Linda Medina-Lopez is passionate about creating a brighter future for Latinos. She is chair of Somos Austin 2021, the annual fundraising campaign for the Hispanic Impact Fund, a giving network and program of Austin Community Foundation. The Hispanic Impact Fund invests in the economic security and advancement of Latinos in Central Texas.
As the chair of Somos Austin, Linda has led a 40-person host committee toward raising $355,000 for the Fund’s next grant cycle. You can learn more about the Somos Austin 2021 digital campaign at SomosAustin.org
Unlocking opportunity for Latinos touches many, if not all aspects of your life. Where does this passion come from?
“Growing up in a single-parent household, education was a priority. I saw firsthand how it provides a lifetime of economic opportunities. Going to college not only changes the life of that individual but the family legacy for generations to come. At a young age, I told myself that I wanted to help improve the lives of Latinos through the power of education. Fast forward, now I’m doing exactly that through my work at the College Board and my service to the community.”
What compelled you to start YHPAA?
“I moved from El Paso to Austin in 2002. I was so excited to be in this brand-new city, but there wasn’t the strong social network that there is today. It was difficult to find like-minded individuals in one place. I was also at a point in my career that I wanted to grow professionally and to give back to my new community. I started seeing statistics about how Austin was the #1 place for young professionals and Hispanics, and I thought I needed to do something about this. So, finally I had that moment of clarity and decided to go for it. In 2006, I founded the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin (YHPAA). In its 15th year, YHPAA has provided professional development and networking for many young professionals. It has also awarded more than 35 college scholarships for high school students to pursue their dreams.”
How did you become involved in the Hispanic Impact Fund?
“I got to learn more about Austin Community Foundation when I was invited to participate in the 2019 Somos Austin host committee. When I attended my first reception, I was amazed by not only the funds raised but the people behind it. Afterwards, I decided to get more involved. I wanted to bring my background, network, and expertise to the Hispanic Impact Fund; to help take it to the next level. I’m so proud to chair this event. Working with Austin Community Foundation has been wonderful, but my favorite part has been introducing Somos Austin and the Hispanic Impact Fund to so many people that hadn’t heard of it before. Now we can all engage in this collective network, and we will make an impact together for our Central Texas community.”
What do the words Somos Austin mean to you?
“Somos Austin emphasizes that we live here, we give here, and we support one another. There are so many individuals that come from different cities and with different backgrounds, but when we come together, great things happen. To me, it’s more like a family. We take care of each other, and we are there for our fellow Latinos. If it’s not us then who, if it’s not now then when.”