A new Latino startup is on the scene, with the aim of taking the power of crowdfunding to Latino communities across the Western hemisphere. HIPGive is a new crowdfunding site by Hispanics in Philanthropy, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
As we previously reported, Hispanics in Philanthropy, or HIP, is a charitable organization that helps sponsor initiatives that help ensure access to things like a quality education, economic stability, and healthcare. HIP has been doing this for 30 years, funding and supporting more than 600 Latino organizations across the country.
HIP's funding has helped organizations with the goal of strengthening the Latino community and increasing opportunities for Latinos, providing grants, training, webinars, and conferences to give leaders networking opportunities and grow their organizations in the U.S. and Latin America. "In every corner of the United States and across Latin America, you will find Latinos working hard to bring about positive change and opportunity for others. At HIP, we have had the pleasure and the honor to play a part in this," said Alexandra Aquino-Fike, Senior Manager for Corporate Relations, to the Latin Post in an exclusive interview last year.
Now HIP is getting into the "hippest" trend in charitable giving -- crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the term that applies to organizations and websites you might have heard about like IndieGoGo and KickStarter. The concept has its origins in crowdsourcing, an internet phenomenon where many individuals make small contributions to a greater project (think Wikipedia), except in the realm of donations.
HIP, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, is blending "technology and tradition" in the new online crowdfunding platform HIPGive, which was announced at HIP's 30th anniversary gala. As a way to "kickstart" the crowdfunding platform, in a partnership with the Western Union Foundation, HIP is launching Hipgive.org with a fundraising contest, where donations to Latino organizations featured on the website will be matched by HIP's grant funds.
"As Latinos embrace social technologies faster and insert themselves into political and civic forums at an exponential rate, HIPGive will connect everyday individuals with model programs that make a real difference," said the announcement from the Latino nonprofit's release. "From expanding effective education models in North Carolina and Puerto Rico to increasing Latino college graduation rates, to strengthening care and services for elders in Colorado, the nonprofits in HIP's network have proven models for inspiring and affecting change."
Besides tapping into the growing internet savvy of Latinos to help community organizations all over the Western Hemisphere, HIPGive will additionally help teach nonprofits to grow their skills and resources, as well as network with other Latino organizations. "Today, through innovative social media campaigns, organizations like us can go beyond raising awareness about our cause to actually becoming change agents," said Elicia Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALAEI: A queer Latin@ Social Justice Organization in HIP's announcement. "HIPGive provides us with the opportunity to inspire our community to donate at all levels and be a part of something bigger. We are so grateful to be able to raise funds and make a difference for GALAEI."
The Latino nonprofit web startup hopes to leverage the growing Latino population and its trailblazing use of digital technology to help fellow Hispanics who are less fortunate. "As we witness the growth of the Hispanic population, Latino nonprofit organizations are just starting to attract substantial investments from organized philanthropy. These investments will pay off handsomely in every community in the US and for our countries of origin," said HIP president, Diana Campoamor.
"HIPGive aims to make philanthropy more accessible across the Americas. We built the online platform as a tool to galvanize our generous culture of giving," she added.
You can check out the cutting-edge of digital Latino philanthropy at HIPGive.org.
Here’s something that could turn into a real problem for the White House: After months of hammering away at Republicans to act on immigration reform, the Latino media is increasingly shifting its focus to President Obama, urging him to unilaterally slow deportations.
“There has been a shift within the Hispanic media,” Jorge Ramos, the influential Univision anchor who has been called the “Walter Cronkite of Hispanic media,” told me. “If you read the editorial pages in the most important Spanish language newspapers, you notice immediately how the conversation has changed from attacking Republicans to attacking Obama.”
Ramos said Latino media are increasingly calling on Obama to defer deportations of other categories of the 11 million — which he did for the DREAMers — as this editorial in La Opinion did the other day. Some top Dems and immigration groups have began demanding this more vociferously, prodding along this media shift.
It’s a real change. Last summer, Dems saw Latino media pressure on Republicans as potentially helpful to immigration reform’s hopes. But now Ramos says many in the Latino media have decided Republicans will never act, leaving them little choice but to focus on Obama.
“They’ve already given up on Republicans,” Ramos said, characterizing Latino media viewpoints. “Immigration reform is not going to happen now. The only one who can do something is President Obama. On a personal basis, what is more harmful: Republicans who are not moving on immigration, or a president who is removing your father, your mother, your brother, your co-worker, and your friends from this country?”
The legal nuances are murky. Experts say Obama certainly can’t “stop all deportations” or legalize anyone unilaterally. He only deferred deportation for DREAMers. But there’s even some question about how many categories he could defer deportation for, because that means pushing more people to the bottom of the list, making it harder to justify with prosecutorial discretion.
