Latino Nonprofit Leaders Take Center Stage In Tech-Inspired Accelerator Pitch Night

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The power, passion and energy of California Latino nonprofit leaders were out in full force in San Francisco this week when the Latino Community Foundation (LCF) held the first-of-its-kind Latino Nonprofit Accelerator to fund efforts to lift and inspire California’s 15 million Latinos.

The tech-inspired program is unparalleled in the nonprofit world, creating a huge source of much-needed resources for the organizations throughout California.  

LCF hosted the Accelerator’s first DEMO Day at the Grand Theater on Tuesday to showcase the brightest, most visionary Latino nonprofit leaders and their ideas for the future.  At the end of the evening, investors from the tech field, foundations, and donors awarded $65,000 on-the-spot grants to the nine groups who presented their vision and strategy for transforming the lives of Latino youth and families.

“Grassroots Latino leaders left their hearts on that stage,” said Masha Chernyak, vice president for programs and policy for LCF. “Tonight, we all saw that there is no shortage of vision, talent and passion in our community. All our nonprofits need is the loving support and access to funding.”

After nine powerful pitches delivered by the respective organizations’ leaders and the LCF hosts, all attendees cast votes on the best, most compelling pitches of the night. In addition to each organization receiving the on-the-spot awards of $5,000, the big winners were:

  • 1st Place: Jose Cordon from One Day at a Time who won a $25,000 general operating grant for ODAT, a group focused on empowering youth to lead positive lives in East Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties; Jose Cordon was a program participant that is now a Community Engagement Lead and,
  • 2nd Place: Roberto Alfaro from HOMEY from the Mission in San Francisco, who won two round trip tickets to anywhere in the world from Southwest Airlines and a $1500 vacation stipend.

Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO of LCF, said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after ODAT director Cordon delivered his pitch in a “spoken word” style.

“Our Latino nonprofit leaders have the love, creativity, passion and vision to transform communities and lead our state to a more equitable and just place where we can all thrive,” Garcel said. “Leaders like Jose Cordon have turned their pain into purpose and are now changing the destiny of thousands of other young people who grew up in neighborhoods like Jose’s.”

Cordon, clearly moved when he heard his name and organization announced as the winner, said, “It was an honor to represent ODAT at LCF’s Demo Day and a privilege to share the stage with such amazing leaders. Winning the $25,000 was a great moment, because I was able to partly return the favor for an organization that invested so much in me.”

While the pitch night culminated LCF’s first ever Accelerator cohort, LCF’s leadership said its work with this model is just getting started. The Accelerator program will be expanded in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley and Central Valley in 2019, Garcel said.

Tech Inspired Incubator Key to Nonprofit Funding
Modeled after the tech industry’s Incubator investment structure, the Latino Nonprofit Accelerator builds the leadership of the nonprofit organizations, secures resources to advance their mission and creates pathways for them to deepen their impact. Over the past year, LCF offered funding, mentorship, and training on marketing, fundraising, and communications skills. Support for this model came from Google.org, The San Francisco Foundation, Akonadi Foundation, and many others. So far, LCF has helped secure more than $1.3 million in funding to support the vision for social change carried out by these leaders and organizations.

Latino-led nonprofits are on the frontlines of unleashing the cultural, economic and civic power of their respective communities, yet only 1.1 percent of philanthropic dollars are invested in these organizations. In a state where Latinos are nearly 40 percent of the population, LCF is committed to changing this reality.

The organizations that participated in the pilot year of the Accelerator have already experienced breakthroughs through this work. Jacob Martinez, Founder of Digital Nest in Watsonville, has secured more than half a million dollars in new funding to help him scale a model that is creating a new generation of tech entrepreneurs along the Central Coast. These are the sons and daughters of farmworkers and who are now entering job opportunities that will change the destiny of their families for generations to come.

“The love, support and mentorship we have received through the Latino Nonprofit Accelerator, has taken our work to another level and as a result we are changing the course of history for the families of our farmworker community,” said Jacob.

“As a company that values equity, inclusiveness and diversity, we feel it’s important to shine a spotlight on the brilliant visionaries of the Latino community,” said Adrian Schurr from Google.org. “We are proud to support the Latino Community Foundation, the only statewide foundation investing in grassroots Latino leadership, on this groundbreaking initiative that merges the power of tech with positive social impact.”

The organizations participating in DEMO Day include Chicana Latina Foundation, CURYJ, Digital Nest, Faith in the Valley, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, HOMEY, ODAT, Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos, and SIREN.  These leaders focus on a range of issues from tech access to youth organizing. At the core of their work, they share the distinction of being trusted leaders for the Latino community. 

About Latino Community Foundation:
The Latino Community Foundation is on a mission to unleash the power of Latinos in California by investing in Latino-led organizations dedicated to the transformation of their communities. LCF has the largest network of Latino philanthropists in the country and has invested millions of dollars to improve the livelihood of Latino families. It is the only statewide foundation solely focused on investing in Latino youth and families in California.

SOURCE Latino Community Foundation

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