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Fund aims to support Inland Empire Latino-led non-profits

CIELO Fund chair and IECF board member Jesse Melgar speaking during a Sept. 24, 2022 ceremony honoring the launch of the CIELO fund.
Erick Zambrano
Inland Empire Community Foundation
CIELO Fund chair and IECF board member Jesse Melgar speaking during a Sept. 24, 2022, ceremony honoring the launch of the CIELO fund.

The Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) has launched the CIELO fund.

The CIELO Fund will be directed towards assisting Latino-led non-profits across the Inland Empire. "CIELO stands for Cultivating Inland Empire Latino Opportunity, but in Spanish, it also means sky or heaven," said CIELO Fund chair and IECF board member Jesse Melgar.

Melgar says the fund is meant to support Latino-led and serving organizations. "But we welcome support from anyone and everyone who believes that for this region to succeed, the Latino community has to succeed," Melgar said.

The introduction of the fund comes as the IECF is celebrating 80 years of service, with the new fund becoming the foundation's eighth signature fund.

Money given to the CIELO Fund will be distributed to various local non-profits through grants. "Being able to have a fund that's dedicated for (Latinos), by (Latinos), and also working to impact issues that Latinos deal with is really important," said CIELO Fund board member Elizabeth Romero.

Romero says the fund and foundation will also be impactful because it will bring in bigger donors who, in the past, might not have noticed smaller non-profits. So far, the fund has been able to raise over $300,000.

"The collaboration that's been demonstrated by all of the businesses, corporations, individuals, and others that have given, it really shows that the need is here and that when we pull together, we're really able to accomplish some incredible things for our region," Romero said.

The CIELO Fund will begin accepting grant applications this Fall and expects to begin distributing funds in 2023.

Jonathan Linden was a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and served with the station till October 2022.