Ramos insisted there are some categories — parents and siblings of DREAMers, and parents of Latinos born here — that could legally benefit from presidential action. But whatever the legality of this, Latino media are increasingly convinced Obama can do this. “We are seeing more and more reporting in Spanish language media that Obama has the power to stop deportations,” Ramos said.
Shifting to Obama also has a strategic downside: It removes the pressure from John Boehner and Republicans. Latino radio host Fernando Espuelas argues that focusing on the “magic realism power that Obama supposedly possesses” to stop all deportations removes attention from the “real problem,” which is the GOP’s “serial deception in regard to blocking immigration reform.”
Asked to respond, Ramos agreed this was a risk, but said a balance could be struck. “Pressing Obama and forgetting about Republicans is wrong,” he said. “We have to put pressure on Obama to stop deportations while keeping pressure specifically on Boehner and Republicans. You can do both.”
Fair or not, what all of this indicates is that, as it becomes clearer Republicans will do nothing, the pressure on Obama to act unilaterally — or to signal more clearly he’s genuinely exploring options — will likely build. Of course, if that happens, it will further persuade Republicans they can escape blame from Latinos for not acting, and lead to more chatter about #OBUMMER TYRANNY, which Republicans will seize on as a further excuse for inaction.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Pitching himself as an ally to Silicon Valley, presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio proposed giving cellphone companies more access to government-controlled airwaves and other pro-business initiatives he said would create "thousands upon thousands of high-paying jobs."
In an appearance that detailed his "grand illustration of America's potential in the 21st century," the Florida Republican also pledged to defeat any efforts to limit access to the Internet and separately proposed allowing private businesses to work with government labs to develop new products. The business-friendly message comes as Rubio looks to shift focus away from a stalled bipartisan immigration overhaul he helped to craft and as he eyes potentially deep-pocketed donors.
"The world around us is changing quickly, and we have waited for far too long to change with it. We still have time to build the new American Century, but we do not have forever," Rubio said at an event organized through the Jack Kemp Foundation and hosted at Google's Washington headquarters.
Rubio's remarks come as he is considering a White House campaign in 2016. Pitching himself as an ally to Silicon Valley's tech titans could help him raise campaign donations from that industry, which so far have been lacking.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Internet and computer industries have given Rubio and his leadership committee about $182,000 since 2009. He badly trails in donations from the telecommunications industry with just $8,500.
Rubio's top backers to this point have been retirees, investment firms and conservative groups.
Should Rubio formally enter the still-forming contest for the Republican nomination, an affinity among Silicon Valley — and its Wall Street investors — could be handy in raising the needed millions to make it through the first few states.
Rubio's political brand has taken a hit since he helped negotiate a bipartisan immigration overhaul that cleared the Senate but stalled in the House. Conservatives grew wary of the measure, and the Republican-led House signaled the comprehensive Senate plan would go nowhere.
The tech industry pushed hard for the immigration overhaul, seeing millions of potential in-demand high-skilled employees.
Rubio didn't mention immigration during his remarks but was asked about it. He remained skeptical of suggestions that immigrants who are in the country illegally could stay in the United States permanently without any pathway to citizenship.
"How do we deal with the 12 million people who are here in a way that is realistic but in a way that is also responsible?" Rubio asked. "Are you willing to have 8 or 9 million people who are here permanently but are not citizens?"
"I don't think that's a good place for the country to be," Rubio said.
At this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference, an early confab where the party's strongest activists huddle to hear from potential presidential contenders, Rubio finished seventh place in a straw poll. A year earlier, he finished second.
Now Rubio is trying to rehabilitate his image through a series of policy prescriptions. Monday's proposal was to make available wireless bandwidth currently controlled by the government to commercial wireless providers, such as AT&T or Sprint.
"Too much of the digital realm is blocked by unnecessary federal restrictions. The more spectrum and bandwidth we can open up to the private sector, the more jobs it can create," Rubio said, pledging to soon introduce a bill to permit that.
"The American economy will take off at a historic rate, it would create thousands upon thousands of high-paying jobs," he predicted.
Rubio also said the United States must formalize its opposition to a proposal that would give the United Nations a greater role in governing the Internet. Rubio said the proposal is foolhardy and runs counter to the United States' goal of spreading democracy and human rights.
Rubio's 40-minute slate of policy ideas included "an interstate energy pipeline system" to transport oil and natural gas from the fields to consumers. He also proposed ending the ban on crude oil exports that has been in place since the 1970s.
Republicans have been highly critical of the United States' energy policies under President Barack Obama, claiming he has fought a "war on coal" and delayed a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Rubio acknowledged that energy production is up 15 percent since 2005 before adding it could be higher.
"Selling some of our vast energy resources will lead to explosive growth and higher paying jobs here at home," he said.
And in a further nod to the tech sector, Rubio said he would continue to push bipartisan legislation that would make it easier for private companies to collaborate with government-funded labs at NASA, the Pentagon and the National Institutes of Health.
