A Circle of Sharing: LatinasGive!

Laura Bond

The women of LatinasGive! come together to create change.

For Marlene De La Rosa, philanthropy is a natural extension of what it means to be a Latina. "Our culture dictates that giving is part of life," she says. "Many of us come from very humble beginnings, which give us an understanding of how a little sacrifice can go a long way."

De La Rosa is an original member of LatinasGive!, Colorado's first Latina philanthropic giving circle, which is dedicated to "serving our community through the use of our time, talents, and testimony and strategically donating our money to have maximum impact on organizations serving the Latino community," De La Rose explains. 

LatinasGive! is one of three groups in The Denver Foundation's Giving Circle Initiative and part of an intentional effort to deepen, leverage, and grow philanthropy within communities of color. 

Since its founding in 2014, LatinasGive! has invested more than $33,000 in community organizations including arts, education, immigration, and financial groups. In 2017, grantees included Adelante Community Services, Denver Inner City Parish, and the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation. 

"The most significant challenge is that the need is so great," says Camila Lara, who currently co-chairs the group with De La Rosa. "There are so many outstanding ideas and projects that can benefit the community. We need and want to increase our ability to support them, which will come from continued outreach and recruitment."

Lara says a grant made to Denver North High School's basketball program in 2015 is a good example of both the short- and long-term impact of the group's work. 

"Our support was used to inspire young men, primarily Latinos, to become better athletes, be involved in their community, and learn about being involved in opportunities in college," she says. "We heard that 100 percent of the participants graduated and that these young men return after graduation to help other students with their participation in the program."

Lara and De La Rosa believe experiences like these will continue to drive the growth and momentum of their group, which now claims 30 members. 

"The best part about our grantmaking is that we can support organizations and projects we are excited about, together," says De La Rosa. "Also, spending time talking about the issues that face our community, to celebrate one another's successes, and to do our grantmaking is all truly therapeutic."

For more information on LatinasGive! and other giving circles, please visit denverfoundation.org or call Sarah Harrison, 303.300.1790 ext 134.

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