The CUNA Mutual Foundation is donating $100,000 to Centro Hispano, a Madison nonprofit organization that aids Latinos and other immigrant populations.
Both the size of the grant and its unrestricted nature are unprecedented for Centro, said Karen Menendez Coller, Centro’s executive director. The money comes in the form of a capacity-building grant.
“Unlike other funding that is tied to programmatic outcomes, this is really an investment in Centro as an agency,” she said. “Basically, it’s an investment in our strategic plan, and that’s so important.”
The agency, 810 W. Badger Road, has an annual budget of about $1.4 million and employs 15 people, all full time, Coller said. The foundation was set to announce the donation at a strategy session for community leaders and supporters Friday evening at Centro.
In an interview, Steve Goldberg, the foundation’s executive director, said the grant is a vote of confidence in the organization’s vision and in Coller, most recently a faculty member at UCLA. She began last August. The foundation particularly likes Centro’s broad approach to strengthening families, from focusing on early childhood education to offering job training and helping people access health care, Goldberg said.
“I think for a long time Madison has needed a go-to source for that kind of help,” he said. “Much as the Urban League has become that source for the African-American population. I think Centro is well-poised to play that role for Hispanic families.”
The CUNA Mutual Foundation is the charitable arm of CUNA Mutual Group, a local provider of financial services to credit unions worldwide.
This is the third capacity-building grant the foundation has awarded this year. The others were to the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and the Madison YWCA.
Friday’s announcement capped a big week for the foundation. On Thursday, it announced a commitment of $1.2 million toward a mentoring program in the Madison School District designed to keep new teachers. It was the largest grant the foundation has awarded.