As we continue #CelebratingImmigrants in June, we thought appropriate to take the opportunity to release this week, a document we have been working on for close to a year and focuses primarily on immigrants leading nonprofit organizations.
“Latino-Led and Latino-Serving Grassroots Organizations are Key to Georgia’s Future” is a research and data-based point of view on the ecosystem of nonprofit organizations serving the Latinx community in the state and how funding is allocated.
The document is based on 12 years of observation of the nonprofit and funding communities in Atlanta, a 2017 survey of 45 Latinx-serving organizations and data from the Foundation Center.
“Latino-Led and Latino-Serving Grassroots Organizations are Key to Georgia’s Future” presents strong evidence of the critical importance of these agencies in the development of local communities at the front-lines of civil rights protections, but also as vehicles for local workforce and leadership development.
Because of the particular demographics of the Latino community in Georgia and the Southeast, the majority of leaders of grassroots Latino-led agencies in Georgia happen to be immigrants or migrants from Puerto Rico, presenting both challenges and opportunities, with language limitations and access to funding networks yet have the ability to deeply connect with the families we serve not only geographically, but also on shared issues and experiences.
In summary, the document contrasts the reality of very little investment and support in our organizations led by immigrants and the incredible love and resilience grassroots leaders show to the community through their years of dedication, hard work and tenacity.
There is no greater love that giving ourselves, and these organizations are providing it and continuing to provide services against all odds.
Our key findings include:
- Latino-led organizations are usually majority-serving Latino organizations.
- Latino-led and majority Latino-serving organizations are seriously underfunded and undercapitalized with only two organizations close or passing the $1million dollar threshold.
- The majority of non-Latino led organizations serving a majority of Latino clients are church-based or religious ministries.
- Mainstream organizations with programmatic capacity and experience serve Latinos yet the share of Latinos compared with their primary clientele is on average less than 10%. An exception to this is when there is full-time dedicated Latino staff assigned to a program.
- Latino-led and majority Latino-serving organizations do not present significant growth or development past the adolescent or emerging stage. Organizations operating between 3-20 years show minimal differences in terms of budgets with very few exceptions.
- Latino-led and majority Latino-serving organizations are relying on special events and individual donations to sustain themselves. This may be because they have little capacity to afford a fundraising staff to diversify and expand revenue sources.
- There are very few Latino-led and majority Latino-serving nonprofit organizations in Georgia dedicated to stewarding Latino arts and culture due to financial constraints. There are, however, numerous local groups and circles of artists active across the state, sharing traditional expressions from their native countries through arts, folklore or dance.
Our recommendations include:
1- Invest in Latino-led, majority Latino-serving grassroots organizations.
2- Invite Latino already engaged in the local community to sit at your decision-making table.
3-Consider funding a network to focus on an issue as a way to build capacity and synergies.
4-Reduce barriers for grassroots organizations to access funding or understand grant-making processes.
We acknowledge that the data and focus are on organizations serving Latinos in Georgia, yet we also recognize that the recommendations and the findings may well apply to any organizations led and serving ethnic and minority communities.
Some of the key charts are included below: