Latino Groups Question Commitment of Political Donors to Community

Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News, May 18, 2015

The number of Latinos eligible to vote in this country is expected to double in size within a generation, but some Latino groups question whether their traditional, moneyed allies are doing enough to leverage those voters.

Although the Latino electorate is repeatedly referred to as the “sleeping giant,” Latinos prefer to describe it as an untapped giant that political spenders fail to give its due for political mobilization.

“For all the angst that exists about low Latino voter turnout, there has never been a commitment from true wealthy donors to mobilize Latino voters with the level of money that needs to be invested,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, NALEO.

Latino leaders have been echoing Vargas’ view and amplifying it since last month when the Democracy Alliance, an organization created to counter conservative funding and movement building, devised its latest strategy for funding a progressive political agenda and recommended to its some 100 members which organizations should get their financial support. Wealthy, mostly white individuals and philanthropic institutions make up the alliance’s donor members.

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Under its new strategy the alliance, formed in 2005, divides its funding streams into four categories. There are 34 groups, including one that is a joint venture, funded in three of the categories. None are considered Latino-led or Latino focused, although some have divisions, campaigns or outreach for Latinos.

The strategy also calls for bringing together previously separate accounts–the Latino Engagement Fund, the Black Engagement Fund and a Youth Engagement Fund–into what it calls the New American Majority Fund. That fund also will add money streams for women, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and the LGBT community. Latino leaders said the Democracy Alliance’s strategy leaves Latino-led groups competing with other communities of color for funding and fails to recognize state work that Latino led groups are doing.

Although Latino group leaders were reluctant to say so publicly, there is a general sentiment among leaders who spoke on background to NBC News that the other groups, whose leadership is largely white, don’t understand the Latino community as well and are ineffective or less effective at engaging the Hispanic community.

“There are some very promising organizations doing incredible work in the community and are trusted: Mi Familia Vota, Voto Latino, NCLR (National Council of La Raza). But those are the same groups that have to fight over scraps because major investors don’t appreciate (the value) of investing in the community,” said Cristobal Alex, who leads the Latino Victory Project.

Phillips said he believes the New American Majority Fund that collectively focuses donors’ attention on growing political engagement in the communities is more effective than just increasing contributions to individual groups.

“It’s easy for any group to say there’s a lot of white people in a donor group so my group is not getting enough money,” Phillips said. “Those of us who created these vehicles come out of those communities and are trying to move as much money as possible back into those communities.”

Alliance President Gara La Marche said he’s surprised by the backlash. Some $40 million has been spent on Latino-led organizations over the last several years through the Latino Engagement Fund, he said. The alliance helps to raise about some $30 million a year for its core groups, and about $3 million to $5 million is focused on Latino efforts.

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As troubled as Republicans’ relationship is with Latinos, conservatives have put some serious money into penetrating the community, most notably through LIBRE.

With at least $10 million in backing from the billionaire Koch brothers, the conservative group has provided tax preparation, GED classes, driver’s license test preparation and other community services in Latino communities. With that sort of service work, which left-leaning Latino groups have been doing for years, they develop connections with Hispanics and separately inform them of LIBRE’s and the brothers’ conservative philosophies of limited government, low taxes and other issues and candidates who support those ideologies.

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  • Dave West

    This is the “rainbow” future that America has to look forward to: a bunch of squabbling minority groups complaining that the diminishing white demographic isn’t “paying enough attention to them” while at the same time blaming the diminishing white demographic for every ill that inflicts their community. What a great idea that Immigration Act of 1965 was!

    • Chip Carver

      Gimme gimme gimme!

      The Hart-Celler Act, better known as the Immigration Act of 1965, was designed to destroy America. Period. Emanuel Celler hated America with a passion, hated European Whites with a passion. That’s why he devoted his career to destroying America’s formerly sensible immigration laws.

      • Rob

        And you know that he was the cousin of muslims right?

