It is with a heavy heart that we send our deepest condolences to the Castellano family for the passing of Carmen Castellano—a mother, wife, friend, mentor and inspiration to HIP and many others for her dedication to advocating and lifting up the Latino Community, Latino voices and Latino visibility throughout her life’s work and career.
Carmen Castellano served as the Co-founder & President of the Castellano Family Foundation as well as serving as a HIPGiver and a board member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley, amongst several others. The legacy and impact that she has left us with is much greater than her titles. She dedicated her life’s mission to amplifying Latino voices and ensuring that Latino faces are well represented and heard in both the arts and Philanthropy.
In an interview conducted by HIP in 2012, Carmen expressed that “one of the goals is to put a brown face on philanthropy. That’s why we’re willing to be really visible. We go to many of the conferences… so people can see that Latinos are philanthropic. There are so few Latino foundations, I keep asking, ‘Who are they? Where are they?’”
The humble beginnings of the Castellano Family Foundation began when Carmen and her husband, Al Castellano, won the California Lottery jackpot in 2001. As soon as she heard the news that they had won, Carmen took out some paper and began writing down a list of organizations to donate their winnings to. A generous and giving heart was the start of a family-run foundation that has since impacted so many.
Since then, they have donated several million dollars to grassroots organizations across the U.S. & Latin America. Throughout her career and work, she always urged others who are in leadership positions to use their power to do the same; boldly speak up and advocate for visibility and diversity, and continue to uplift the Latino community.
Carmen truly believed in the importance of speaking up, advocating and promoting diversity in philanthropy. “That’s why, when we go to these conferences and workshops, Al and I are always willing to speak up and address that issue. I think advocacy is important for all of us who are in a position to do that.”
We are grateful to the Castellano family for their leadership and support and we send our deepest condolences, love and light to the family during this time.
Please read more about Carmen Castellano’s life & legacy in an interview by our HIP team here.