The decision has been made! Conectoras de Montbello, a team of community leaders who have been serving Latino older adults living in Denver’s Montbello community since 2016, have transition in order to continue our work! Be sure to start following the Conectoras’ journey through our Facebook page: Conectoras de Montbello.
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Over these past four years, Leaders Aurelio Avalos, Maria Coronado, Rosario Mendoza and Angela Tzul who formed the Conectoras de Montbello (Connectors of Montbello) team, grew a constituent group of over 325 project participants, created an infrastructure of monthly social activities inspired by older adults, built partnerships with local providers, collected data, served as intermediaries helping to navigate access barriers to services and took part in grantmaking activities to build organizational capacity to better serve Latino older adults.
Starting 2021 the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC) announced that Latino Age Wave Colorado (LAW) will be moving aside to make way for the Conectoras de Montbello to take the helm of the Montbello community-based work serving Latino older adults, their families and friends.
Four years ago, LAW partnered with Denver’s Montbello community to co-create a model to support Latino older adults so they thrive in community through connection to community, social opportunities and provider resources. A leadership team, the Conectoras de Montbello, was formed and took over the planning, budgeting and executing of monthly social activities, relationship development with partner providers, resource connection, data collection and advising on grantmaking activities. The success of the Conectora team along with the newly formed vision and mission of the LCFC laid the groundwork for the LCFC to transition its role from LAW program administrator to fiscal sponsor of the Conectoras de Montbello by July 1, 2020. It was always the intention to support local leadership and leave a sustainable model intact to continue the project and we are excited to be at this point to do so.
Intended outcomes of this transition include:
The Conectoras de Montbello creating an infrastructure for sustainability that gives them the opportunity to take over both day-to-day operations of the community-based work in Montbello, as well as overall project administration which, until now, has been led by the LCFC.
Turning a model co-created between the LCFC and the Conectoras over to the Conectoras to continue its growth as a truly community-led project.
Documenting the process and integrating learnings into a toolkit to be shared with others interested in co-creating community-based programs.
Over these past four years, Leaders Aurelio Avalos, Maria Coronado, Rosario Mendoza and Angela Tzul who formed the Conectoras de Montbello (Connectors of Montbello) team, grew a constituent group of over 325 project participants, created an infrastructure of monthly social activities inspired by older adults, built partnerships with local providers, collected data, served as intermediaries helping to navigate access barriers to services and took part in grantmaking activities to build organizational capacity to better serve Latino older adults. LAW and the Conectoras’ success has drawn local, statewide and national attention for its place-based, culturally responsive approach. Built from the ground up, its foundational base of opportunities for social connection created entry points for providers, resulting in a community-centric care network increasing access to available services. The impact of the Conectoras has been felt deeply within the community. “It’s amazing to see what the Conectoras have been able to create over the last three and half years,” says Program Officer Daniela Young. “It’s time for us to move aside so they can truly spread their wings.”
Therese Ellery, Rose Community Foundation’s senior program officer on aging and long-time funder, added “It has been a privilege to be part of the LAW leadership team since its inception. The Conectoras are doing an amazing job ensuring services are accessible and culturally and linguistically appropriate for Latino older adults and their families. Since 2010, Rose Community Foundation has invested close to $1.9 million in LAW. As a result, LAW is demonstrating ways to build and strengthen a community-led framework that can be sustained into the future and replicated in other communities and across the country.”
Preparation for the LCFC’s transition from program administrator to fiscal sponsor began over a year ago. Funds from Rose Community Foundation and Next50 Initiative allowed for the planning and implementation of a transition plan, including contracting a professional coach to guide the Conectoras de Montbello in exploring different models for sustainability, including non- and for-profit business models. The team is also consulting with local philanthropic, legal, business and social enterprise experts. Said Conectora Rosario Mendoza,“I feel supported as we get to know and work with different people and understand what this transition means for us … What motivates us is seeing the family we’ve created and the trust we’ve earned.”
Lessons learned through LAWC and the Conectoras de Montbello were essential in informing LCFC’s renewed mission, vision and investment priorities, especially in terms of investing in capacity building at the individual, community and organizational levels. It further has provided an arena to operationalize how our values of being family-centered, community-led and culturally just remain the cornerstones of LCFC’s work.
Program Officer Daniela Young and Advisor Tony Tapia continue to work on the completion of a project report and adjoining toolkit to assist others interested in replicating what was learned through this multi-year process.
Latino Age Wave Colorado (LAW) was launched in 2010 in partnership with Hispanics in Philanthropy and Rose Community Foundation.