Latino Leadership | Special Funds & Initiatives |

The Progreso Latino Fund harnesses the philanthropic potential of the Latino community and its friends to create a powerful force for positive change in Greater New Haven. 


At the 15th Anniversary Gala, PLF leadership announced the Progreso Latino Fund will offer an annual scholarship to a qualifying Latino student.

Celebrating Latino Leaders series: The Progreso Latino fund is proud to produce this series of up-close and personal interviews with Latino Leaders serving Greater New Haven and Connecticut. Click on the image above to read the inspiring stories. Sign Up to begin receiving this series in your inbox each month.

Read Celebrating Latino Leaders interviews here

The Progreso Latino Fund builds leadership within the Greater New Haven Latino Community and brings people togther to have a postitive impact on the most important issues facing Latinos today. The fund hosts educational and policy forums and regularly brings nationally recognized speakers and leaders to New Haven. 

Upcoming Events

Join us for the next Progreso Latino Fund Forum

Trás la Tormenta: Puerto Rico One Year After Maria
featuring Dr. Nelson Colón Tarrats, President & CEO, Puerto Rico Community Foundation and Hon. Julia M. Nazario Fuentes, Mayor, Loíza, Puerto Rico.
Nov. 15, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Register Now

Our History

The Progreso Latino Fund (PLF) was founded in 2003 by two community leaders, Frances and John Padilla. They knew the facts. They saw how fast the Latino community was becoming an increasingly important driver of change in Greater New Haven. They saw the need for a new source of philanthropy focused on the special issues of this emerging "majority minority."

The Padillas chose The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven as their financial and development partner. The Fund is permanently endowed which means it will last forever and never stop doing good.   

The Advisory Committee of the Progreso Latino Fund is looking for Latinos and others to join them to develop Latino leadership in Greater New Haven and to build an equitable community. 

The Need  

Latinos are the youngest and fastest growing population in Greater New Haven. Therefore, when Latinos thrive, the Greater New Haven region thrives.  Learn more about the Emerging Influence & Growing Opportunity of Latinos in Greater New Haven.

An Opportunity

The Progreso Latino Fund (PLF) is pleased to announce that we are partnering with the Puerto Rico Gift of Life campaign to provide solar-electric renewable energy to one of the island’s community health facilities. To meet the goal of fully funding electricity for a health care center, PLF will match gifts to this effort up to a maximum of $15,000.  Your gift ensures that healthcare on the island will not be decimated by future storms and residents of the island will not die for lack of medical care.

You can make your gift in honor or in memory if you choose.  Please specify on the PLF donation form and let us know who should receive notice of your thoughtful generosity.  

Will You Join Us?

Make your donation today


Solar Grid in Rio Grande
Photo credit: Gift of Life Campaign

Relief for Puerto Rico - special match incentive up to $15,000

Join The Progreso Latino Fund in supporting disaster relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after 2017's devastating hurricanes and earthquake. Current efforts are focused on raising funds for solar-electric renewable energy to one of the island's health facilities.

To meet the goal of fully funding electricity for a health care center, PLF will match gifts to this effort up to a total of $15,000.  Your gift ensures that healthcare on the island will not be decimated by future storms and residents of the island will not die for lack of medical care.

Donate Now

Advisory Committee

  • Fernando Muniz Chair
  • Yolanda Caldera-Durant

  • Tara Davila
  • Yadira Ijeh
  • Jorge Jimenez
  • John Padilla
  • Raquel Santiago-Martinez
  • Alicia Caraballo, Community Foundation Board Liaison

Want to join? Contact Caprice Taylor Mendez to learn more.

Educational Forums and Events


Progreso Latino Fund Gala Sep. 15, 2018

Celebrating 15 years of bringing people together around issues of importance to Latinos.  Photo: Cliké Photography.

The Progreso Latino Fund marked its quinceañera with the "Celebrando 15 Años de Progreso" gala welcoming more than 175 guests to celebrate and kick-off Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Read more here


The Progreso Latino Fund held its 2017 Forum on Wednesday, October 18, 2017                   

Elizardi Castro
Actor, writer and comedian Elizardi Castro. 

5:30 - 9:00 pm
New Haven Lawn Club
193 Whitney Avenue, New Haven

The event featured a unique performance by Elizardi Castro, comedian and former criminal defense attorney. Elizardi combined his Puerto Rican heritage with American culture to create a Spanglish one-man show,"Made in Puerto Rico."

