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Progreso Latino Fund Advisory Committee Co-Chairs Tara Davila (left) and Yari Ijeh (right) at the Progreso Latino Fund 15th anniversary gala. Photo credit: CHIKÉ PHOTOGRAPHY/MyRecordJournal.com

Progreso Latino Fund celebrating 20 years of supporting community

Having served New Haven Latino community for two decades, they will host a celebration with a new grant and fundraiser with matched dollar-for-dollar donations.

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Celebrating its 20th anniversary as a Latino philanthropy fund, Progreso Latino Fund (PFL) has announced a gala celebrating their two decades of supporting the Latino community in New Haven, pairing the celebration with the beginning of a new campaign.

“The party is a reception to kick off our 20th anniversary – our year 2023. And we're kicking off a whole year of talking about inspiring and elevating Latino philanthropy in our community,” said Liana Garcia, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven's director of gift planning to MyRecordJournal.

Founded in 2003 as a component fund under The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the Fund was created by a group of 10 Puerto Ricans who wanted to support and give back to the Latino community.

Over their history, the Fund has reached an endowment total of $457,000 as of 2021, awarded $174,264 in grants to the community, and in 2022 supported grants include Community conversation at New Haven Pride Center, Hispanic Heritage Month events organized by Arte Inc., Puerto Ricans United (PRU) gala and festival, and curriculum development for the new Latinas In Leadership Institute, Latinas & Power Inc.

Grants the Fund has granted include the Latinas & Power Corp., a Latina-led professional development non-profit for Latinas in the workforce, with the grant affording the development of curriculum of the new Latinas in Leadership Academy, a 14-week certification program launching this fall.

“The program will be geared towards Latinas that are in an entry level and mid-career/business path and is focused on leadership and civic engagement tools needed to become influential leaders and community advocates,” said Latinas & Power Corp. CEO Marilyn Alverio.

With the new 20th Anniversary Match Campaign, they will celebrate 20 years of philanthropy by awarding $100,000 in grants over the next two years as they continue to tackle the issues facing the Latino community. 

In order to grow the Fund, the advisory committee has introduced the 20th Anniversary $20,000 Match Campaign, where the Community Foundation will match gifts to the Fund dollar-for-dollar, up to $2,000 per donation.

Anaika Ocasio is a member of the PFL Advisory Committee and resident of New Haven who was inspired to create her own fund after her work with Progreso Latino.

Born in Puerto Rico, Ocasio came to the mainland U.S. at the age of 12. She would become a business owner and landlord, starting the Ocasio Family Fund with Garcia's aid as she sought to aid students seeking to enter a trade school after graduating from New Haven schools.

"I didn't know that it was so simple, that I could just go to the community foundation and say 'listen, I have a desire to open this fund,'" Ocasio said. "I thought that was something rich people did, like really wealthy people. But I'm like 'no, anybody can do this. Anybody can start saving for this.'"

The celebration will take place in the Bregamos Community Theater in New Haven on Feb. 2, with registration and more information available here.

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