In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to celebrate half a decade of achievement for the Hispanic Impact Fund, a signature program of Austin Community Foundation that works to build a stronger, more equitable Central Texas for our Hispanic families, friends, and neighbors. As we explore the history of the fund, starting from its official launch in 2017, we’ll also look ahead toward its fifth grants cycle—the largest to date, set to award half a million dollars to 16 nonprofits in December.
Why establish the Hispanic Impact Fund?
One in every three people in Central Texas identify as Latino—this means nearly one million Latinos now call this region home, with this figure expected to grow significantly in the next decade. Despite this growth, Latinos are being left out of Austin’s booming economy and the opportunities it presents due to systemic barriers in education, health, society, and the workforce. This perpetuates a racial wealth divide felt by many Latino families across generations.
You can learn more about this in our 2021 report that examines the landscape of economic mobility for Latino families through four critical areas: early childhood education, health and wellness, job skills and entrepreneurship, and leadership development. These impact areas were defined by community leaders to address the most pressing needs of the community through our grantmaking work, which provides unrestricted, general operating funding for local Latino-led and Latino-serving nonprofits.
Community Voice: Seeking Latino Perspectives
While data and statistics are a crucial part of the Hispanic Impact Fund’s work, they only tell part of the story. To holistically address the disparities in our community, ACF embarked on a journey to seek out Latino voices. We aimed to hear their stories, understand their needs, and work collaboratively to make a real impact. Listening to the community directly is essential to creating meaningful change.
This is why, while it has grown significantly, the Hispanic Impact Fund remains a community-led initiative stewarded by a passionate and active Steering Committee. Our collective-giving model continues to be at the heart of our identity, highlighting how every dollar raised contributes to our grantmaking and overall impact.
- Supporting Latino-led and Latino-serving organizations: The Hispanic Impact Fund has provided over 45 grants to 36 Latino-serving organizations, each working tirelessly to uplift and empower our Latino community.
- COVID-19 Response: The Hispanic Impact Fund awarded $70,000 in rapid-response grants in 2020. The challenges brought on by the pandemic informed our future strategies, emphasizing the importance of unrestricted, multi-year grant funding and the involvement of nonprofit voices throughout our work.
- Reports and Education: We’ve created two valuable reports and hosted numerous educational programs to promote awareness and understanding of the contributions and challenges Latinos face.
- Events and Celebrations: We’ve celebrated the vibrancy of Latino culture through events like Somos Austin and Latino Monologues y Dialogues.
- Over $1 Million in Grants: Since awarding $180,000 during our first grants cycle in 2018, the Hispanic Impact Fund has grown exponentially and proudly granted its one-millionth dollar in 2022.
Why Invest in the Hispanic Impact Fund?
Investing in our Central Texas Latino community is about addressing systemic barriers to build a brighter future for all of Austin. Our commitment to this vision drives our efforts every day.
Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or are hearing about the Hispanic Impact Fund for the first time, we invite you to be part of this collective effort to uplift and empower Latinos in Central Texas. If you’d like to join us, make your gift today.
Adiee Gonzales is the Program Manager of the Hispanic Impact Fund.
A note on terminology: In the United States, there is a complex discussion between the terms Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx for individuals of Latin American descent. And if you were born in Texas, there is an additional identifier — Tejano — that further adds to that complexity. These terms are valid because they represent real people and experiences across multiple generations. Each term is used by individuals and institutions alike to identify and collect data on white and non-white individuals across our community. For the purposes of this blog, we have adopted the terms Latino and Hispanic.