On a sunny day with a warm breeze, donors, grantees and community leaders gathered at Puesto’s patio in Downtown San Diego to celebrate the launch and inaugural grant recipients of El Camino Fund, a new affinity fund at San Diego Foundation (SDF) to advance economic mobility and wealth generation for San Diego’s Latino/a community.

The event, which had the feel of a family gathering, was filled with cheer and celebration.

“I have met with many fabulous, amazing Latino community leaders, allies, advocates and supporters,” said SDF Manager of Development and El Camino Fund staff lead Miguel Lopez, CFRE. “And everybody has one common purpose. And that common purpose is to strengthen our Latino community.”

El Camino Fund raises money from Latinos/as and allies to support the local Latino/a community, close equity gaps and provide opportunities to thrive, prosper and belong in the San Diego region.

It provides an opportunity for those engaged with and passionate about San Diego’s Latino/a community to express their generosity and support through philanthropy.

At the launch event, SDF announced $500,000 in grants to seven organizations that strengthen economic mobility and generational wealth-building for San Diego Latino/as, including:

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Understanding Latino/a Needs

Latino/as represent 35% of San Diego County’s population. This growing, vibrant community undoubtedly will shape our region’s economic landscape for generations.

Yet, compared to non-Latino/a San Diegans, this community faces significant economic challenges due to systemic barriers, socio-economic disparities and unique community needs.

Advancing the trajectory of our Latino/a neighbors will benefit all San Diegans and strengthen our local economy.

Attendees during the program portion of El Camino Fund Celebration

Led by a leadership council of dedicated community leaders and experts, El Camino Fund directs grants to four areas that advance economic mobility and generational wealth for San Diego Latino/as:

  1. Entrepreneurship (access to capital, leadership and community-building support, flexible business models and one-on-one financial guidance)
  2. Adult Education and Workforce Training
  3. Financial Literacy (overcoming fear of financial institutions, combating predatory lending practices, promoting exposure to scholarships and financial aid)
  4. Homeownership (affordable housing initiatives, homeownership support programs, addressing the high cost of housing)

Noerena Limon, Principal at Mariposa Strategies LLC and El Camino Fund Leadership Council member, explains how the fund’s impact areas were decided.

“Our El Camino Fund Leadership Council used a data-driven and lived-experience approach to inform the fund’s grant focus areas,” she says. “Through our partnership with the San Diego Policy & Innovation Center… we reviewed key economic indicators, like housing, education and income, to understand where the fund can make the most impact.”

Seeding the Fund

El Camino Fund was seeded with a $2.5 million endowment from San Diego Foundation.

Other donors include San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which donated $100,000, Wells Fargo, which donated $40,000, and Gary Acosta, a San Diego resident and Founder of the Hispanic Wealth Project, who donated $10,000.

Through investment growth and donor support, the fund is expected to generate more than $4.3 million in impact in the next five years.

Learn More: El Camino Fund

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