Bravely and boldly scaling Latine power for our collective future

Valiente Power-Builder Accelerator Grantees

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  • What is the Valiente Accelerator?

    The Valiente Accelerator, in its inaugural year, will include a peer-to-peer learning cohort and other capacity-building support, such as tailored coaching and expert-driven technical assistance. In addition, the organizations will receive a one time, general support grant ranging from $50k to $100k.

  • What would we be committing to?

    Organizations will set their own operational goal to commence January and conclude in August 2024. At this time, it is estimated that each of the two staff will devote an average of 1.5 hours per week and commit to three (3) two day in-person convenings to take place mid-February, April and July 2024.

  • How do we define power?

    The drivers of change and the context dictate their notion of power, but basically the capacity to accomplish your goals, continuously learning and adapting from your efforts.The sources, dimensions and expressions of power can be many, including:

    • Base Building
    • Leadership Development
    • Advancing Issue campaigns
    • Building electoral influence
    • Long-term narrative and cultural change
    • Organizational and community resilience.
  • Who is an ideal candidate?

    • An emerging group with less than five fiscal years under your belt.
    • Working from the bottom up in NV, NC, TX or FL.
    • Impatient for change, hungry for bold action and growth, including electoral reach.
    • Needing to strengthen the operational aspects in order to pursue your bold vision.
    • Leadership committed to indigenous sovereignty, anti-racism and feminist economies, building alliances and movements for all. 
  • Who qualifies as a Latine organization?

    Whether first, second or third generation, Latinhood and Latinidad are as diverse as our ancestral roots transcending language, race or geographies. We won’t be single-storied.
    While identity can be a dynamic construction, constantly being shaped by internal and external forces, we would expect the majority of the leadership, whether paid or volunteer and the constituencies to identify within the Latino, Hispanic, Latinx or Latine frame.

  • How do you determine how old an organization is?

    Our intent is to accelerate the development of emerging groups, help them level up. To determine age we will base it on your fiscal year. For example, you may have previously had a tenure as a volunteer organization, but are now within the five years of having and managing a budget.

  • Why focus on these states NV, NC, TX, FL?

    In this first round, we sought to impact both emerging and battleground states, where the infra-structure still has much potential for growth.

  • How much money are you granting?

    By the end of 2023 we will disburse $1M in direct general support grants in the range of $50k-$100k. In the first six months of 2024, the Valiente Accelerator groups will benefit from $1M worth of capacity building training, coaching and convenings.

  • Will this just be a one year opportunity?

    In its inaugural grantmaking cycle, as The Valiente Fund, we are piloting this first Accelerator. We will be evaluating, documenting and learning alongside the first cohort to shape future strategies.

  • What is the timeline?

    • Applications will open on September 15th and close October 27th.
    • Info session will be September 27th at 2 pm EST
    • Decisions will be known by November 30th.
    • Capacity Building portions will commence in February and end in August.

Watch a recording of our latest info session

Connect with Valiente

Valiente fund 101

  • What is The Valiente Fund, why was it created?

    The Valiente Fund is a 501(c)3 funder collaborative with three primary purposes:

    1. To maximize the potential of the next generation of power-building Latine leaders and organizations so they can take risks, including going to scale.
    2. Address the lack of investment and increase the amount of philanthropic funds for Latine leaders, organizations and communities.
    3. Document, learn and innovate from our shared experiences.
  • Who we are

    • Founders: Jose Garcia, Javier Valdes, Stephanie Roman, Sarah Audelo
    • Advisory Committee: Cristina Jimenez, Jessica Salinas, Hilda Vega, Jessica Rocketo Robledo
    • Staff: Marialegria Rodriguez
    • Home: Valiente Fund is housed at Way to Rise
  • What is the Valiente Accelerator

    A peer cohort that convenes to learn together and combat isolation
    Training and technical assistance to strengthen operational capacities, such as finance, human resources, data systems, project or organizational management.
    A general support, one year grant, between $50k-$100k

The People

As the first Executive Director of this emerging effort and as a first-time grant maker, I am stepping into the new, unknown Valiente zone. The mission is clear and compelling: to accelerate Latine power builders and to agitate philanthropy to increase our share. Turning our pain into power and our poetry into policy to defend the dignity of our people, of all people, fuels us forward. Dissed too long— discriminated, dismissed, discarded, disposed of. Whether Chicana, Boricua, india, Negra or mestiza, we are valiente every day. Let's align our collective power to shape a future where we all share the joy and abundance of a true democracy. There is still much to learn and co-create, please join us porque aqui se respira lucha!

