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Case Study: The Castellano Family Foundation Creates a Blueprint for Change | 5 Shifts

Center equity rather than your experience.

Latinx communities comprise more than one-quarter of the Bay Area population. When compared to their white counterparts, this growing demographic of Californians experiences widening disparities in income, education, health, and housing. These gaps are exacerbated by longstanding and persistent lack of access to philanthropic dollars among Latinx nonprofit leaders and Latinx-focused organizations. Barely 2% of private foundation CEOs are of Latinx heritage. Latinx groups receive approximately 1% of all philanthropic investment, a proportion that has not changed since data gathering began decades ago.

The Castellano Family Foundation’s (CFF’s) bold vision for closing this gap has spurred local philanthropies to invest more in Latinx-led nonprofits. CFF’s “Blueprint for Change” provided the field with a data-backed understanding of the funding gap while articulating the business case for investing in Latinx-led groups. CFF and Silicon Valley Community Foundation created the LatinXCEL Fund with the goal of aggregating $10 million over three years to support Santa Clara and San Mateo county-based Latinx nonprofits advancing equity and social justice through advocacy and movement-building.

Armando Ramon Castellano, a CFF trustee, used his connections to encourage other donors to invest in the fund. In mobilizing peer funders, he suggests: “Give first, then learn, then give more.” This recommendation came from Grove Foundation Chair Karen Grove, a white ally who has openly embraced DEI to transform her foundation. Castellano advocates leveraging white allies’ support but then “making the decisions ourselves, coming to the solutions ourselves, and funding them.” 

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