Leveraging communications investments to support and enhance the impact of nonprofits’ work with Latino communities

We partner with nonprofits committed to strengthening their communications capacity to develop tools to more effectively reach and engage with bilingual and Spanish speaking families. The goal of this work is to help families access information about programs and services that support their success and full community participation.

THE BRIDGES PROGRAM

For families who are new to the community or who have limited English proficiency, information in their native language serves as a means to participate in and access essential services, programs, and educational opportunities. Making critical information available in Spanish and other languages provides a bridge for English language learners and serves as a means for nonprofits to reach families and adults, and through them, the next generation of youth.

The Bridges Program works with nonprofits to build capacity for communications strategies that more effectively reach and engage Spanish speakers. Each Bridges Program grant is customized to the nonprofit’s mission, organizational culture, and capacity. We encourage partners to take a multipronged approach. To date, organizations have worked with professionals to accurately translate Spanish-language content, designed Spanish-language microsites, and created bilingual video content.

WHY BRIDGES FOR SPANISH SPEAKING FAMILIES?

The Hispanic population has grown from 4.4% of the population in 1970 to 18% in 2016. One out of four children in the United States is Hispanic, and that number is estimated to increase to one in three by 2050. The promise and potential of these children is great, but with two-thirds of Hispanic children living in or near poverty, the barriers to academic success, economic security, and prosperity are real. Linguistic isolation can compound these challenges, but it doesn’t have to.

LESSONS LEARNED

Since 2015, we have partnered with 12 nonprofits through the Bridges Program. Through interviews with partners and Foundation staff, we identified the following patterns:

  • Even small communications investments make a major difference.
  • Strategic investments in the outreach and engagement of diverse communities leverages programmatic work and impact.
  • Funding for communications can motivate organizations to assess and improve their overall capacity to serve diverse communities.

BRIDGES WORK IN THE SPOTLIGHT