Latino Community Foundation of Colorado launches $20M endowment campaign

A foundation created to invest in Colorado’s Latino community has launched a campaign to raise $20 million for an endowment intended to carry on its work for many years.

The Latino Community Foundation of Colorado celebrated its 15th anniversary Thursday with the announcement of its “One Community, One Legacy” campaign.

“It’s a $20 million endowment that will basically cement the organization and keep it around in perpetuity,” said Carlos Martinez, the foundation’s CEO.

The endowment will provide consistent funding and opportunities for people across the state, Martinez said.

The foundation said it has received commitments of $13 million toward the three-year campaign. The commitments include $5 million from the Colorado Health Foundation; $2.7 million from The S. Clement Trust; and $1 million from the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Colorado.

Martinez said the endowment will allow the foundation to invest in communities and organizations “year after year for generations to come.”

Seventeen families and four foundations joined together 15 years ago to start the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado. Martinez said they teamed up because only about 2% of philanthropic dollars go to the Latino community.

“They were able to pull together about $1 million. That was the initial impetus to get this organization off the ground,” Martinez added. “Fifteen years later, we’ve invested $13 million and helped leverage $50 million.”

The organization was “incubated” in the Rose Community Foundation, Martinez said, and went on to become only one of six stand-alone Latino community foundations in the country.

Martinez said it’s time for the foundation to elevate its work considering that Latinos are expected to be about a third of the population in 20 years and a growing part of the workforce.

“What we are doing now to prepare for the future is so we can ensure not just the Latino community, but that Colorado is strong,” Martinez said.

The state’s Latino population grew 21.6% to 1.26 million from 2010 to 2020, according to the state demography office. Those who identified Hispanic made up 21.6% of the population.

Latinos are expected to make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, up from 14% in 2005, the Pew Research Center said.

As the foundation invests in communities and organizations, Martinez said it will focus on efforts that will make systemic change.

“One of the things Latino communities and communities of color struggle with is that a lot of times the funding opportunities don’t align with the kind of work they want to do to really strengthen our communities,” Martinez said.

The foundation wants to make sure organizations and communities have the resources needed to carry out planning, build capacity and run operations, he added. “We invest in good leaders. They know best how to invest their dollars.”

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