/ Updated 

While actor Jimmy Smits may be known for his part as Victor Sifuentes in "L.A. Law" as well as his roles in "Dexter" and "Sons of Anarchy," the Puerto Rican actor is also recognized for his philanthropy and advocacy.

In October he received the Ackerman Leadership Award for his work championing bilingual and bicultural mental health and social services for Latino families. The actor also helped found the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts to grant scholarships and pave the way for more Latino artists and producers.

RELATED: Hispanic Arts Gala Awards Latino Talent, Pushes for Greater Numbers

“We still have a long way to go, though,” Smits said to Cafecito's Felicano García. “Our population numbers really have influenced and helped pop culture and everything that is America. We have a lot of stories to tell."

Follow NBC News Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.