As the nation observes National Hispanic Heritage Month now through October 15, we recognize the histories, cultures, and accomplishments of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
National Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and, in 1988, it was expanded to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15. The date of September 15 is significant as it marks the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.
Hispanic Heritage Month also celebrates the long and increasing presence of Hispanics and Latinos in North America. According to the Pew Research Center, Latinos accounted for more than half (54%) of total U.S. population growth from 2000 to 2014. Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) is an organization that invests in Latino leaders and communities to build a more prosperous and vibrant America and Latin America. HIP has teamed with the Council on Foundations as well as a variety of other organizations to address the most pressing issues facing the growing Hispanic community.
Earlier this year, HIP announced that Ana Marie Argilagos would be succeeding Diana Campoamor as HIP’s president, on January 1, 2018. Ana Marie has worked extensively within the field of philanthropy. She is currently a senior advisor at the Ford Foundation. Prior to her role at Ford, she served as deputy chief of staff and deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and also spent eight years at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Earlier this month, Ana Marie shared her vision for the organization with the Council. In the exchange below, she discusses HIP’s mission of strengthening Latino equity, leadership, voice and more.
What is your vision for Hispanics in Philanthropy?
I'm spending most of my time talking to our network- doing a lot of listening, learning, understanding of our work. I know already, though, that HIP will continue to focus on its mission of strengthening Latino equity, leadership, and voice, as the organization has done so successfully for the last 30-plus years. We will continue supporting Latino leaders in philanthropy and in the nonprofits that are doing the work on the front lines. We will also continue advocating for smart, impact-driven investments in vulnerable communities in the U.S. and Latin America.
What will be among your priorities for HIP when you become president in 2018?
In 2018 we will be strengthening our existing partnerships to assure Latinos have a voice at the table when it comes to policy decisions, and, that we're helping guide strategic philanthropic investments. We will be forging new alliances with organizations and people that are championing social justice across race, class, and issue areas. No one can afford to work in silos anymore. Right now, when so many communities are vulnerable--communities of color, immigrants, low-income families, religious minorities, and others - we must and will invest in multi-issue social justice infrastructure building, civic engagement, and education so that we're empowering our communities to shape their own futures. I was pleased to see that a recurring theme at the recent CHANGE Philanthropy Summit and HIP will continue this work.
What are among the more pressing concerns for the Hispanic/Latino community? How will HIP address these concerns?
I'm very concerned about our Dreamers. The decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was heartbreaking. HIP is spearheading a campaign calling on Congress to take action to create protections for young undocumented immigrants. We're committed to continuing to fight for our Dreamers.
Also, I'm devastated by the natural disasters we have witnessed this month - the Hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and the recent earthquakes in Mexico. I was worried sick, unable to reach my family in Puerto Rico for days. One week after Maria hit and still 80% of the island's citizens have no electricity and 44% do not have access to drinking water. HIP launched an emergency fund on our crowdfunding platform HIPGive to collect donations that we can match and leverage. These are the times when it's so important for our community to come together to support each other.
To learn more about the work of Hispanics in Philanthropy, visit their website at hiponline.org.