The Pobladores Fund invests in organizations that are working throughout the diverse neighborhoods of Los Angeles to advocate for social and economic justice, promote human rights, and mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation.
How the giving circle expands its membership:
"My husband and I are not founding members—we were asked to join. And that's the way that the circle has grown. It started with just three or four couples and then over the years they have invited some other friends to join, selectively and slowly. So it hasn't grown into a huge group but it's a great way to meet friends of friends of friends who are interested in investing in Los Angeles and really giving some thought to where they're putting their charitable dollars benefiting local organizations who are doing really good impact work."
How Pobladores decides who gets the money:
"We have historically had a number of categories—access to capital, women and girls, education, environment. So as a group we have decided on certain categories of organizations that we have particular interest in. Those categories have been revisited over time. In fact I think this year we're going to revisit them again. So we establish some general parameters, the types of organizations that we're interested in funding. Then, also we typically focus on smaller organizations, those with operating budgets of a million dollars or less, again getting to the impact giving side of this, wanting to make sure that we give several organizations a gift of only a few thousand dollars each, but that few thousand will actually matter to the trajectory of that organization and its worth."
What goes on during a Pobladores meeting:
"We all get together in person once a year. In advance of that meeting, every year we select co-chairs for the next year's meeting. The co-chairs are the ones that work with Liberty Hill staff in advance to set a meeting day, and the Liberty Hill staff puts together a docket of organizations to consider. They also solicit suggestions from the whole group of anything that any member would like to see be considered on the docket. In advance of the meeting we'll get a whole list of organizations and a little background information on each. The group reviews it independently and then we'll get together, have dinner together, and then organize a discussion around each of the candidate originations. Everyone will have a chance to speak up for whatever they know about the organization. Then at the end of it we'll just take a vote. We'll divide up our pool of money and make a pretty quick and reasoned decision. And part of the evening, besides the act of getting together and making decisions about where to put our pooled gifts, it's also social. It's nice to connect with all these people who have chosen to participate in this, so we try not to make the whole meeting a debate about which organizations but also a chance to catch up with each other."
The amount of the gifts Pobladores generally gives:
"Each family, or couple or individual that gets involved—this year was $6000 each. This year we probably had 50 to 60 thousand dollars to give away. The giving circle this year has reached the point where it has given away over a million dollars. It adds up every year. It adds up just by having a group of people committed to giving every year together."