Letter from HF President: Investing In Our CBOs
When the Hispanic Federation opened its doors in 1990, one of the major issues confronting the Latino nonprofit sector was systematic inequity in funding to our communities from government, corporations and other philanthropies. Despite providing critical, community-based, culturally-competent services to Latinos across New York City, our social service network lacked access to funding for programs, capital improvements and training. All the while, our Latino population grew and the challenges it faced became more complicated.
For the better part of a quarter century, Hispanic Federation has dedicated itself to fixing this injustice. We have worked to increase funding to Latino nonprofits from private sector donors and philanthropic institutions. While it hasn’t always been easy, we have had our share of successes with our private sector and philanthropic partners, helping them to understand the ways in which their contributions and expertise can help our network. Government funding has been a more complicated issue. With dwindling budgets, many cities and states have found themselves making smaller investments in the nonprofit sector, Latino nonprofits included. In 2014, however, an important thing happened that gave us great hope for the future. The New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, took the proactive step of creating a unique program that invests in the nonprofit sector in the city’s communities and color. The Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (CCNSF) has not only provided financial support for our organizations, but also has empowered our communities by allowing us, in partnership with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, and four other coordinating organizations (New York Urban League, Black Agency Executives, Asian American Federation and Coalition for Asian American Children and Families) to be the grant-makers to these groups.
After a successful first year of funding, the City Council renewed its commitment to the CCNSF. Recently, the five coordinating organizations announced a new round of grant awards to 77 nonprofits in communities of color across New York. That’s 77 community-based organizations in our communities that will not only receive critically needed funds but also will benefit from a full range of technical assistance—including financial management training, board development planning, and more—that will strengthen them.
Our hope is that government leaders in other parts of the Hispanic Federation geographic footprint will take note of the success of the CCNSF and follow suit by creating similar funds to benefit communities of color. We’re ready when they are.