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Latinos as community leaders

David Hufnagel

Posted on February 15, 2018

David Hufnagel is a Latino market director at MassMutual.
Close up of a woman smiling outside with friends

Establishing meaningful connections and giving back are ways Latinos are paving the road to success in their local communities. What’s more, getting involved in the community is personally gratifying and empowering for Latinos.

Just look at these findings from a newly released MassMutual research study:

  • A majority (78 percent) of Latinos agree that community involvement is important to their well-being and almost half (42 percent) consider themselves community leaders.
  • More than half (57 percent) of Latinos report that they have supported someone in their community in a time of financial stress and 36 percent have been supported by others in their community during a time of need.

Per the Georgetown Public Policy review Latinos are starting businesses 50 times faster than any other demographic, and according to MassMutual Business Owners Perspectives Study, Latino business owners are more motivated to start a business to give back to their communities.

“Being involved with local associations has provided me with opportunities to service my community, from assisting with leadership development for young career professionals to raising awareness of the Latino community and small business needs with state legislature representatives,” said Joe Fernandez, a financial professional for the Piedmont Group, a general agency of MassMutual. “The benefits are countless. Like the wonderful friendships with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures that I would have never met otherwise. Or the network contacts at all professional levels. And the sense of accomplishment I get when a problem is resolved and knowing that I am making a difference. But perhaps the best is when I get a smile and a thank you. That makes it all worthwhile.”

In short, Latino business leaders are finding that getting involved in their local communities is paying off. They get back from what they give.

Getting involved: Tips

So how can someone in the Latino community, or any community or neighborhood, get involved? 

Here are three tips for becoming more involved in your community from Dennis Duquette, MassMutual’s head of community responsibility and president of the MassMutual Foundation:

Reflect.  Ask yourself: What are you passionate about? Where do you see a need in your local community? What causes really resonate with you? Where would you like to make a difference?

Research. Once you’ve identified your cause or area of focus, do some research to identify organizations that are doing good work in that area. Check out their websites. Visit Charity Navigator to find hundreds of Latino organizations and see how those organizations are rated for the quality of services they deliver. And talk to people at the organization or those who are familiar with it to learn more. 

Apply yourself. What value can you offer and what do you want to do? Consider all the possibilities to make an impact on the community while meeting your own aspirations. Perhaps general volunteer activities appeal to you, like cleaning up a public space, mentoring a child, or painting a school. Or you may want to apply particular skills to address a more strategic project where your expertise is needed, like technology assistance, financial management, legal services, or marketing. You also might consider a more formal role through participation on a board of directors for a non-profit or volunteer organization. You can find out more about all of these possibilities by speaking with the leadership of the outfits you are interested in. Important tip: Make sure you have a clear and mutual understanding with your organization of choice about expectations for your involvement.

Whatever you choose, remember that non-profit organizations welcome a wide-ranging array of contributions from volunteers. By doing a little homework up front, you can ensure that you will have a fulfilling volunteer experience and that your community will get the best of what you have to offer.

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