The Castellano Family Foundation (CFF) was founded in 2002 by Carmen and Al Castellano to fill a void in funding for Latinx nonprofits in Silicon Valley and to raise awareness about their importance to communities, philanthropy, and social change. Since then, the Foundation has invested $6.5 million to support Latinx arts and culture, education, and leadership development programs, along with a small portfolio of grants to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy.
The value of giving back to their community as advocates for diversity and social justice is one that Carmen and Al instilled in their children long before establishing a family foundation. Their unwavering commitment to the San Jose community as volunteers and advocates, and later, as philanthropists, earned them the trust and respect of a wide range of nonprofit, civic, and political leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond.
In 2013, the Foundation transitioned its leadership to next generation family members who honored their parents’ legacy by taking it to the next level, using their unique platform to advance Latino philanthropy, diversity, and civic engagement on a local, state, and national level. In 2017, the Board made a strategic decision to broaden its role beyond grantmaking in order to advocate for a bolder and more inclusive approach to philanthropy. We embarked on an agenda to leverage our family values and influence to promote greater visibility and understanding of Latinx organizations and the communities they serve. Our approach is timely given the challenges these organizations and communities face in the current social and political climate.
The Board committed to share what we have learned from working closely with Latinx nonprofits and leaders in Silicon Valley over the past 18 years. Acting on this commitment, we are leading a call to action for the philanthropic community to collaborate across sectors in Silicon Valley to harness more effectively the talents, contributions, resiliency, and creativity of the Latinx community; help address, with clarity and vision, the deep social inequities that hold back Latinx leaders and communities; and to invest in Latinx leaders and nonprofits everywhere.
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