      • journey

        He was just one among thousands that this country let in especially in the early 1900’s. Thomas Jefferson warned of them. Europe was always wary of them. But they definitely got the upper hand now and what a mess they have created. All advanced white countries/societies will soon be cesspools.

      • John Smith

        A Hebraic-“American,” right?

    • Jason Lewis

      The people who voted it in will be long dead before they can enjoy the benefits their grandchildren will reap from it.

      • carriewhite64

        That is the true evil of it.

  • The groups listed here are the very people who have a direct incentive in making the political class and consultant class think that the Hispanic vote is bigger than it actually is. That’s because it helps them become important people. My running joke is that the President of the National Association of Bhutanese-American Transgendered Vegetarians (note to dummies: there is no such group) wants everyone to think that the Bhutanese-American transgendered vegetarian vote bigger than it is in pure numerical terms, or a more crucial swing electorate than it actually is.

    • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

      No such group…YET. Give it time!

  • MekongDelta69

    Q. How do you say GIBSMEDAT in Spanish?

    A. Koch Brothers

    • WR_the_realist

      Koch Brothers
      George Soros
      John McCain
      Chuck Schumer

      There are many ways to say GIBSMEDAT in Spanish.

  • dd121

    When your politics is based on giving stuff away and are presumptively buying votes, it’s hard to argue when the recipients claim not to be getting enough.

  • Somehow I have gotten along without being leveraged into voting.

    That’s weird.

  • DaveMed

    *Why aren’t Whites doing more to hasten their own displacement and loss of influence?*

  • Luca D.

    My, look at how latinos hate the gringos, but love their dollars.

    • WR_the_realist

      That’s why they’re here.

  • SentryattheGate

    Why should everyone have to kiss their a$$? Most of them in the US are here ILLEGALLY! “Our” gubmint gives LaRaza hundreds of Millions in grants, and the taxpayer also gets soaked for welfare, healthcare, education etc, etc, etc for the arrogant demanding Latrinos!

  • Jason Lewis

    Wow. The Koch Brothers gave millions of dollars to latinos. I’m sure they’ll remember it and vote conservative. The 6 million Reagan gave amnesty to in 1986 are loyal for it.

    • Rob

      Fat chance of that happening. I read an artilce 2 years ago that those that were granted the Reagan amnesty all voted for Obama.

      • Jason Lewis

        These white elites think that they’ll keep their power and will be able to control them. Can’t wait for Nuevo America to vote themselves their wealth.

        • Mangosteen, $1000 chair

          They’ll control them the old Bolshevik way…the whip and cudgel. Only now it’s drones and “the internet of things” that spy on you (and everything else that’s too much to list).

      • Spaniard in LA

        To be fair, 48% of them voted for W Bush

        • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

          If you’re referring to the 2004 race, it was allegedly 44%, but that figure has since been debunked as too high.

  • WR_the_realist

    This regressive would be happy to spend zero dollars on Hispanics. But the evil government forces me to spend some.

  • MBlanc46

    If they don’t like it here, I’d be happy to point them toward the border.

  • Hilis Hatki

    Ai! Yi! Yi! Yi!
    Iam the Freebie Bandito!
    I even get to go on C-SPAN-O!

  • Hammerheart

    Someone much more smarter than me once said a democracy can only survive if it possesses an informed voter base.

    Guess what we don’t have?

    • John Smith

      I believe someone also said it wouldn’t survive when the majority of voters realize they can vote themselves the money of the rest.

  • Dr. Rieux

    IOW, they want more gibs( damelo’s in Spanish) just like their hermanos negros

  • John Smith

    Too bad they don’t try something like trying to integrate into the country, rather than have the country cater to them. That’s the invader mentality right there.

  • Lexonaut

    The children of illegal immigrants Juan and Juanita are not going to allow their hard earned working man dollars to be used to support sacred negritude.

  • Eagle1212

    Why don’t these “Latino Groups” learn how to come here legally the right way, speak our language and act like law abiding citizens?