As the youngest and fastest growing ethnic group in Greater New Haven and the state, Latinos are inextricably linked to the region’s vitality and prosperity. The emerging influence of Latinos locally is seen in the appointment of Carmen E. Espinosa to Connecticut's Supreme Court, the existence of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, a Spanish online news site, LaVoz Hispana, and an English on-line news site, CT Latino News.com. And a significant number of people of Latin American and Caribbean origin populate local municipal boards, head businesses, and serve as community leaders.
Yet too many young Latinos are disconnected in school and dropping out before they gain the skills to compete for good jobs. Unless reversed, this trend will only add to the already high concentration of Latinos in low-wage jobs. And low voting rates among Latino voters have resulted in limited political focus on issues with Latinos at the center. Making life better for Latinos is not only an issue of social justice. It is in everyone's economic interest.
Because the region is growing older at an unprecedented rate, the resources needed to pay for elderly care will only be generated if enough young people move into the well paying jobs left by the retiring baby boomers. As the one group with a youth population bubble, Latinos represent a significant opportunity for meeting the need in the workforce, expanding the consumer market, and helping the economy grow.
Learn more about the Emerging Influence & Growing Opportunity of Greater New Haven's Latinos in The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven's issue brief.
Progress for Latinos in Greater New Haven Requires Work on Many Fronts:
- Health is important: Latinos lag in many indicators
- Public Education is important: Latinos have the lowest high school graduation rates
- Employment and home ownership and business creation are important: Latinos trail badly in all categories
- Political leadership is key: Latinos hold supporting roles, but not yet many leadership roles
- Celebrating the rich, proud, extraordinary culture of the Latino community is important: and long overdue for focus.
Our Leadership Strategy
Founded at, and nurtured by,The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the Progreso Latino Fund has been building capacity and knowledge since 2003. It has gathered over a decade a permanent endowment - for grant making, policy forums, and leadership-building activities - of just over a quarter-million dollars.
Money raised for the Fund has been used to sponsor educational forums and community events - a primary strategy and platform for bringing people together, engaging Latinos and non-Latinos about issues, and providing a vehicle for conversations about how the issues impact Latinos. Support has also enabled the Fund to provide scholarship money to high school students and sponsor summer reading programs for younger children.
It's a very good start. But it's not nearly enough.
With your help, the Progreso Latino Fund can move much faster. It has the vision… to harness the philanthropic potential of the Latino community and its friends in a single fund, the Progreso Latino Fund ... and thereby create a powerful force for positive change in Greater New Haven.