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Tuesday is International Women's Day, and the organization Hispanics in Philanthropy is launching a unique crowd funding effort, HIPGive.org, to raise funds for non-profit organizations whose mission is to improve the lives of women and girls in the Latino community.
"HIP is an organization of grant-makers that are interested in making bigger and better investments in our communities, because we know that if we have the appropriate capital with which to grow that there's great potential that will be unleased," said HIP President Diana Campoamor. "It provides a resource and a tool to use our collective dollars and ideas to make change."
The organizations participating in Tuesday's contest for funds include a variety of endeavors, such as Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, a group that helps Latinas prepare for college and provides assistance once they're in the institution of higher learning:
Quoting the late Nelson Mandela - who said that "education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" - Girls Inc. of Metro Denver helps young women enroll and complete college through college preparation and transition programs, which are especially important for low-income and first-generation students.
The group wants to raise current statistics: Latinas hold only 7.4 percent of the college degrees earned by U.S. women though they make up 16 percent of the female population in 2012. Girls Inc. is hoping to raise $5,000 to help fund their college prep and college transition program.
Another participant is the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy in El Paso, Texas, which is seeking funding to help pay for a "promotora," which is the Spanish word for a community member who receives specialized training to assist others.
The organization works with Latina immigrants and their families on a variety of services, including asylum cases and requests for DACA, the program that allows qualified undocumented young adults to study and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. The organization also has a crime victims program to help women fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking. Most of their work is done by a cadre of volunteers.
"We're extremely lean in our operations, with a paid staff of just three or four," Jackie Satchell told NBC Latino. Satchell is one of those volunteers and is helping to coordinate the organization's participation in the crowdfunding event. The group is asking for $2,000 to help pay for a promotora's training and yearly stipend. "The work that the promotoras do is extremely important. They are in the trenches helping in the community, and we want to continue to provide these services."
The California Latinas for Reproductive Justice is a statewide group in the Golden State that says reproductive rights cannot be viewed in isolation, and that access to services such as culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare, quality education, and a good-paying job affect the overall well-being of Latinas and their families. The group is seeking funding to help bring more women to the state capitol on May 4 for its Capitol Advocacy Day.
"We are very excited to be participating in HIPGive because it's real important to engage Latinos and Latinas in philanthropy," says executive director Laura Jiménez. "Capitol Education Day addresses the assumption that Latinas are uninterested or apolitical, especially in regards to issues of reproductive health, rights and justice. For Capitol Education Day, they will travel to Sacramento to meet with their representatives to educate them about several bills that are part of CLRJ's current policy platform."