Last week I had the privilege and honor of attending the Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) 2016 Leadership Convening conference held in Sonoma, California. I feel blessed that I was joined by my parents, Alcario and Carmen Castellano, along with my brother Armando Castellano. Reflecting on my tenure as a trustee of the Castellano Family Foundation, one of the things I feel most moved by is that the Foundation is a family endeavor and that I am able to join and support my parents in their investment in our community through philanthropy.
It is so wonderful to know that, at their age, my parents still have the ability and capacity to attend such an event and participate as leaders in philanthropy not only for California, but for the entire country. What they have done in creating the Castellano Family Foundation and utilizing it as a platform to advance the issues of the Latino community and the importance of Latinos in leadership roles – especially in philanthropy – is truly historic and something I greatly admire.
My parents created the Castellano Family Foundation in 2001 as a way to give back, but also to help promote our local community and the issues that are so important to them. What they soon found out was that the world of philanthropy they were now so involved in lacked the diversity they had hoped for – a trend we find in so many professional sectors throughout the United States. They turned it into an opportunity to advance issues of diversity, particularly as they pertain to philanthropic giving to the Latino community and the importance of promoting Latinos into leadership roles in philanthropy.
The issue of diversity is so important and timely – not only in philanthropy, but also in other areas of my career. I have also been grappling with diversity in a significant way through my role as President and CEO of the California Primary Care Association (CPCA). We live in a state where millions of Latinos now have health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but the number Latino physicians in California has not grown at a significant rate over the last decade. We are now in a position where 40 percent of the state’s population is Latino, but where Latino’s account for only five percent of physicians. This issue of diversity is cross-cutting and impacting our state in a very significant way at many different levels.
I feel so privileged to be in a position with the Castellano Family Foundation and with CPCA where I can join with others who share the same passion to advance this important agenda and shed light on an issue as important as diversity. I am so pleased that I can carry on my parents’ legacy of promoting this issue in the philanthropic arena and I am dedicated to continuing their legacy in my role as President of the Castellano Family Foundation.
It was a wonderful experience to be at HIP where I joined with other Latino philanthropic leaders in thinking about these important issues and the continued work of finding a mechanism and platform to advance the issue of diversity. I was truly inspired to be joined by Latina leaders in healthcare including Sandra Hernandez, President and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation; Jane Garcia, Board Chair of The California Endowment; and Xóchitl Castañeda, member of the California Wellness Foundation Board of Directors. These women encourage and motivate me in my own work with CPCA, and now in this new area of making a difference through philanthropy. This conference was a great opportunity to join with others in advancing the cause. Thank you to my parents, and thank you to HIP and all those out there who are fighting for this issue. Making strides in diversity will take time, but we are in it for the long haul.