From 2006 until 2015, TCLI delivered a series of state-specific Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academies. With funding from over 30 foundations, corporations and banks, each year-long Academy supports the efforts of leaders of emerging and existing Latino-led and serving nonprofits as they work to grow their organizations to the next levels of performance, excellence, impact and sustainability. Growing in scale, 17 Academies were delivered which collectively included 1000+ Latino nonprofit leaders and an additional 200 U.S. Marshallese, Samoan, African American and American Indian participants.

In 2012, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation recognized this powerful union of diverse nonprofit leaders as a new racial equity network. With W.K.K.F. support, TCLI gathered 60 representatives of all Academies in New Orleans on January 18-22, 2012 to meet each other and interact for the first time. This launched an all-Academy collaboration on cross-cutting issues affecting all network organizations and the constituencies and communities they serve.

The result was initiation of the Latino Nonprofit Racial Equity/Racial Healing Project with focus on achieving funding parity for Latino nonprofit organizations, ensuring educational opportunity, and closing the gap on health disparities. Conferees agreed that although the work of each Latino-led and serving organization is invaluable, over-arching equity issues are so critical that they can no longer be addressed within insular Latino communities.

In addition to ongoing cross-Academy collaboration, TCLI integrated these themes into each individual Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academy as well as an over-arching focus on dialogue with other diverse community-based leaders across race and ethnicity.

As an additional support, TCLI conducted a specialized two-day session with participants of every Academy, to deconstruct basic concepts, definitions and trends related to Racial Equity/Racial Healing. This was intentionally structured to encourage and prepare Latino nonprofit leaders to enter into meaningful – and sometimes first-ever – dialogue with non-Latino leaders of color. Participants examined their own Latino sub-group histories of oppression in comparison to histories of other communities of color, discussed the shared impacts of colonialism, and reviewed current challenges from an equity lens.

Each Academy cohort then reached out to diverse leaders on local and state levels, asking if they might be interested in racial healing and racial equity conversations. The result has been the development of new, heart-centered relationships which are creating the foundation for shared problem-solving and collective action.