By Karen Gutiérrez and Benjamin Neufeld
The Latino Community Foundation of Colorado celebrated its 15th anniversary at the Denver Art Museum on October 13. The festive event featured food and live music as leaders from various organizations connected to Colorado’s Latino community gathered to celebrate 15 years of progress.
Carlos Martínez, Chief Executive for the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC), also used the event as an opportunity to launch the “One Community. One Legacy,” campaign.
The campaign aims to create a self-sustaining $20 million endowment fund, which will generate enough interest each year to fund future projects well into the future.
“I know it’s bold. I know it’s courageous,” said Martínez of the ambitious $20 million number. However, he revealed, “we have already raised $13 million.”
The LCFC, one of only six Latino community foundations in the country, was created 15 years ago by a group of Latino families who wanted to promote Latino-led organizations, cultivate leaders, and provide education on philanthropy.
“Throughout our history we have been supporting our leaders, non-profit organizations, and different Latino organizations throughout Colorado to realize a new vision in their communities and support them, so that they can have the resources and opportunities to live a healthy life and also contribute to their community,” said Martínez.
“I’m quite humbled and so thankful for this prestigious award. My passion for this work stems from a childhood shaped by watching my mother help Mexican immigrant families integrate and settle into our small, farming community in rural Colorado.”
Cecilia Sánchez de Ortiz
Cecilia Sánchez de Ortiz was presented with the Philanthropist of the Year Award. Sánchez de Ortíz has worked for 50 years to support, empower and support the economic development of the Latino community. Martínez praised Sánchez de Ortiz for her generosity and exemplary philanthropic efforts in the Latino community.
“I’m quite humbled and so thankful for this prestigious award,” said Sánchez de Ortiz. “My passion for this work stems from a childhood shaped by watching my mother help Mexican immigrant families integrate and settle into our small, farming community in rural Colorado. What I took away from those experiences was a simple message of courage and belief in working for what’s fair for all.”
The organizations and leaders the LCFC Foundation supports expressed a similar feeling of gratitude for the valuable help they have received, which has allowed them to support and empower Latino communities throughout Colorado.
“We have dedicated ourselves to supporting students,” said Fryda Faugier Ferreira, Program Manager of Juntos2College. She explained their efforts in working to create job opportunities and life building skills. “This is how organizations like LCFC allow us to continue helping [students],” said Faugier Ferreira.
Despite additional challenges for those involved with the DACA program, “Nothing is impossible,” said Faugier Ferreira. “Even if you are undocumented, anything is possible. If you want to do something, we will support you.”
María Dolores del Campo, a community leader from Fort Morgan, Colorado, said that she wanted to work with the Latino Community Foundation because, “I was looking for [people] who thought and felt the same as me, who wanted the Latino community to come out.” Campo develops educational programs to support Latino community members learning English as a second language, tutoring programs for ESL children, and food aid programs so that community members can help support each other’s needs. She also added, “I want the Latino community to stand out, educate themselves, open doors and give back to the community.”
Since their founding in 2007, LCFC has invested more than $13 million in Colorado’s Latino communities. They have helped more than 2,000 local leaders and 150 non-profit organizations.
To make donations or learn more about the “One Community. One Legacy,” campaign, visit latinocfc.org/legacy.
Karen Gutiérrez is an Independent Reporter, and Benjamin Neufeld is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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