FuturoFund started in 2009 in Austin, Texas as a way for a group of Latino professionals to make a tangible difference in their community. FuturoFund’s basic premise is a charitable giving circle, in which each “member” donates a set amount of money, and then helps decide which non-profit organizations will receive the subsequent grants.
FuturoFund has prioritized making grants to organizations making a positive impact in the Latino community, and, perhaps even more importantly, organizations that include Latinos in the leadership of the organization.
“We started FuturoFund as a way to change the conversation about Latinos in our community, from one of deficits, to one of solutions,” Priscilla Cortez, one of the organization’s founding members told NewsTaco. ”We knew many people in our Latino community are passionate and possess resources to support our community philanthropically, but no one was engaging them. So we thought, let’s do it ourselves and see what happens.”
Earlier this month, FuturoFund awarded a $10,000 grant to the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition so that the organization could develop its Human Rights Leadership Development Program. Then, AVANCE-Austin won $30,000 for its parenting services in North Austin. Cortez, and fellow co-founder Brie Franco told NewsTaco that in the past, other grants given through the program have included: arts programs, home ownership programs, literacy and immigrant services.
“Since FuturoFund members choose the ultimate winner of the grants, it’s fascinating to see the priorities we are emphasizing. But even better is to see how the organizations take the donation and really pay it forward in our community,” Franco said.
Efforts like this, even on a local level, are extremely important given recent reports that philanthropy on a national level practically excludes Latinos. Specifically, a recent report noted that less than 1% of funding reaches Latino communities. Even then, most of this funding hit larger metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Francisco, and New York City.
Thus, an organization like FuturoFund serves to not just fund community organizations, but really, provide funding that would very likely not come from anywhere else. Which is to say, to help provide services for Latinos that might not otherwise be provided.
And, perhaps most importantly, becoming a member of FuturoFund is relatively easy (provided you have several hundred dollars to donate, of course). The essence of the organization is one of inclusion, Cortez and Franco told us, thus the more the merrier. In fact, one of the biggest surprises for the founders of FuturoFund is how diverse their membership has become. “Although we have always said that this effort is about making an impact in the Latino community, this is resonating with all kinds of people. Our membership includes people of all races, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds,” Cortez told us.
FuturoFund’s 2011 grants were just awarded, but any time is a good time to join FuturoFund, they said because, behind the philanthropy, is a broader effort to develop leadership and community investment. For more information about FuturoFund, visit their website.