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Orange County Business Journal

by Gaddi H. Vasquez

Nonprofit organizations are vital to our communities’ stability and quality of life.
To fulfill their missions, they depend on effective boards that reflect the regions they serve. However, despite representing nearly 20% of the U.S. population, Latino professionals are vastly underrepresented on nonprofit boards.

According to Latinos Lead, the nation’s only census of Latinos in nonprofit governance, of all organizations within its California database which represents 11,954 board members, only 12% or 1,383 board members are Latino; and of the 862 nonprofit organizations listed, 37% or 320 boards have zero Latinos represented.

Orange County, with 34 cities and 3.1 million residents, is 34% Latino—a proportion that will continue to increase as our region grows. Unfortunately, Latino professionals often lack pathways to nonprofit board service and leadership despite the ardent desire of nonprofits to attract Latino board members.

To address this gap, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) has launched the Avanzar Board Leadership Academy modeled after a successful program of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. With support from consulting firm Adelante Partners, the Avanzar Board Leadership Academy will equip emerging Latino professionals with the necessary skills to become engaged and effective board members for OC nonprofits.