Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. The event, which spans from September 15 to October 15, commemorates how those communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large.
A home for all philanthropists, The Denver Foundation is host to a number of giving circles founded upon a variety of affinities and identities. Among those, you’ll find two circles deeply-rooted and actively invested in Latino communities across Metro Denver and Colorado, LatinasGive! and Latinos Impacting our Future Together (L.I.F.T.).
LatinasGive! and L.I.F.T. work in concert. Last year, the groups held a joint grant celebration inviting grantees to join them for food, music, and a ceremony acknowledging each organization’s contributions to the community. Amidst a pandemic, this year such a celebration won’t be possible, as both circles have pivoted into online meetings in pursuit of their philanthropic goals. “It’s been hard because giving and philanthropy is such a feel-good, from the heart thing, missing out on that interaction of meeting in-person has been very challenging,” says Marlene DeLaRosa, LatinasGive! Co-Chair.
(Members of LatinasGive! and L.I.F.T. at their joint grant celebration in November 2019. From left to right: Hector Heredia, Camila Lara, Fermin Chavaria, Marlene DeLaRosa.)
However, a change in the landscape has brought even more alignment to the goals of LatinasGive! and L.I.F.T. During this year’s grant application process the groups will be comparing notes on potential grantees, “if we’re seeing alignment in our decisions then we can partner and combine our grantmaking efforts,” explains L.I.F.T. Chair Fermin Chavaria.
Going above and beyond what the circles will give this fall through their annual grants process, LatinasGive! made COVID-19 responsive grants to Action Youth, Latina SafeHouse, and Alianza NORCO. In May, L.I.F.T. partnered with the Pinehurst Sanger Foundation to donate $3200 to families in need of support due to the coronavirus from Denver North High School.
And since April, DeLaRosa has been asking members of both groups for small donations. The money goes to provide items like fresh eggs and personal hygiene items to the GES (Globeville, Elyria-Swansea) Coalition who have been putting together Community Care Packages for 100 families in these neighborhoods of North Denver. “It’s not a lot, it’s about $75 every other week, and we picked eggs because that’s what we were told they needed fresh,” says DeLaRosa.
The Globeville Elyria-Swansea area is a food desert, meaning there is little to no access to fresh groceries, so even something as simple as a dozen eggs is a meaningful addition to these care packages. In September, L.I.F.T. Co-Chair Ben Williamson, Founder of Power Pops Protein made a $2,000 in-kind donation of his snack product to the GES Coalition to also be included in packages.
Yet COVID-19 isn’t the only health and socio-economic crisis being endured at this moment in history. This summer LatinasGive! shared a letter of solidarity with the Black community on social media, signing the letter, “Tu lucha es mi lucha. Your struggle is my struggle.”
LatinasGive! and L.I.F.T. have recognized demands for racial equity and justice for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. In response, LatinasGive! and L.I.F.T. are in communication with another giving circle housed at The Denver Foundation (Denver African American Philanthropists/DAAP), and two groups at the Women’s Foundation of Colorado (Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs/SPIN and Beyond our Borders) to strategize on ways these groups can support each other.
“We want to figure out how we can be more impactful. We’re going to give of ourselves, not only to our own communities but to all communities that are suffering. We want to grow not only our pool of resources but our philosophies as well and be strategic with our philanthropy as all giving circles should,” said DeLaRosa.
LatinasGive! and L.I.F.T. will be announcing their 2020 grantees later this fall, and we look forward to learning more about their investments. You can keep up with the work of both groups connecting with them on social media LatinasGive! Denver and L.I.F.T. Giving Circle on Facebook.
Founded in 2014, LatinasGive! is Denver’s first Latina giving circle with a charitable fund at The Denver Foundation. Working together as philanthropists, LatinasGive! members pool their resources, harnesses their talent, and invests their time and money with purpose and meaning in our community. As the group enters its sixth year of grantmaking, they’ll eclipse a milestone $100,000 invested into the Metro Denver Latino community. Questions can be sent to LatinasGiveDenver@gmail.com.
About Latinos Impacting Our Future Together (L.I.F.T.)
Inspired by LatinasGive!’s transformative philanthropy the L.I.F.T. giving circle was launched in 2019 to support and empower communities in Colorado by elevating Latino identity, culture, and awareness through philanthropy and partnership. Expanding upon its mission, L.I.F.T. focuses on supporting and mentoring future generations of Latino philanthropists, actively recruiting young men to be members and leaders of the group. Visit liftgc.com for more information.
To learn more about the Foundation’s Elevating Philanthropy in Communities of Color (EPIC) program or how to start your own giving circle, please contact Genevieve Laca at email@example.com.