizations receive a range of support, including:
- Year-long support from a 1:1 fundraising coach
- Year-long support to build dynamic and well-designed collateral
- Funding and access to philanthropic leaders and donors
- Four retreats grounding leaders in culture, healing, and grassroots fundraising training
- High-quality photography assets and new branding (websites, logos, brochures)
- A platform to grow the organization’s visibility and to pitch at Demo Day
Even more important than the skills they gain, Accelerator participants develop new connections across the sector and grow their confidence to tell their authentic stories and attract the investments they deserve. Most of all, they no longer feel alone in this work. Building an organization, while fundraising for all the pieces you need is exhausting. Leaders feel loved, supported, and understood in their struggle. This changes everything.
Today, the Accelerator groups see each other as a community driven by love and shared purpose. They are increasingly rejecting the narrative that they are in competition for very scarce resources. They start rooting for each other.
So far, we’ve been blown away by the impact of this initiative. In our most recent cohort which accompanied Latino nonprofits leaders through the onset of the COVID pandemic, leaders report greater confidence from their stunning collateral, new websites, and a more succinct story of who they are. They feel stronger, more confident in what they have achieved and where they want to go. To date, the nine groups have already leveraged $5 million of funding for their work.
Here are some direct testimonials:
“On a personal level, the ability to believe in myself as a fundraiser has been career-altering…maybe even life-changing" - La Luz Center
“We all found a new piece of our voice and more confidence in our abilities and in owning our impact. LCF’s kind of love is transformational, healing, and gives us the strength to persevere.” - Fresno Barrios Unidos
“What changed the most was being validated - that what we are doing is indeed unique and valued by LCF and can also be valued by other funders. Of course having a one-pager with fantastic photos filled with energy and inspiration was great fuel, but feeling like you have our back is priceless.” - Prospera
Latino nonprofit leaders have often told me that they feel forgotten by mainstream philanthropy, and the data backs this up. According to the latest D5 Coalition Report, only 1.1% of philanthropic dollars are invested in Latino-led nonprofits even though Latinos make up 18% of the U.S. and 40% of California, where LCF is based.
LCF exists to change this. We give visibility to the brilliance that exists at our grassroots. We connect donors to nonprofits, advocates with key decision-makers, and visionaries with each other. With more than 500 members in 22 Latino Giving Circles across California, we host the largest network of Latino philanthropists in the nation and have grounded all of our work in values of love, trust, and respect. We are here, building a new model for philanthropy.
Meet the Nonprofits
If we want to see real social change, we must recognize, love, and support the people doing the extraordinary work on the ground.
We have partnered with Giving Compass to highlight the people, culture, and communities working together toward a shared vision of prosperity for the Latino community. The photos you’ll see in this series are from the Accelerator cohorts and features a range of organizations, including: Dev/Mission, Nuestra Casa, Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, Prospera, and many more.
Donors interested in supporting LCF will be supporting a commitment to grassroots organizations, accelerating change, and increasing capacity for visionary Latino leaders to build success.