Civic capacity in Latino communities

1996, the Rhode Island Foundation was asked by Hispanics in Philanthropy – an international network of funders, scholars, and community leaders – to support a nascent regional effort to build civic capacity in Latino communities. What began as a small gathering of foundation professionals grew into a collaborative of funders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island committed to supporting small to mid-size organizations that served Latino populations.

The Rhode Island Foundation played a critical role in supporting the Funders Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities. A program of Hispanics in Philanthropy, the collaborative provided grants, technical assistance, and leadership development to help Latino organizations better represent their communities and address their needs. Formally established in 2002, the Massachusetts / Rhode Island Funders’ Collaborative made nearly $3 million in grants to regional organizations.

In addition to grantmaking, the Funders Collaborative convened Latino nonprofits in the region, providing resources and leadership skills. Participating Rhode Island organizations included ECAS Theatre, the Latino Policy Institute of Rhode Island, the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Progresso Latino, and the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund, among others.

In 2007 we commissioned a study conducted by the Center for Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, “Debunking Myths & Uncovering Truths,” that was informed by the New England Latino Survey. The survey and report was the first ever context specific understanding of variations in political attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors of Latinos. It served as a timely and much needed systematic foundation for understanding the Latino population in America for political incorporation going forward.

It has always been part of our mission to support and give voice to the diverse communities who call Rhode Island their home. We were proud to make this significant multi-year commitment to elevate and grow the organizations that serve our state’s Latinos and to help pave the way for greater participation in civic leadership and philanthropy.


One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

E-News Sign Up