A recent study from Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) has been receiving a lot of attention from funders. Foundation Funding and Latino Community Priorities: Gaps and Opportunities was released as part of the HIP Gamechangers Campaign. The study explores the priorities of funders and grantees targeting the Latino community and compares the identified priority areas to what areas are actually being funded.
The report began with the controversial claim that even as the Latino population of the United States has grown to 16 percent of the total populations and 23 percent of all children and youth, only 1.3 percent of U.S. foundation spending between 1990 and 2009 targeted Latino programs and organizations. A report by the Foundation Center has also addressed the issue, and sought to clarify the definition of the word “targeted” and the methodology behind the claim, stating that the percentage “does not represent all giving awarded by foundations that may have benefited Hispanic and Latino communities. It represents only that giving that was clearly described as intended to benefit Hispanics or Latinos.” Furthermore, the Foundation Center report explained, “It is not possible, given available data, to determine exactly what percentage of grantmaking by U.S. foundations benefits Hispanic or Latino communities. Additional research would be needed to create a more comprehensive estimate.”
In the HIP study, funders and grantees both agreed on six top priorities ranked in roughly the same order: education, jobs/economic development and economic justice, immigration, civil rights/social justice, children and youth, and health. Despite the similarity in recognized priorities, funding levels varied greatly. Health was identified as a major funding area in 74 percent of philanthropic respondents, but only 25 percent of surveyed individuals identified it as a Latino community priority. Immigration was identified by both funders and grantees as a top three priority but was ranked tenth in grants by program areas.
HIP believes the mismatch between funding and community priorities is caused by institutional resistance from senior management in the philanthropic community, overly specific grantmaking strategies and program objectives, and the limited capacity and small size of nonprofits that serve the Latino community. To address these issues, HIP provided four key recommendations:
- Continue to conduct research and develop initiatives that address needs and opportunities in Latino communities in relation to specific grantmaking areas.
- Offer customized consulting services to help foundations develop strategies for reaching Latinos.
- Having long provided culturally competent technical assistance for grants to Latino groups, HIP should continue to provide capacity-building support and technical assistance for high-impact, grassroots Latino nonprofits, as it has demonstrated through the HIP Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities.
- Consider working with groups of funders to develop shared frameworks for tracking grantmaking data with realistic benchmarks for increasing funds benefiting Latinos over the next decade.
HIP also recommended to funders using the resources and information provided by the D5 Coalition to address issues in areas of leadership, action, funding, and data.
-Kaitlin Ostlie, MCF administrative assistant