Papal Fund asks Latinos to unite for papa Francisco
100.000 Latinos Unidos or 100,000 Latinos United for Pope Francis is the goal of the newly launched grassroots initiative, the “Latino Papal Fund,” a fundraising effort that aims to show the commitment of the Latino community in ensuring the success of the historical visit to Philadelphia by the first Latino Pope: papa Francisco.
“This fund is an initiative that was developed in the last couple of months in response to the excitement around the papal visit. A group of Latino business owners and civic leaders wanted to start a project that could allow the involvement and the participation of Latino residents in the region, Latinos in the country and Latinos around the world,” said Varsovia Fernandez, President of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GPHCC), the organization spearheading the initiative.
As CEO of GPHCC and member of the World Meeting of Families 2015 board, Fernandez said a lot of people had approached her in the past several months asking questions about the papal visit. “It only made sense that we created a unique fundraising effort to show the world how invested Latinos are in the upcoming historical visit of our first Latino Pope: Pope Francis or papa Francisco as we call him in Spanish,” Fernandez said.
GPHCC launched the Latino Papal Fund in collaboration with Philly Latino business, civic and religious leaders. The campaign is a mobile giving platform and donation website to raise contributions for the WMOF Congress 2015.
“This will not only signal the Latino community commitment to 2015 WMOF and the papal visit, but it will also undoubtedly showcase the power of community engagement serving as a model on how all communities can come together and support this important global event,” said Robert Ciaruffoli, Chairman and President of WMOF 2015.
With a $45 million dollar fundraising goal, contributions can be made either via mobile texting PAPAFUND to 56512* or online at Latino Papal Fund.
Argentine business leader Darío Bellot said the initiative wants to engage Latinos, not only in the region, but internationally to bring them closer to the Pope and to the Catholic Church.
He also highlighted there are also a lot of opportunities for volunteers. “Philadelphia is looking for Hispanic volunteers to welcome Spanish speaking visitors from around the world that are going to require a guide during the World Meeting of Families 2015,” Bellot said. “Also there is a need for hosting families. With hotels completely booked, organizers are looking for residents that will be able to house visitors, especially Latinos.”
Bellot is co-founder of the local group ‘Argentinos in Philadelphia,’ formed to promote Argentinean culture in the city and preserve their heritage for the younger generation.
“Some of us had the opportunity to work with Pope Francis, back in the 1990’s when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, during my involvement with the social organization “Cáritas,” overseen by
the Catholic Church,” Bellot said. “In Argentina and Latin America the church is a bridge between the people and the government. Latin Americans have a lot of respect and trust for the Catholic Church as an institutions for social services.”
Luis Liceaga, treasurer of the GPHCC, was among the speakers of the announcement. “As a Latino, a business owner and a community member, I am excited for the cultural impact of Pope Francis’s visit, and the economic impact on the city and region,” Liceaga said.
Donations will be accepted from June 29 to Sept. 30 and can be made visiting Latino Papal Fund.