RDF Providing Tools to Inspire Future Community Leaders

RDF Providing Tools to Inspire Future Community Leaders

The Raza Development Fund Family is full of individuals who are passionate about supporting Latino and poor communities from our full-time staff to our interns. It’s an infectious value that motivates every employee to get more involved with projects that make a difference. And it’s a value that became ingrained in Anabel Maldonado and Mayra Vargas Rodriguez who held temporary positions within RDF’s Small Business Initiatives (SBI) team.

Earlier this year as the SBI team worked hard to help as many small businesses with Paycheck Protection Program loans, Francisca Montoya, RDF’s Director of Strategic Community Initiatives, knew they needed extra hands.

“Mayra and Anabel were very grounded and connected in the community already. They were aware of the issues, which was very important as we are a high touch support team,” Francisca says.

Mayra Vargas Rodriguez

Mayra, who supported the team as a PPP Loan Consultant until the end of May, had previously worked as a program coordinator for an organization that developed opportunities for locally owned businesses.

Anabel, who serves as the PPP Data Analytics Consultant until the end of June, had extensive experience campaigning for local initiatives and community-based projects.

Together, they were a key part of the SBI team assisting with the large volume of loan applications coming into RDF, close to $9 million in total.

“They were an asset!” Francisca says. “We are really grateful and appreciative for them. We could not have done this without them. They came and pitched in at a critical time. They were always willing to help with an open mind and provide practical fresh ideas for us to move forward.”

What They Learned

But their time with RDF didn’t just benefit the organization. Mayra and Anabel walk away with new insights on how to serve their communities as they look ahead to the next steps in their careers.

“RDF gave me a different perspective of the finance side of business development and the opportunity to work with all kinds of people helping to dispel miscommunication and fear. It gave me a better understanding of how we can better assist small business owners with resources,” Mayra says.

Mayra plans to continue working in business consulting putting her financial skills to use to support others.

Anabel Maldonado

Similar to Mayra, Anabel enjoyed learning the business side of community organizing.

“I saw the real time impact these loans had for small businesses and gained a business mindset. I’m much more equipped to have conversations about taxes and other financial aspects,” Anabel says. “It gave me a different lens on not just RDF, but community investment as a whole and learning how to push the business mindset conversation with other community organizations.”

Anabel already has plans to put her new skills in motion as she works to help develop a community center. This organizer at heart looks to get involved wherever she can have the most impact in her community.

We wish them both immense success on their journey as they continue their commitment to make a positive contribution in our community.

Rachel Jimenez serves in the RDF’s Communications Department as PR & Digital Content Strategist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Rachel has extensive experience supporting content marketing efforts for national and state non-profits, as well as small businesses.