The Latino Giving Circle is a busy group these days: evaluating grant applications, recruiting new members and developing expertise about critical issues affecting Latino communities in the region.
But just two years ago, this identity-focused fund at the Trust was on the verge of shuttering its fund. Until Phillip Jiménez stepped in.
Founded in 2006, LGC harnesses the power of collective philanthropy. Members pool their donations and award grants to nonprofits that address the needs of Latino residents. After a few years, however, LGC stopped making grants and membership declined. As a result, members considered closing the fund in March 2012.
"It didn't sit well with me to consider closing down a giving circle in Chicago when we have such a significant Latino population," says Jiménez, president and CEO of the West Cook YMCA.
Jiménez stepped forward to help rejuvenate the group, sparking a renewed commitment among members. He challenged the group to raise $10,000 and recruit 30 new members by the end of the year to keep LGC active.
By the end of the year, they'd raised $12,000 (including a leadership gift from Jiménez and his wife Beatriz) and grown to 35 members.
To prepare for future growth, LGC developed a new leadership structure that emphasizes diversity and fresh perspectives. They also created a Speaker Series, featuring civic and community leaders helping to educate LGC members about pressing issues that affect Latinos.
A renewed energy pulsates through LGC today. It awarded $30,000 over the last two years to help Latinos in the region thrive and prosper.
"It has truly been an honor to work alongside a committed group of professionals focused on improving the Latino landscape," Jiménez says. "It gives me a great deal of orgullo ("pride" in Spanish) to know that LGC is poised for growth and success."
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