Monday, May 4, 2009

Hispanics in Philanthropy celebrate

Soledad O'Brien, Anthony Romero and Other Latino Leaders Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Hispanics in Philanthropy
Press Release

NEW YORK, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the evening of Thursday, April 23, Hispanics in Philanthropy, a network of funders committed to Latino communities, celebrated its 25th anniversary with an event at the Time Warner Center overlooking Central Park.

"It's because of organizations like Hispanics in Philanthropy that our Latino communities across America can feel empowered for real social change," said Soledad O'Brien, CNN anchor and special correspondent, and one of five guests honored that evening. "I am honored to be chosen as one of HIP's distinguished Latina honorees. As a journalist who so often reports on people in need, the least I can do is shed some light on these important stories that need to be told."

The theme of the event was "Cambio" (change). Five leaders were honored with the HIP Leadership Award for sowing meaningful social change in Latino communities. Time Warner Inc. hosted the sold-out event, which attracted 150 foundation CEOs, philanthropic and corporate leaders, and nonprofit managers. "The significance of this moment and the theme 'Cambio' are not lost on me," said Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Time Warner. "The country has voted for change, and we can help lead that change with one united Latino voice."

The other recipients of the HIP Leadership Award were Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union; Lin-Manual Miranda, star, creator & composer of the Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights; Luis Ubinas, president of the Ford Foundation; and Linda Griego, CEO of Griego Enterprises and a trustee of the Packard Foundation.

"When Diana started Hispanics in Philanthropy 25 years ago, Hispanics were an invisible minority, unseen and unheard in the philanthropic world," said Ubinas, the first Latino President of the Ford Foundation. "Hispanics in Philanthropy deserves credit for opening doors and for raising the question, how can business and government [continue to diversify]." Ubinas noted that several large foundations are now led by Latinos.

The honorees spoke of the importance of giving back to their communities and working for social change. O'Brien said her parents taught her "first to succeed in education and then to turn around and help others with the chances we'd been given."

Several honorees shared personal histories and family life stories that influenced their careers and their commitment to social change. Growing up in New York, Lin-Manuel Miranda said that he was either "the Puerto Rican kid" at the private elementary school he attended in Manhattan or "the kid with the gringo accent" in Washington Heights. He described his experience at Wesleyan University as "the first time that I was with other kids who were straddling American culture and Latino culture just as much as myself... and it gave me permission to write [In the Heights]. The irony of all of this, and feeling like I never fit into any community, is that I really created that community out on stage. Through the success of that show, I get to be in a room of people whose work I admire so greatly. I am honored to be recognized with these illustrious people who do so much for people with so little."

Anthony Romero was introduced by Dr. Natalia Kanem, president of ELMA Philanthropies, who called Romero a "legend in his own time" and said that his leadership of the ACLU had helped keep the United States safe and free in the years following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Romero, who was an active member of HIP before he took the helm of the ACLU, said that HIP and the evening's honorees epitomized the values of leadership, giving, and connecting. Reuniting with colleagues and friends from HIP reminded him of a saying his grandmother had told him growing up: Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres. ("Tell me who you walk with, and I'll tell you who you are.") Romero said, "And so the fact that I walk with HIP and all of you tonight is an incredible blessing and privilege if in fact it tells you who I am."

In addition to Time Warner, other sponsors of the event included the Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation(R), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Wal-Mart.

The event was part of an ongoing celebration of the 25th anniversary of Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), a network of funders committed to increasing resources for Hispanic communities in the U.S. and Latin America. Over the past 25 years, HIP has raised nearly $38 million, brought together 163 funding partners, and supported nearly 500 Latino nonprofits in the U.S. and Latin America.

HIP was founded in 1983 when a handful of Latinos working in philanthropy recognized the value of coming together to encourage greater investments in Hispanic communities. More than twenty-five years later, HIP is an active network of more than 550 philanthropic leaders that has supported communities, leaders and organizations across the United States and Latin America.

SOURCE Hispanics in Philanthropy

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