Why Aren’t Latinos Getting Grant Money in Boston?

The Boston Globe recently reported that only about one penny to every charitable foundation dollar goes to Latino organizations nationwide and only about two cents on the dollar in Massachusetts. However, this isn’t a statistic that Boston-area foundations take pride or comfort in. There are some serious imbalances in the grantmaking world, ones so glaringly obvious that they cannot be ignored any longer.

The Boston Foundation and Hispanics in Philanthropy both kicked in $250,000 back in 2012 to begin shifting this balance and establish the Latino Legacy Fund. Since then, some other individual and corporate donors, including John Hancock, Eastern Bank, and MFS Investment Management, have contributed as well. Overall, the fund has now collected about $800,000.

The fund originally wanted to hold off awarding grants until it reached the million dollar mark, but recently changed its mind to increase visibility of the fund and attract more donors. About 17.5 percent of Boston residents are Latino and many live below the poverty line.

So one of the first questions that comes to mind is, “Why aren’t Latinos getting grant money in Boston?”

It seems that a lot of it has to do with cultural norms and an overall lack of official organization. A certain attitude exists that encourages many Latinos to support the people and causes closest to them without looking too far outside that immediate circle.  

“Latinos have always been philanthropic,” said Aixa Beauchamp, a Latino Legacy Fund cofounder, “but a lot of them are focused on giving to friends, church, and local institutions in their neighborhood. We’re trying to encourage more organized philanthropy, and by organized I mean giving outside your circle to institutions and nonprofits.”

Not only does Beauchamp want to encourage local foundations to commit more to Hispanic causes, but also to encourage local Latino residents to become individual and family donors on their own. To raise this awareness right before the holidays, a time when charity is more on the forefront of everyone’s mind, the Latino Legacy Fund awarded the following five grants:

  • $25,000 to Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción to help families in the South End and Lower Roxbury access financial assistance for early childhood education and care
  • $25,000 to La Alianza Hispana to expand a home visitation program
  • $20,000 to The Nurtury for technology training for Latino family child care providers
  • $15,000 to Horizons for Homeless Children for professional development for its bilingual staff
  • $15,000 to the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. to support Latina educators

Based upon this first grant cycle, it seems that the greatest local Hispanic needs lie in care for children and the elderly and affordable housing for all Hispanics.

To get your nonprofit or family involved with this local cause, visit The Boston Foundation’s Latino Legacy Fund website to explore the options for planned gift, outright contributions, donor-advised funds, and succession plans for existing gift vehicles. You can also contact 617-338-1700 for more information.