Muñiz Martínez Family Fund

Est. 2022 by Fernando J. Muñiz and Maribel Martínez

Fernando Muñiz and Maribel Martínez were inspired to start their charitable fund by the Progreso Latino Fund's 20th Anniversary.

Access, exposure and opportunity is what we hope to provide for with our fund. It’s what my parents wanted for me, and it's what we want for others.

Maribel Martínez

When Maribel Martínez was growing up and people in her neighborhood fell on hard times and needed a place to stay, her parents would invite them into their home. “My parents didn’t have much,” Martínez said. “They worked in blue collar jobs, but they gave whatever they had. That was something they really instilled in me — the importance of helping those who need it because it could be you. It’s a very thin line.” 

Years later, when Martínez and her sister were caring for her parents, who both suffered from dementia, many of the people her parents had helped stepped in to do whatever they could to assist. 

“That’s the way in the Latino community,” she said. “It’s collective. We support one another.” 

Martínez’s husband, Fernando Muñiz, meanwhile, grew up in Bridgeport, where he began volunteering in high school. By the time he was in his early 20s, he was serving on several boards of small nonprofits. His parents had set an example by helping others through their church. “I don’t think they would call it community service; it’s how they saw the world: you help other people,” he said. 

Both Muñiz and Martínez chose careers in social service. Muñiz is the CEO of Community Solutions, an organization in 11 states that helps people successfully transition from prison back into their communities. Martínez has worked for 32 years at the Department of Children and Families, where she is senior administrator of the Clinical and Community Consultation Division. 

“Maribel and I both value community and giving back,” Muñiz said. “We’ve done that all our lives, volunteering, serving on boards, giving to causes we care about.” 

With The Community Foundation’s Progreso Latino Fund celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023, the couple decided the time was right to establish the Muñiz Martínez Family Fund. 

"Access, exposure and opportunity is what we hope to provide for with our fund. It’s what my parents wanted for me, and it's what we want for other," said Martínez. “We felt it was a great way to support Latino-led nonprofits that are doing extraordinary work in the community, and to support causes we care deeply about — education, economic development, health care, and homelessness,” 

They also want to make sure that young people in the Latino community have access to summer employment and other enrichment programs “that we were fortunate to have access to growing up.” 

“What particularly drew us to this method of giving was having access to The Community Foundation staff’s expertise in these areas,” said Muñiz, who is vice chair of The Foundation Board. 

“We hope our fund will encourage others to start a fund and to understand that you don’t have to be a millionaire to do it,” Martínez said. “You can start something knowing it’s going to grow and that every bit helps.” 

“We have two adult children and a granddaughter, and it’s important for them to know why we started the fund,” she added. “It is an extension of their grandparents, our parents, and all they offered to their communities.”

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Muñiz Martínez Family Fund