Adela Cepeda has been a volunteer and donor at The Chicago Community Trust for more than 10 years. She has gained insight into how flexible yet strategic grant making can create a satisfying philanthropic experience.
From 2001-2011, Cepeda was a member of the Executive Committee, the Trust's governing board. She helped support long-term, complex projects that required effective collaboration among government agencies, community organizations and civic leaders to create systemic change.
Cepeda, who is the founder and president of financial advisory firm A.C. Advisory, Inc., also put her financial skills to work for the Trust. At the height of the recession in 2008 and 2009, she worked with the Trust's finance department to rebalance its investments and limit losses.
"That was some really challenging work, and, fortunately, the Trust was able to weather the market downturn and remain strong during this recession," she says. "Many nonprofit organizations are not surviving these difficult times. The Trust did, and the Trust is well positioned to gain assets."
No longer on the Executive Committee, Cepeda continues to work with the Trust through Nuestro Futuro, an identity-focused fund at the Trust she co-founded in 2003. She wanted to help cultivate philanthropy among Latinos and address the needs of Latino communities in the region. Since 2006, Nuestro Futuro has awarded more than $1.4 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that provide Latinos with vital services.
"The Trust is a thriving organization today because it's been built on a solid foundation of nearly 100 years. This is precisely the organization you want to be part of because you know it's going to outlive you. There aren't a lot of organizations that will."