Elizardi shared his life journey, in which he tackles the human story of growing up in two different worlds with one foot in a home culture that was different from the dominant narrative around him.

The event raised $8,000 for disaster relief efforts for Mexico and Puerto Rico.

View photos from the event by clicking on the image below.


Latino Leadership: The Latino/a Political Identity 
The 15th Progreso Latino Fund Forum explored the concept of the Latino/a Political Identity with special guest speaker, Dr. Jessica L. Lavariega Monforti, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Pace University. Learn more about this event here.


Thank you for joining us on Sept. 15, 2015, to Celebrate Latino Leaders!

Click on the image below to view the photo gallery.


Convening for a Latino Century On March 27, 2014, Maria Hinojosa, the producer of NPR's Latino USA and the PBS series "America By The Numbers" brought the audience to a standing ovation with her inspirational call for Latinos to "own their own American narrative." At stake, she said, was nothing less than preserving the American Dream. The event was covered by the New Haven Independent.


Read by 8 Before It’s Too Late! A co-sponsored forum exploring the importance of 3rd Grade reading levels in the Latino community. Featured speaker: Henrietta Munoz, PhD,  Eastside Promise Neighborhood Project Director of the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, Texas .


An Evening with Connecticut's Candidates for Governor: Tom Foley & Dan Malloy. A forum to discuss the economic issues facing Latinos and the general public, including the state budget deficit, job creation, education and health care.

Noche Bohemia: A Step Back In Time. A joyous event of Latin music, dancing and great food, in honor of Latino businessman and philanthropist John Soto.


Will the Stimulus Provide Economic Prosperity for All? A forum to discuss the implications of the unprecedented $787 billion Stimulus Package on the Latino community.


Latinos Left Behind? Closing the Educational Achievement Gap in Connecticut. A forum focused on the issue of Latino children being disproportionately left behind in the educational system.


The Legacy of 21. An event to raise awareness about baseball legend and humanitarian Roberto Clemente's contributions to civic life & the campaign to retire his number. It entailed a screening of the movie about Clemente followed by a discussion with Julio Pabon (CEO, Latino Sports Ventures, Inc. & National Coordinator of the Retire 21 Campaign), Byron Hunter (VP Media Productions, Latino Sports Ventures, Inc.) and Gil Martinez (President, Hispanic Professional Network).


Puerto Ricans, Connecticut and Immigration: An Issue for Whom? A forum to explore how the intensifying immigration debate and accompanying anti-Latino fervor affected the Puerto Rican community in Connecticut. Panelists included Cesar A. Perales (President and General Counsel, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund) and Philip Berns, Esq. (Philip Berns, LLC & Member, Stamford Board of Representatives City Council).

Hispanic Connecticut:  A Conversation with the Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates: Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. (New Haven) and Mayor Dannel Malloy (Stamford). A forum to identify the visions of the Democratic candidates for Governor for Connecticut and provide a platform to make Latino interests and concerns known.


Latinos in the Media. A panel discussion forum to provide a vision for building the Latino capacity to influence the news in all its aspects - editorial, business and reporting. It raised awareness about the issue of Latinos lagging behind in numbers at news and editorial desks across the media business spectrum.

Raising a Puerto Rican / Latino Child in These Trying Times. A panel discussion forum to provide a vision for how parents and the larger community can create a positive social and cultural environment for Latino youth.

The Latino Impact on Voting and Civic Life in Connecticut: New Perspectives on the Engagement of a Growing and Changing Community. A panel discussion forum on what works to make a difference in electoral politics, what motivates people to become involved, and what it will take for Connecticut's Latino community to have impact in 2006.


Reflections on the Character and Impact of Latino Leadership Inaugural forum for Progreso Latino Fund. A panel discussion forum moderated by Diane Alverio with a panel comprising Judge Carmen Lopez, Edna Negron Rosario (Southern New England Regional Director for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's Federal Affairs Administrative Office), Juan Figueroa (the former President of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut), and John Soto (President and CEO, Spacecraft Manufacturing).  The discussion was designed to explore the personal definition of leadership, the challenges before the current leadership as to the future of the Latino community and the opportunities to develop young Latinos to be the leaders of tomorrow. 

How can we help?

Caprice Taylor Mendez

Strategic Program Manager 203-777-7089 Email Caprice

How can we help?

Sharon Cappetta

Director of Development 203-777- 7071 Email Sharon


70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06510



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