Such collaboration could be worth billions to companies.
"Our network of national labs has also long been a leading source of research," Rubio said. "But they currently lack the ability to work with the private sector to translate this into American jobs."
When Alabama passed what is considered one of the nation’s toughest immigration laws in 2011, Theysy Victoria Diaz Perez was denied medical care for her pregnancy because she was undocumented.
She was left with no other choice but to return to Mexico to give birth to her baby. Now, two years after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit struck down most of Alabama’s HB 56, Diaz Perez wants to come back to the United States.
On Monday, the 21-year-old was among the estimated 150 people who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to come back and reunite with family members living in the U.S. They crossed the border through the Otay Mesa port of entry, which is located between San Diego and Tijuana, and asked U.S. officials to allow them to stay in the country.
By midday Monday, the first group made it through and was being processed at the Otay Mesa port of entry. On the U.S. side of the border, their family members waited anxiously for them to cross.
Most of the people participating in the border crossing had been living in the U.S. for years before they were deported for minor crimes, such as traffic violations. There are also some, like Diaz Perez, who faced certain circumstances that drove them to leave the U.S.
“These are all folks who call this country their home. They deserve to come back,” Mohammad Abdollahi, one of the organizers of the border crossing, told Voxxi.
Abdollahi added that Diaz Perez is “a clear example of someone who deserves to come back.”
Third ‘Bring Them Home’ action
The border crossing is part of the “Bring Them Home” campaign led by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an undocumented youth-led network of grassroots organizations. This is the third and largest border crossing organized by NIYA.
Last year, there were two border crossings organized by the “Bring Them Home” campaign — one with 9 Dreamers and another with 34 Dreamers. Most of them were released. Some requested humanitarian parole while others requested asylum, saying they feared persecution in Mexico.
A few of the Dreamers from the second group were deported. Among them was Rocio Hernandez Perez, who would’ve qualified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals but left the U.S. before the announcement of the federal program, which allows undocumented youth to stay and work in the U.S. for a renewable period of two years.
What’s different about Monday’s border crossing is that it includes parents and entire families, whereas the past two actions focused on Dreamers.
This border crossing also includes a handful of unaccompanied minors. Among them is a pair of sisters, a 9-year-old and 11-year-old, who were trafficked by their relatives in Mexico and are looking to reunite with their parents who live in the U.S.
Highlighting the impact of deportations
Abdollahi said the purpose of the “Bring Them Home” campaign is to highlight how President Barack Obama’s immigration policies, as well as state-approved immigration laws, is resulting in families being separated because of deportations. Nearly 2 million people have been deported since Obama took office five years ago.
“We want there to be a pathway for folks that have been forced to leave the country or who have been deported to be able to come back to the United States,” he said.
Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, was among the dozens of people who gathered on the U.S. side of the Otay Mesa port of entry to wait for the estimated 150 people to cross the border. They participated in a “coming out” action where people shared their stories of how deportations have impacted their families.
In an interview with Voxxi, Morones praised the Dreamers who are involved in the “Bring Them Home” campaign, saying: “I think that what they’re doing is very brave. They’ve done things that I know I would not have the courage to do.”
He also said he was “disappointed” with Obama for his record on deportations.
“I was surprised. I didn’t think he would be doing that but he has,” Morones said about Obama deporting more people per year than any other president. “I think he did that because he wanted to show that he was tough, and he wanted to get the Republicans to support him.”
Monday’s border crossing comes as pressure escalates for Obama to halt deportations.
Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers, is running Obamacare attack ads featuring a cancer patient who claimed her treatments were "unaffordable" under the new health law. On Monday, The Detroit News reported that the patient will actually save more than $1,000 a year.
Julie Boonstra says in the anti-Obamacare ad that she was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago, and her health care plan was canceled when Obamacare went into effect.
"Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it's unaffordable," she said.
Before her plan was canceled, Boonstra was paying a $1,100 monthly premium. That's $13,200 a year, without adding out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays and prescription drugs. But under her new plan, the Blue Cross Premier Gold, Boonstra's premiums are down to $571 a month, and out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100. That's a maximum annual expense of $11,952 a year.
According to The Detroit News, Boonstra said it “can’t be true” that her new coverage is cheaper than her old.
“I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.
The ads set out to target Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who faces former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) in a tight race for Michigan's U.S. Senate seat. Peters voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act.
The billionaire Koch brothers have spent millions in attack ads in Michigan and beyond, prompting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to take a public stand against their tactics. Reid accused the Kochs of "trying to buy America," saying Republicans are "addicted to Koch."
Boonstra told The Detroit News she had never been politically active before joining the anti-Obamacare campaign. The newspaper reported her ex-husband, Mark Boonstra, had served as chair of the Washtenaw County GOP, and was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2012.
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