After years of planning, a fund has been created by and for Latinos at Grand Rapids Community Foundation. Somos Comunidad Fund was created by community members who participated in committees and listening sessions. Committee members seek to reimagine philanthropy, guided by the voices of Kent County’s Latinx communities.
Through grantmaking, the fund will invest in efforts which allow for the transformation of Latinx communities, untapping the potential to move Latinx communities forward. As part of the fund’s launch, the committee has recommended grant awards to 21 organizations serving Latinx communities.
“Somos Comunidad speaks to the unity of Latinx communities, and how we as a collective see the world. We really believe that ‘it takes village,’” said Carlos Sanchez, Somos Comunidad Fund chair. “The initial grants are a signal of what this fund will be—a Latinx-centric fund.”
The Community Foundation made an establishing gift of $250,000 to the Somos Comunidad Fund. The fund’s committee volunteers will decide how resources will be used for the pursuit of racial, social, and economic justice within Latinx West Michigan communities.
To balance the need for immediate investment in community with the impact that endowment can bring to long term systemic change, committee members decided to use initial funds received for both the fund’s endowment and pass-through grantmaking. New donations to the fund will support the fund's endowment, as well as provide resources for immediate grantmaking.
In coming months, committee members will focus the fund’s grantmaking priorities through a community listening and engagement process. To demonstrate the importance of disrupting historic power dynamics within philanthropy, moving forward the committee will prioritize grant partnerships with Latinx-led initiatives.
“This is the Community Foundation’s centennial year. As we enter our second century of service to Kent County, we are continuing to shift power and more deeply engage community members,” said Diana Sieger, president. “Volunteers have guided and created this fund and will lead its decision-making and impact.”
Learn more about Somos Comunidad or support the fund at GRFoundation.org/SomosComunidad.