Evelyn Barahona, Director of the Latino Equity Fund

Hugo Balta

Hispanic-Latino residents in Massachusetts are less likely to be vaccinated, according to the state Department of Public Health. The group makes up 12-percent of the state’s population but only 8-percent of those who’ve received at least one vaccine dose. According to a report by the Boston Business Journal, the group trails overall vaccination rates in each of the state’s 14 counties, including a 43-percent Hispanic-Latino vaccination rate in Suffolk County compared to a 59-percent overall rate.

The Latino Equity Fund, a Boston advocacy group, launched a three-year, $10 million campaign and a push for equal access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“If you have a large community that’s growing but they’re not really prospering, society ends up losing out,” says Evelyn Barahona, newly appointed Director of the Latino Equity Fund in an interview with News@Northeastern. “We want to help this underserved group prosper, which really can help the state as well.” 

The Latino Equity Fund hired Barahona, a nonprofit leader with experience raising money for the Latino community. Barahona has held leadership roles at the Boston Foundation and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Barahona helped organize the Massachusetts United Puerto Rico Fund after Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017, and managed a $4 million disaster philanthropy fund for the Boston Foundation for aid in Massachusetts and Puerto Rico.

The Boston Foundation, the organization behind the Latino Equity Fund, raises funds from key community stakeholders and directs donations to those in need.

“The Latino community is growing at a very rapid rate, and when you think about it long term, you want to make sure they’re positioned to be economically prosperous, because prosperity for them also means prosperity for Boston and prosperity for Boston means prosperity for Massachusetts,” says Barahona.

Established in 2013, the Latino Equity Fund is the first Latino-focused fund in Greater Boston, and is a unique partnership of Latino philanthropists and leaders, the Boston Foundation and Hispanics in Philanthropy. Known at its inception as the Latino Legacy Fund, the fund advisory board decided in 2020 to change the fund’s name to reflect its commitment to creating a more just and equitable community for Latinos in Greater Boston

Publisher’s Note: this story is an aggregate from Latino Equity Fund names first director and LATINO PROSPERITY AND EQUITY ARE GOALS OF PHILANTHROPIC FUND LED BY NORTHEASTERN GRADUATE