Hispanics in Philanthropy is Serving Latin America—with a Big Boost from MacKenzie Scott


MacKenzie Scott’s giving may have a certain air of mystery about it, but her team’s message to Hispanics in Philanthropy was clear—your work is important and aligns with our values. We trust you to do the right thing in your own way, with no strings attached. And encouraging words from Scott herself: “She’d like you to do more, faster.”

Hispanics in Philanthropy, a global network of grantmakers that strengthen the social and economic agency of the Latinx community across the Americas, was one of the “384 ways” Scott chose to address the economic fallout from COVID-19 in December of 2020, particularly among vulnerable communities with limited access to philanthropic capital.

Absorbing Scott’s game-changing, $15 million gift has been a deliberate process that’s allowed HIP to deploy new resources to often-neglected needs like staff development and organizational infrastructure. It’s also allowed HIP to bolster an important part of its mission—on-the-ground work in Latin America, and especially Mexico.

While building a culture of giving among U.S. constituents is central to its work, the organization remains rooted in the places that Gracia Goya, HIP’s vice president for Latin America, called “part of its DNA.” Maintaining a global footprint is a necessary part of understanding “what is happening to Latinx communities in the U.S.,” and no response would be “complete if we don’t work with our communities in our countries of origin.”

Here’s a look at HIP’s presence and programs outside of the U.S., and how it’s leaning on transnational strategies to strengthen and develop relationships that support its constituencies in Mexico and beyond.

Leadership, influence and equity

HIP marshals philanthropic support behind the Latinx community for a mix of work that includes social justice and economic prosperity. It draws donors from traditional networks and institutions, as well as newer digital platforms, to build Latinx “leadership, influence and equity.” HIP offers a full spectrum of services like facilitating donor collaborations, helping donors identify causes to support, managing grantmaking programs, and administering donor-advised funds.

Donors range from large institutions to individuals. Institutional donors include the David and Lucile Packard, Robert Wood Johnson, and Marguerite Casey foundations. At the same time, crowdfunding platforms like the bilingual HIPGive give individual donors a chance to engage with programs and campaigns targeting a wide range of places and issues like gender equity in Mexico and the overall health and welfare of farmworkers.

Annual contributions hovered around $5 million in each of the four years preceding the $15 million vote of confidence it received from Scott. The new funding is intended to last three years and allows paradigm shifts in the group’s budget. As HIP President and CEO Ana Marie Argilagos said at the time of the announcement, HIP would be boosting programming, leadership and infrastructure initiatives.

Programming includes a number of Latin America initiatives. HIP Latin America was able to expand its racial equity and racial justice work to include Indigenous communities. On leadership, the Líderes Mexico Fellowship Program, an HIP program that uses peer-based leadership development to tackle pressing issues across the Americas, expanded to Mexico.

According to tax filings, HIP directed nearly $6.7 million in grants to North America outside the U.S., Latin America, Central America and South America last year. Around $6 million of that was deployed in North America. Central America and the Caribbean drew grants totaling nearly $600,000; South America accounted for the balance.

On the infrastructure front, Goya said the pandemic challenged the organization to “invest in ourselves” through staff development, dedicating resources she characterized as hard to find. HIP has also been able to build out its tech infrastructure with a new grantmaking system.

Part of its DN