Stronger Together: Weaving a Brighter Future for Latino Communities

Stronger Together: Weaving a Brighter Future for Latino Communities

The pandemic threw our world into a tailspin. But in the face of crisis, hope emerged in the form of collaboration. Raza Development Fund (RDF) joined forces with UnidosUS to create a lifeline for Latino-led nonprofits on the frontlines. This wasn’t just about technical assistance; it was about building resilience and shaping a brighter future together. 

The program, initially known as the Affiliate Support Program, quickly blossomed. As needs have shifted following the pandemic, we adapted and expanded the program, renaming it  “Comunidades Fuertes” – Spanish for “Strong Communities.” This name embodies our core mission: empowering Latino nonprofits to become cornerstones of strength and progress. 

“We remain committed to ensuring community-based Latino non-profits remain strong and positioned for continued growth, innovation, and impact in serving the Latino community,” said – Natalia Rodriguez-Hilt, RDF’s Sr. Director of Affiliate Support & Small Business Strategies.  

 Our investors, like State Farm, have been instrumental in expanding our reach! Comunidades Fuertes has already woven its magic across 14 remarkable organizations, supporting them in crafting over 23 action plans for internal growth and long-term sustainability. Imagine the impact! We’ve empowered over 185 non-profit staff members with the knowledge and skills to develop strategic fundraising strategies and navigate the complexities of real estate planning. These ripples of change have impacted the lives of over 212,220 individuals, each one receiving higher quality services and a renewed sense of possibility.

Take Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF) for example, a beacon of hope for immigrants in South Florida. Pablo Zuazo, a single father from Chile, arrived in the US in 2014, determined to build a secure future for his daughters. The road was paved with challenges, but Pablo’s spirit remained unbroken. He launched a business and sought guidance from HUF to secure permanent residency for his family. 

HUF’s Pathways to Citizenship program became Pablo’s guiding light. In 2019, he proudly became a US citizen. But Pablo’s journey wasn’t over. With HUF by his side, he embarked on the path to homeownership. He diligently attended HUF’s First-Time Homebuyers workshop, learning the ropes of navigating the market. Pandemic-related obstacles delayed his pre-approved loan, but Pablo wouldn’t be deterred. HUF’s one-on-one housing counseling provided unwavering support, helping him explore additional lenders and keep moving forward. Finally, in May 2020, Pablo’s dream came true – he secured his own home, a haven for his daughters to thrive. 

Pablo’s story is just one testament to HUF’s transformative impact. This dedicated team empowers countless individuals and families to persevere and chase their American Dream. Yet, they know the need is vast. The pandemic forced HUF to pivot, ensuring every family in Broward County received critical COVID-19 resources and basic care. As the community’s needs and priorities shifted, HUF knew it was time to evolve. 

Through Comunidades Fuertes, HUF’s leadership received technical assistance in crafting a strategic plan for sustainable growth. Together, they evaluated operations, identified areas for improvement, and charted a course for maximum impact. 

“This partnership has empowered us with a clear roadmap for future success,” remarked Felipe Pinzon, HUF’s President & CEO. “Receiving consulting services for strategic planning was transformative. It has enabled us to refine our mission and amplify our impact within the South Florida community.” 

Equipped with a renewed vision and invaluable guidance, HUF is now poised to serve even more families like Pablo’s. Through Comunidades Fuertes, RDF will continue to weave a stronger tapestry of support, empowering Latino nonprofits to become architects of a brighter future, together. 

This impact was only possible through the commitment, partnership and investment from State Farm.