Helping to Fund the Future

Diana Campoamor speaking with Guatemalan grantees funded by HIP.

Working with foundations that donate to nonprofits, Hispanics in Philanthropy uses its network to move bigger and better investments into Latino communities

hip By the Numbers

$40 million+
The value of grants and technical assistance provided by HIP to Latino nonprofits

630
Groups HIP has funded

170+
Funders supporting Latino nonprofits through HIP

35
Latino CEOs of foundations and corporate giving programs

Thirty years ago, Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) started like many of the community organizations it supports today. A group of 14 people identified a need and chose to be proactive. Their goal today, as it was then, is to encourage foundations, whose combined giving a year is more than $20 billion, to make bigger and better investments in Latinos and Latin America.

Much like a grassroots effort, HIP went through some growing pains before perfecting the grant-making process by which it has raised more than $40 million to date. “We began as a group of volunteers, and our aim was to have more representation on the boards and staff of potential donor organizations because we thought that would earn us more grants,” says Diana Campoamor, HIP’s president since 1990. Finding success in building a network of funders and a “talent bank” from which foundations and nonprofits can draw when staffing influential positions, HIP’s winning formula has been a combination of direct and indirect support to facilitate strong Hispanic communities.

One of the first recipients of HIP’s grant making was Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB), a group committed to protecting the rights of indigenous Mexicans in Mexico and the United States. A testament to HIP’s success at fostering the growth of such Latin-serving groups, FIOB has grown from a five- to six-figure budget, and its binational director, Rufino Dominguez, earned recognition as a Ford Foundation Fellow. “Often the greatest utility for our time and money is to influence the behavior of people who have a hand in public policy or how funding is distributed,” Campoamor says.

By 2000, despite having raised $40 million over 17 years, Campoamor and the HIP directors decided that there was yet untapped potential they needed to seize if they were to maximize the impact of their fundraising efforts. While large national donors were contributing valuable dollars to after-school tutoring, affordable housing, mobile health clinics, and even theatre troupes, connections had never been fostered between community organizations and small local funders operating in their footprint.

With the creation of the Funders’ Collaborative, half of local donors’ funds are matched by national donors to improve the leadership and operations of Latino-serving projects and organizations. “When we started the Funders’ Collaboration, we hoped to generated a pool of $5 million,” Campoamor says. “That seemed like a stretch.”

With only a staff of five and a budget of less than $400,000, HIP surpassed that goal eight times over and more than tripled its own size.

Campoamor says HIP is beginning to look beyond traditional fundraising channels by exploring crowd funding. Through websites such as Kiva.org and Razoo.com—which broaden the reach of projects and organizations seeking funding by opening up their appeal to anyone with an Internet connection and a credit card—HIP can continue to draw from the national partners and attract new support from individuals of all socioeconomic means.

“At the end of the day, we’re a network of people who work in foundations that give money to nonprofits,” Campoamor says. “Our job is to use that network to move bigger and better investments into Latino communities.”

HIP and its benefactors are in the business of meeting challenges, but one that Campoamor says is central to the sustainability of HIP and the life of Hispanic communities everywhere is perception. “Often we have not seen ourselves as people of abundance or philanthropists,” she explains. Through its capacity building campaigns and emphasis on strong, self-sufficient Latino communities and organizations, Campoamor hopes to cultivate a consciousness that Latinos are “givers,” even if not monetarily.

“The first thing we have to do is change our perception of ourselves, then the world around us changes,” Campoamor says. “It’s not just about having billions of dollars. It’s about the heart and the ability to connect with others and share.”