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February 14, 2020

Siembra Latinos Fund launches, announces first grants

SOUTH COUNTY — The Siembra Latinos Fund (SLF) of the Community Foundation for Monterey County recently gathered more than 100 supporters and leaders at the Taylor Farms Building in Salinas to launch the new Latino-focused philanthropic initiative.

The SLF, created by a group of local Latino leaders to empower the Latino community, has set its sights on creating change now and investing in the future to improve the quality of life for Monterey County Latinos.

“Our goal is to inspire giving by and for Latinos. We want to build a culture of philanthropy and grow opportunity for the Latino community in Monterey County,” said SLF Advisory Board Chairwoman Blanca E. Zarazua.

The word “siembra” means “to sow,” and the goal of organizers is to grow opportunities for Latino residents by inspiring philanthropy and guiding community grant-making.

The SLF is an affiliate fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC), which provides financial stewardship, administrative support and the services of a fully accredited community foundation that is held to rigorous national standards.


Already making impact

Already, the fund is creating impact in Monterey County. In August, the fund made $20,000 in grants to seven Monterey County nonprofits.

Receiving grants were: Alisal Community Arts Network for its Latin Jazz Orchestra; Central Coast YMCA for diabetes prevention programs; Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indigena Oaxaqueno for an indigenous youth leadership program; King City Boxing Club for activities for youth in King City; Life is for Everyone Inc. for STEM/science club; Loaves, Fishes and Computers for a digital literacy workshop in Gonzales; and Palenke Arts for art classes in Seaside.

At the Sept. 27 launch, grantee King City Boxing Club Director Rodolfo Tapia shared gratitude for the grant and gave insight about how the boxing club helps provide confidence in his young boxers from South County.

Patricia Gomez, a supporter of the Siembra Latinos Fund, shared how giving is a family value. She and her brothers and sisters were introduced to philanthropy by their late parents Trinidad and Lupe Gomez, and they give to honor their parents.

Judge Lydia Villarreal, first Latina chairwoman of the James Irvine Foundation, spoke about the power of local philanthropy.


Local advisory board

The SLF is a grassroots initiative. A local advisory board provides oversight, sets grant-making priorities, and raises funds to grant to nonprofits serving local Latino residents. The advisory board members are: Blanca E. Zarazua (Chair), Jose Luis Alvarado, Ph.D., Chris Barrera, Ida López Chan (Vice-chair), Elsa Mendoza Jimenez, Erica Padilla-Chávez, Frank Ramírez, Daniel Rodríguez and Raúl Rodríguez.

The mission of the SLF is “To inspire philanthropy and cultivate strong and vibrant Latino communities in Monterey County.” Its vision is “Healthy, Safe and Engaged Latino Communities.”

Individuals, families and businesses can contribute to the fund directly online or by check, through employee matching gift programs.

The Siembra Latinos Fund is part of the 2018 Monterey County Gives! campaign, so all donations received between Nov. 8 and Dec. 31 will be leveraged by a percentage match.

To contribute or for more information, visit

The Siembra Latinos Fund is one of 10 members of the National Latino Funds Alliance, and one of fewer than 20 in the country.