The Latino population reached a record high of 55.4 million in 2014 (or 17.4% of the total US population). With a median age of 29 years, the Latino community is younger, on the ascendant, and increasingly up for grabs politically and ideologically.
The Latino Engagement Fund (LEF) was founded by DA Partners in late 2011 to develop an interconnected civic engagement infrastructure from the states up. There is still no single national organization capable of sustained, large-scale, and multi-state Latino programs. Instead, the Fund provides a valuable center-of-gravity to state-based organizations with deep reach in Latino communities, helping incentivize coordination and collaboration among organizations, and providing donors with the tools and services to create impact.
Through performance analysis and relationship-mapping through social network analysis, LEF has identified 16 high-performing organizations that anchor Latino engagement in our nine states. These anchor organizations provide coordination; lead strategy development; create economies of scale through shared tools, trainings and services; drive efforts to change the issue environment; and often coordinate strategic leadership development.
Since early 2015, the Fund has commissioned research and invested in leadership development to ensure the Latino infrastructure is ready for 2016. These wraparound services respond to the feedback and needs from the ground, and LEF will only intensify the multi-disciplinary research, staff training, and communications support has the potential to change the way funding works for the Latino community. LEF will expand access of these culturally responsive and relevant resources to the broader progressive community, creating ripple effects across the movement and progressive philanthropy.