Boston – The Latino Equity Fund (LEF), a unique collaboration between local Latino leaders, The Boston Foundation (TBF), and Hispanics in Philanthropy, today announced that Evelyn Barahona will serve as the organization’s first director. Barahona will work alongside the LEF advisory committee to enhance its advocacy work and allow a greater focus on its mission to strengthen health equity and economic opportunity for the Latino community across Massachusetts.
“The Latino Equity Fund will certainly benefit from having a dedicated person focusing on our strategy and stakeholder groups,” said Juan Lopera, co-chair of the Latino Equity Fund. “Evelyn has the track record of being a big-picture thinker who gets things done. Her role as director is a crucial one because it will help us realize the vision for health equity and economic inclusion for our Latino community."
“It is with immense pride that I join the Latino Equity Fund to help lead the organization to new heights,” said Barahona. “I want LEF to be the resource for Massachusetts’ Latino community when they think about issues; we can be the connector and convener for them. Nationally, I want us to become the model and framework for other funds throughout the United States to aspire to create equitable philanthropy for Latinos.”
Barahona begins her new post as the Latino Equity Fund is undertaking a $10 million fundraising campaign and is ramping up efforts around vaccine equity and access for the Latino community. LEF is working with the Commonwealth to improve cultural adaptation and underrepresented community engagement, and it has been leveraging its connections to help get the “Mobile Vax” into Latino communities – a retrofitted bus that can provide up to 500 shots per day.
While those are critical areas of focus, Barahona also sees broadband access – or lack thereof - as impacting all sectors including the most vulnerable in the Latino community. English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is another primary focus area; vocationally focused ESOL programs can have immediate payback for students/community, but there is a significant shortage of these programs to enhance professional or job-related skills and opportunities.
“This isn’t just an educational problem – it’s also an economic necessity,” said Barahona. “The Latino Equity Fund has long had a serious interest in ESOL, largely because of the intersectionality of health equity and economic outcomes.”
Barahona most recently served as Donor Relations Officer of the Philanthropy Group at the Boston Foundation. Among her responsibilities: managing a portfolio of donor advised fund holders, strategically advising key stakeholders, and developing donor engagement projects related to racial equity. In 2017, she helped organize the Massachusetts United Puerto Rico Fund (MUPR) and managed a $4 million disaster philanthropy fund at TBF for strategic disbursement in Massachusetts and Puerto Rico. Prior to that she held leadership positions at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Quality Interactions, Inc., and Baring Asset Management.
“Evelyn brings a powerful commitment to making Massachusetts a more just and equitable Commonwealth,” said Aixa Beauchamp, co-founder and co-chair of LEF. “The Latino Equity Fund is honored to be working with Evelyn to leverage the strengths of the Latino community and to help them prosper and thrive beyond this crisis.”
Barahona currently serves as Board Chair of the Conexion Board of Directors, is a board member of The Latina Circle, founding board member of Amplify Latinx, and is a member of the Board of Ambassadors at Eastern Bank. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Northeastern University. She lives in West Roxbury.