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?
“I grew up in a single-parent household and I realized that education was a priority pretty early on. Not only did I see firsthand how education can change lives, but I also saw all the people behind the scenes that made it possible. I decided that I wanted to be a part of that team that helped make it all possible.”
What compelled you to start YHPAA?
“It wasn’t until I moved to Austin in 2002 that I realized how difficult it was to find like-minded individuals. I was so excited to be in this brand-new city, but there wasn’t the strong social network that there is today. The only way you could meet people was through in-person events. The first two years were challenging because I really needed to be around like-minded individuals. That’s why I started the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin (YHPAA) – I realized there wasn’t an organization for young professionals. I started seeing statistics about how Austin was the #1 place for young professionals and Hispanics, and I thought, I need to find these people! So, in 2005 I had that moment of clarity and decided to do something. YHPAA became my priority.”
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. The event was stellar! Afterward, I decided I wanted to become more involved. I wanted the chance to bring my background, network, and expertise to the Hispanic Impact Fund; I want 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.”
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 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.”