We are proud to support the leadership of Latinx women and girls and invest in solutions to the most pressing issues facing these communities today. When you give to The New York Women’s Foundation, the impact of your dollars are multiplied by our grantee partners who are fiercely dedicated to the empowerment, protection and wellbeing of Latinx and immigrant communities.
For Latinx Heritage Month, we sat down with Alejandra Naranjo, The Foundation’s Vice President of Development. In this blog post, she reflects on the personal impact philanthropy has had on her career and how The Foundation continues to elevate the voices of Latinx women and girls.
What inspired you to work in philanthropy?
It was my mom that inspired my journey. She’s a doctor and was probably one of the only women going to medical school in Mexico at the time. And she developed a passion for helping people that I was able to witness firsthand. She had an office at home and people from the community would come to us for consultation. She would also go into poor, rural communities near our home in Mexico to tend to the medical needs of women. Seeing this, I was driven to give back to the community.
Many of the women I saw my mom working with made their living in a brick factory and they were extremely hard workers. I saw from an early age that women have the drive to improve living conditions for their families and their neighbors. And that’s something that led me to The New York Women’s Foundation: the way that women help other women and make their communities a better place to live for them and for their children.
How can more Latinx women and girls be supported as leaders in philanthropy?
I believe the wage gap is a barrier to more Latinx women and girls getting involved in philanthropy. They have the drive and the passion, but for the women putting in extra time at work, taking on two or three different jobs to make ends meet for their families, the time needed to get involved with philanthropic work becomes a challenge. As we push the movement for living wages, we need to provide more support for Latinx women and girls to collaborate with philanthropy. That’s why I’m proud of the work of The Foundation, where we deeply value giving of time and resources at all levels.
How has the work of The Foundation impacted Latinx communities in New York City?
About 15 years ago when I was working for the First Lady of Mexico, I learned about The Foundation’s grantee partner Mixteca, who wanted to build a partnership with us. When I later joined The Foundation, I was overjoyed to see us supporting Mixteca as a grantee partner because I knew firsthand all the years they put in to help the Mexican community.
I’ve also seen The Foundation’s impact on Latinx communities through our grantee partners’ civic engagement work. They make sure people from my community know that their voices count and that they should be heard. The Foundation also supports nonprofit organizations that provide services for and build power within immigrant communities. That’s something I hold close to my heart, because the work these organizations do is critically important.
What’s needed for Latinx women and girls to be supported in this moment? What makes you hopeful?
We need a way for Latinx women, girls and immigrants to be seen and to be heard.
What makes me hopeful is the support The Foundation has been able to provide— thanks to the radical generosity of our donors— to different organizations focused on civic engagement such as Higher Heights or Vote Run Lead. It also gives me hope that more women will hold leadership positions to fight for the rights of girls and young women of color.
What would you say to someone looking to get involved with The Foundation?
The women we support and who lead our grantee partner organizations make so much happen with so little. When you give to The New York Women’s Foundation, the return on your investment is large. The impact of your dollars is multiplied.