“We’re looking to lean into our culture,” Guille Gil-Reynoso said by way of explaining the formation of a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit philanthropy group, the Latino Giving Circle. Citing the tradition of community giving within Latino culture, Gil-Reynoso said that she got together with two friends, Teresa Alvarez and Arcelia Sencion, in late 2019 to form the local group.
Inspired by the Latino Community Foundation in San Francisco that helps organize regional Latino Giving Circles, the three women met with other Latino professionals in the Santa Barbara area, including Carpinteria, with backgrounds in education, business and government. The Santa Barbara County group now has 16 members.
The group selected the 805Undocufund to be the recipient of its initial fundraising effort because when Covid-19 hit, Gil-Reynoso, Alvarez, Sencion and others in their group felt a sense of “urgency in support of the Latino community that has been impacted in disproportionate ways” by the pandemic, Gil-Reynoso said.
“We felt supporting Undocufund805 met our very direct goal of supporting Latino-led organizations,” Gil-Reynoso stated, “… so they can continue doing this tough and challenging work.” Gil-Reynoso also said that Undocufund805’s Latino leadership provided the organization with the cultural competency to be effective within the Latino community.
“Less than one percent of philanthropy goes to Latino causes,” Gil-Reynoso said. “How do you begin to look at that?” By organizing across the state of California, Latinos have the means to determine better outcomes for communities across the entire spectrum of society. By bringing together other Latino professionals—Gil-Reynoso, advancement and communications manager at Cate School, Teresa Alvarez, associate director at Carpinteria Children’s Project and Arcelia Sencion, associate director of Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA)—have begun the work of strengthening the local Latino community.
Through “civic engagement,” Gil-Reynoso said, “we stand together, support each other and strengthen each other.” She “believes in a leadership aspect” of the Latino Giving Circle, “serving as a resource for community in developing a leadership pipeline.”
Gil-Reynoso invites community members to join the Latino Giving Circle. A Latino Giving Circle celebration and conversation will be held online on Aug. 5 at 5:30 p.m. Registration is at: sta-barbara-lgc.eventbrite.com. For more information, email Latinogivingcircle@gmail.com.