Est. 2023 Erandi and Zachary Reiland
Arts have always been a core component of Erandi and Zachary Reiland’s relationship. Since meeting as students at Quinnipiac University Law School, much of their social time has been spent enjoying concerts and art shows. Erandi comes from an artistic family that includes actors, poets and painters. So, when the couple decided to start a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation as part of the 20th anniversary of the Progresso Latino Fund, they wanted it to support the arts.
“Music is one of my main passions and I want to get more kids invested in music and arts and off their digital screens,” said Zachary, who has played the guitar since his teens. For Erandi, the couple’s fund, the CompARTE Fund, also provides an opportunity to honor her father, an actor, and her late cousin – a musician and opera singer.
Both Erandi, 41, and Zachary, 40, were raised by single mothers and understand the financial barriers that can prevent youth from accessing arts programming. “Unfortunately, a lot of the Latino community – especially in urban areas – is struggling economically and they don’t have the time or money to rent or buy an instrument or go to a concert or museum,” Erandi said. Amid tight budgets, school-based arts and music programs often face deep cuts or elimination.
The Reiland’s hope their fund can start to change that in small steps. They are investing $8,000 over four years – with an additional $2,000 match from the Community Foundation – and structured their fund to grow in perpetuity. While their initial grants will be modest, the couple understands small gifts can make a big impact. “Sometimes it’s the small gestures and little things that can make a serious impact on someone’s life,” Zachary said.
Both point to their role models and the lessons they taught as examples. For Erandi, it was her mother, who emigrated to the United States to provide her daughter with a better life. “She modeled for me the importance of working hard, respecting others and always doing what’s right,” she said. Not being afraid to fail is the key lesson Zachary learned from his role models, which include his mother and his music teachers. “The people I looked up to weren’t afraid to put themselves ‘out there’ and follow their dreams,” he said.
Zachary hopes the CompARTE fund can help more young people discover similar opportunities through art and music.
“Learning to think creatively was a big part of my formative experiences growing up,” Zachary said. The arts, Erandi added, also enables youth to build confidence and see different perspectives. “Art helps people to express themselves and celebrate different cultures,” she said.
The value of art also extends beyond the individual artist, Zachary says.
“There’s inherently a community that forms around art,” he said. “Whether it’s a painting class for kids or a music class for adults, it’s a chance for like-minded people to develop real relationships.”
While they are hoping to help to support artistic communities through their philanthropy, the Reiland’s have discovered a community of their own through the Progresso Latino Fund, which they want to help promote grow. They plan to invite family and friends to contribute to their arts-focused fund. “The more people are involved, the greater the impact,” Erandi said. “It’s a great way to leave a legacy and pay it forward.”
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