#NBCLatino20: Ana Marie Argilagos — Building Latino opportunity and wealth

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By Gwen Aviles

The key to Latinos' generational advancement lies in building a solid foundation for progress that includes jobs, education and the ability to build wealth.

As president of Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), Ana Marie Argilagos connects donors with foundations and nonprofits that provide essential resources for Latino families.

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But beyond mere philanthropy, HIP's ambitious mission is to give Latinos the tools they need to "build collective power," she tells NBC News.

HIP has established the Power Up Fund, an initiative to raise $58 million — one dollar for every Latino living in the United States — to support Latino enterprises such as startups.

Ana Marie Argilagos.Illustration by Aaron Fernandez for NBC News

“There are brilliant young people who want to build businesses,” Argilagos said. “The point of this fund will be to identify micro businesses so they can have equal opportunity to grow and we can build collective power.”

Argilagos and HIP see this as essential, since they point out that in 2016, less than 2 percent of venture capital investments went to Latino and Black entrepreneurs. Moreover, Latino families' median household wealth is under $7,000, compared with $147,000 for non-Latino white families.

Before HIP, Argilagos, who is Puerto Rican and Cuban, worked at the Ford Foundation designing urban development strategies around the world, and at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Though she has held a variety of roles, she says there’s a through line: to understand others and bring Latinos to the table.

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