Maria Rodriguez

Valiente Fund, Executive Director

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Maria Rodriguez

Valiente Fund, Executive Director

Maria (marialegria) Rodriguez is an experienced organizer and leader in the immigrant, racial justice and democracy social movements. She served as the first Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. As a movement architect, Maria’s inclusive leadership has yielded impressive wins in college access, wage protections and combating criminalization; allowing more people to live, labor and love without fear. As a social entrepreneur, she has co-founded half a dozen award-winning organizations still thriving today. She has numerous recognitions including by the White House and as the Distinguished Taconic Fellow in 2022.

Founding Funders

  • Javier Valdez

    Javier Valdés

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Javier Valdés

    Javier H. Valdés is director of the Civic Engagement and Government program. He supports grantmaking to strengthen representation, participation, and leadership in US democracy so that communities can shape their futures, with dignity, inclusion, and equitable access to economic resources.

    Javier joined the foundation in 2021 after previously serving as co-executive director of Make the Road New York (MRNY) and Make the Road Action. He led MRNY’s organizing team in securing historic victories for New Yorkers including passage of the New York State DREAM Act and restoration of driver’s licenses for all, regardless of immigration status.

    He has spent decades advocating for policy reforms, including limiting the local presence of federal immigration enforcement, improving the quality of affordable housing, expanding translation and interpretation services at government offices, and reducing biased policing. Javier played a critical role in the creation of the IDNYC, the nation’s largest municipal identification card, and the dramatic expansion of paid sick days for low-wage workers in New York City. He supervised MRNY’s youth programming and the national expansion of its organizing model, launching Make the Road organizations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

    Javier has held positions at the New York Immigration Coalition, Synergos Institute, and United Nations Capital Development Fund. He previously served as board chair for the Center for Popular Democracy, secretary of the Working Families Party in New York State, and is a founding member of the Flushing Meadow Corona Park Alliance.

    In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded Javier the White House Champions of Change Cesar Chavez Award. Javier has a masters degree in urban planning in community and economic development from the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a bachelor of arts in international studies and environmental design and architecture from Texas A&M University.

  • Jose Garcia

    José García

    Chief Executive Officer

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    José García

    José García is the director of the Future of Work(ers) team. Since 2017, he has served as a program officer and senior program officer leading Ford’s efforts to support organizations that are innovating new ways to build worker voice and influence. Prior to joining Ford, he served as program officer for Strong Local Economies at the Surdna Foundation, where he led the design and implementation of a $4 million grantmaking portfolio to spur business development and acceleration while focusing on quality job and wealth creation. His portfolio focused on double and triple bottom line local businesses and organizations assisting the growth of people of color, women, and immigrant-owned businesses. Additionally, he sourced and monitored program-related investment (PRI) deals that fit the foundation’s program strategy.

    Before his time at Surdna, José was a policy fellow at the National Council of La Raza’s Wealth Building Policy Project. During his tenure, he coauthored the book Foreclosure to Fair Lending: Advocacy, Organizing, Occupy, and the Pursuit of Equitable Credit and the policy report Making the Mortgage Market Work for America’s Families. Shortly before that, he deviated from his career path to assist his family’s small business during a period of transition—and was able to see firsthand how economic policies affect mom and pop shops.

    Earlier in his career, José served as associate director for the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos, where he authored dozens of reports on household debt and coauthored the book Up to Our Eyeballs: How Shady Lenders and Failed Economic Policies are Drowning Americans in Debt.

  • A Sarah Audelo

    Sarah Audelo

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Sarah Audelo

    Sarah Audelo is the Deputy Advocacy Director for States at Open Society Foundation/Open Society Policy Center where she leads work related to state power building including voter engagement, issue advocacy, and ballot measures. Before joining Open Society, she was the Executive Director of the Alliance for Youth Action, the United States’ largest youth organizing network. Sarah lives is Washington, DC and is a proud partner to Josh and Mami to Roque and Nacho.

  • Stephanie Román

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Stephanie Román

    Stephanie Román is the Program Manager for Elections and Voting at Democracy Fund, an independent foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Focusing on building trust in elections, Stephanie works with the Elections and Voting Program in its efforts to ensure that the views and votes of citizens come first in our democracy.

    Prior to joining Democracy Fund, Stephanie was a Policy Advisor with the Policy Analysis Center at UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. There, she worked on multiple policy issues including civil rights, higher education, and economic security and served as the in-house policy expert and bilingual spokesperson on civil rights and student debt issues. Stephanie started her career as a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City, Mexico, prior to joining the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In 2017, she served as the William R. Hearst Fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation.

