L.I.F.T. Colorado’s First All Male Latino Giving Circle Celebrates Launch In Denver

LIFT Mens Philanthropy Event  (82)

Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media (see photo gallery & video links below

LIFT Mens Philanthropy Event (4)Dozens of Latino men and women came together in North Denver’s Iron Works restaurant August 14th to announce and celebrate the launch of L.I.F.T. Colorado’s First All Male Latino Giving Circle.

Hector Heredia L.I.F.T. founding member

Hector Heredia L.I.F.T. founding member.

Several spoke of the challenges and opportunities facing Latino men and the hope this new organization brings to them. “Young Latino men often face the choice as a teenager of being bullied or joining a gang often the choice is to not be bullied,” said Hector Heredia a founding member of the organization. (See Video)

Attorney Michael Sawaya L.I.F.T. founding member

Attorney Michael Sawaya L.I.F.T. founding member.

Attorney Michael Sawaya, also a founding member told the crowd that he was not concerned about them, “Most everyone here has made it or on a path to success. I am concerned about those kids who are living in fear right now because they are undocumented. We have to be the shining light for these people,” he said. (See Video)

In partnership with The Denver Foundation’s EPIC (Elevating Philanthropy In Communities of Color) initiative, local business leaders, civic leaders and entrepreneurs in Metro Denver have joined together to create opportunities for giving back to the community. Latinos Impacting Our Future Together (L.I.F.T.) is a men’s giving circle to support and empower Colorado communities by elevating identity, awareness, and culture through philanthropy.

Marlene de la Rosa, founding member of Latina's Give talks with current L.I.F.T members. Marlene is not only a key inspiration for both organizations but a fantastic chef baking up some delicious deserts for the event.

Marlene de la Rosa, founding member of Latina’s Give talks with current L.I.F.T members. Marlene is not only a key inspiration for both organizations but a fantastic chef baking up some delicious deserts for the event.

L.I.F.T. joins in the ranks with other pre-existing identity based giving circles at the Foundation like DAAP (Denver African American Philanthropists), LatinasGive!, and March On!

Established by 32 founding members,L.I.F.T.provides a way for local Latinos to get involved in collective action, and to have a positive impact on Denver’s Latino communities. Through individual annual contributions, L.I.F.T. members pool resources that are then used to give grants to local nonprofit organizations. L.I.F.T. members are directly involved in the grantmaking process, which reflects their shared interests.

Attorney Michael Sawaya (left)and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen L.I.F.T. members.

Attorney Michael Sawaya (left)and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen L.I.F.T. members.

L.I.F.T. is open to all Latino-identifying men aged 18 and up, from established community members to the next generation of young professionals. “I definitely see a need for it in our Hispanic/Latino community.

“I see this as very important to building authentic community, and to be examples to these young men to show them they too can give back,” says L.I.F.T. co-chair Danny Martinez.

Other members include: Anthony R. Aragon-Co Chair, Antonio Caro, Arthur Ortegon, Benjamin Williamson, Benjamin Williamson Sr., Chris Martinez, Christopher Pacheco, Clinton Brown, Daniel Ramos, Dave Martinez, Davion Rodriquez, Desmond Fulton, Eugene R. Lucero, Fermin Chavaria, Hector Heredia, Jason Salas, Jeffrey Martinez, Jeremy Vigil, John Lucero, Jose Meza-Salazar, Joseph Montoya, K.C. Veio, LaPhonso L. Salas-Co-Chair, Les Mendoza, Manuel Almaguer, Mark Leyba, Michael G. Sawaya, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen, Ricardo Nares, Richard Garcia, Roberto Venegas, Ronald J. Ramirez, Timothy Sandos, Zane De Herrera.

Danny Martinez L.I.F.T Co-chair welcomes the crowd to the launch of the Colorado's first Latino philanthropic organization.

L.I.F.T Co-chair welcomes the crowd to the launch of the Colorado’s first Latino philanthropic organization.

L.I.F.T. will support nonprofits that work in education, human services, leadership, youth development, community improvement, healthcare, and other areas that directly impact young Latinos in Metro Denver. The group’s founding vision is to support young Latinos as they become future professionals and community leaders, and to continue the work of closing the equity gap for Latinos across all sectors in Metro Denver communities.

Organizations supporting and providing services to Latino communities interested in applying for funding can request an application at liftgc@gmail.com. All grants funded will be decided upon by members of L.I.F.T.

About The Denver Foundation:
The Denver Foundation is a community foundation that inspires people and mobilizes resources to improve life in Metro Denver. In 2018, the Foundation and its donors awarded nearly $80 million in grants. The Denver Foundation has three roles: stewarding an endowment to meet current and future needs for Metro Denver, working with community leaders to address the core challenges that face the community, and managing more than 1,000 charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.denverfoundation.org.

About Elevating Philanthropy In Communities of Color:

For nearly twenty years, through Strengthening Neighborhoods and the Inclusiveness Project, The Denver Foundation has invested significant time and financial resources to develop relationships, programming, and grant-making in communities of color. Through EPIC and with funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, The Denver Foundation is proud to continue our support of the existing, emerging, and under publicized acts of philanthropy in communities of color.

Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media