    A Los Angeles native, Stephanie has a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College.

Advisory Committee

  • Cristina Jiménez Moreta

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Cristina Jiménez Moreta

    Cristina Jiménez Moreta is an award-winner community organizer, political strategist, and a leading voice in movements for social justice. She is Co-Founder and former Executive Director of United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country. She and her family came to the U.S from Ecuador seeking a better life in 1998, growing up undocumented in Queens, New York.

    Under Cristina’s leadership, UWD grew into a powerful network of one million members that shifted the politics and narrative about immigrants and immigration, ultimately delivering policy changes at the local and national levels. Cristina was instrumental in United We Dream’s successful campaign for President Obama to sign Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law.

    In recognition of her work as a community organizer and movement strategist, Cristina received a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, the Four Freedoms Award, and a spot on the 2018 TIME 100 List. Cristina has appeared in hundreds of national and local media outlets including USA Today, CNN, MSNBC, HBO, The New York Times, the LA Times, ABC, NPR, The Huffington Post, Univision, Telemundo, and La Opinion. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, CNN, USA Today, Huffington Post, and El Diario. She currently serves on the board of the Hazen Foundation, Rockwood, Equis Labs, Make the Road New York Action, and the Dream.US.

  • Hilda Vega

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Hilda Vega

    Hilda Vega

    Deputy Vice President, Philanthropic Practice, Hispanics in Philanthropy.
    With HIP, Hilda drives the development, implementation, and refinement of programs that amplify Latinx leadership and voice through responsive grantmaking practices, donor advisory services, knowledge management, and strategies that redefine philanthropy. Prior to HIP, Hilda served as director of the CLIMA Fund and worked as an advisor to philanthropists and philanthropic organizations addressing issues ranging from racial justice, gender equity and human rights to climate change and early childhood education. Her experience includes positions with pfc Social Impact Advisors, Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd., the Libra Foundation, the Avina Foundation, and UnidosUS. Hilda has a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Brown University and a master’s degree in international administration from the University of Miami. She serves on the board of Fundación Avina, Avina Americas, and Voice of Witness. She enjoys baking, reading Nordic crime novels, and writing cranky blog posts from her home in Northern Illinois.

  • Jess Morales Rocketto

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Jess Moreales

    Jess Morales Rocketto

    (She/her) is a civil society leader, community organizer and media entrepreneur. Jess is Co-Founder and Chief of Moonshot Strategies at Equis, leading their efforts on new, bold, and long-term efforts to build Latino political power. In 2022, Jess and Stephanie Valencia launched Latino Media Network, an audio focused media company for Latinos, with one of the largest capital raises for a Latina-owned startup in history. Previously, Jess was honored to serve America’s domestic workers at the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Care in Action, growing the movement’s political efforts to become one of the largest women of color organizing programs in the country, making care a key issue in the 2020 election, and introducing the first federal legislation for domestic workers in history. She is a leader in immigration reform, most notably against Trump’s Muslim Ban and family separation policies. Jess stuffed her first envelope in a campaign office at 14 and hasn’t stopped since, working on President Obama’s re-election campaign, Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential campaign, at the Democratic Party, and for America’s unions at the AFL-CIO. She has been named TIME Magazine’s 100 Next, one of “50 Women Who Made the 2012 Election” by Huff Post, “Badass Woman” by InStyle, and Business Insider’s “The Digital 50: The 50 Hottest People in Online Politics.” Committed to making the world a better place, Jess is a co-founder of Families Belong Together, Supermajority and Poderistas.

  • Jessica Salinas

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Jessica Salinas

    Jessica Salinas

    Jessica Salinas is Chief Investment Officer at New Media Ventures. As CIO, Jess is responsible for developing the NMV investment strategy, cultivating early-stage deal flow and portfolio management, building mission-driven partnerships, and leading the growth and direction of the investment team.

    Previously, she was a partner at an impact fund moving the world towards zero poverty, zero disease and zero pollution. Jessica was also the founding Social Impact Lead at Headspace and the founding Director of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education Program.

    Jessica serves on the Board of Words Uncaged, which provides programming for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in LA, and Plug in South LA, a network supporting Black and Brown entrepreneurs. Jessica received her BA in Communication from Stanford and her MS in Social Entrepreneurship from USC Marshall School of Business.

We are grateful to Iconico who helped advance the Valiente Accelerator