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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2023: The History and Organizations to Acknowledge


By Bailey Mellos

Two young women in orange and purple Hispanic dresses dancing outside

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Published September 1, 2023 Reading Time: 6 minutes

National Hispanic Heritage Month officially commences on September 15. This celebration is a time to honor the myriad of traditions, historical moments, and contributions of individuals with Hispanic roots in American society.

It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the stories and achievements of this inspiring culture. The celebration also presents a fantastic opportunity for nonprofits to engage with and support the Hispanic community in various impactful ways.

Here, we dive into the history of the holiday and highlight the inspiring work of five standout nonprofits committed to fueling, preserving, and celebrating Hispanic heritage.

The History of Hispanic Heritage Month

This celebratory month was originally seven days long and known as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended the week to a month-long celebration from September 15th to October 15th.

As the name suggests, Hispanic Heritage Month is an effort to honor the heritage, accomplishments, and contributions of Hispanic people and promote a cross-cultural understanding of the Latin American community.

Spanning two autumn months, it also encompasses and celebrates the independence anniversary of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Find Ways to Participate in a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

If you’re looking for ways to get involved and celebrate this year, you’re in luck. There are plenty of events to attend, educational experiences to learn from, and philanthropies to help.

Here are some ideas to springboard your efforts:

1. Culinary Events

Enjoy Hispanic cuisine by hosting (or attending) cooking classes, food tastings, or pop-up markets showcasing traditional dishes from various Hispanic countries. You might consider signing up for an empanada cooking class to celebrate Chile’s famous specialty or purchasing tostones from a Caribbean market to pay homage to Puerto Rico.

2. Arts and Crafts

Join local businesses hosting workshops for you to get creative working on Latin-inspired arts and crafts. You may find a portrait class inspired by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s work or a workshop to teach you how to draw landscapes of particular countries in South America. Also, you could spend a day exploring the National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C., for a more immersive experience.

3. Book Clubs

Consider getting some friends or family members together to read a book or two in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Try one of these for starters:

  • “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America” by Juan Gonzalez
  • “Hispanic Heritage: A Cultural Celebration” by Yvette La Pierre
  • “Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation” by Ray Suarez

You can enjoy these books in English or challenge yourself to read a book or two in Spanish to become more comfortable with different dialects. This will allow you to pick up on the nuances in language between particular countries, like Mexico versus Spain, and improve your conversational skills.

After all, what better way is there to learn about a new culture than to read about it?

4. Philanthropy

Get involved in one of the hundreds of Hispanic-focused nonprofit organizations that could use your help.

While celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, consider volunteering your time, starting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, or donating directly to an organization via its crowdfunding website.

Below are a handful of nonprofits doing incredible things to honor Hispanic culture, celebrate Hispanic Americans, elevate historical independence days, and protect the integrity of historic Hispanic traditions.

5 Nonprofits to Acknowledge This Hispanic Heritage Month

1. The Community Resource Center

The Community Resource Center group photo at a podium

The Community Resource Center (formerly Hispanic Resource Center) started in 1998. Its mission is to promote the educational, cultural, economic, and professional development of individuals of Hispanic descent—specifically helping immigrants ingratiate into larger, established American communities.

Located in Westchester County, New York, the Community Resource Center’s programs provide tools and resources to low-income families or individuals looking for initial or continued employment opportunities, food security, and general self-sufficiency.

The Mission in Action

A member of the Community Resource Center’s team completed a recent DIY home renovation for her son thanks to a carpentry course offered by the organization.

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Support throughout Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond enables the Community Resource Center to offer courses like this to hundreds of individuals annually. Learn more about its mission and events through the social channels below.

Connect With the Community Resource Center on Social Media

2. Latino Business Action Network

Latino Business Action Network speaking engagement at conference

The Latino Business Action Network works in partnership with Stanford University to empower Latino entrepreneurs. ​

Based in Silicon Valley, the nonprofit is on a mission to strengthen the U.S. economy through activating members of the Latino community—specifically leveraging the best of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Its three pillars—research, education, and network—guide the team toward giving the best support and tools to Latino business owners nationwide.

The Mission in Action

The Latino Business Action Network recently welcomed 73 Latino and Latina entrepreneurs into its Cohort 15. These members, who joined from their Business Scaling Program at Stanford, enjoyed a weekend of workshops, speakers, and networking.

The mantra for this celebratory weekend came from Professor Jerry I. Porras: “Doing business with each other and getting business for each other.”

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Latino Business Action Network’s efforts continue throughout Hispanic Heritage Month as the team excitedly turns toward future events and enrollment periods. Learn more by connecting with them online.

Connect With Latino Business Action Network on Social Media

3. Latino U College Access

Latino U College Access group photo

Latino U College Access has a meaningful and heartwarming mission: “To empower students on their journeys to and through college so they can further their remarkable potential.”

Founded in 2012, the Latino U College Access is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a college education to low-income, first-generation Latino youth. The organization guides students with great potential and academic aptitude through programming that ensures their scholastic success.

The Mission in Action

The Latino U College Access team had a successful team retreat in early summer 2023, coming together to determine how to best support their scholars. Their team bonding experience was a fun-filled trip full of learning and networking that allowed members to relax and prepare for more hard work in the year ahead.

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Check out the social pages below to learn more about this event and other upcoming celebrations planned throughout Hispanic Heritage Month.

Connect With Latino U College Access on Social Media

4. Oliver Scholars

Oliver Scholars website

Oliver Scholars, founded in 1984, is a New York-based organization. It strives to provide top-notch educational opportunities to local underserved and underrepresented Latino communities.

Its practice, known as “The Oliver Experience,” offers up to 10 years of pre-career training through one-on-one support, after-school and summer coursework, and more. Through this, the team hopes to give back to the students, community, nation, and world.

The Mission in Action

In July 2023, Oliver Scholars welcomed 121 new students to its Summer Scholar Immersion Program in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

This program allows students to dive into an immersive educational experience and gain firsthand skills to benefit them throughout their journey as a scholar.

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Learn more about it and ways to support Oliver Scholars’ efforts through the channels below as you look for ways to get involved this Hispanic Heritage Month.

Connect With Oliver Scholars on Social Media

5. Ballet Hispánico

Ballet Hispanico dance event

Ballet Hispánico is an artistic nonprofit that uses the power of dance productions, dance training, and community to celebrate and explore Latino culture.

Its three main programs—The Company, School of Dance, and Community Arts Partnerships—cooperate to inspire and teach communities about the history and importance of Hispanic culture through the lens of dance.

The Mission in Action

This organization is eager to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with three events spanning from September 15 to October 15.

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Its main 2023 community celebration, Celebración Latina, happens on Sunday, October 15, 2023. Check out more details and registration information, along with other events, on the nonprofit’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration page.

Connect With Ballet Hispánico on Social Media

How Classy Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Classy’s comprehensive fundraising platform serves as a foundational support system for nonprofits. Our main goal is to empower organizations of all types to amplify their impact and reach their fundraising goals with ease.

Through our innovative suite of tools and technology, Classy equips nonprofits with the necessary tools to tell their stories in ways that resonate, create compelling online campaigns, engage donors, and nurture meaningful relationships with communities.

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Beyond the technology, Classy takes a proactive approach to understanding the unique challenges modern nonprofits encounter. Our commitment extends to ensuring that each nonprofit receives the resources, coaching, and collaboration it needs to sustain its mission.

Classy is proud to support Hispanic organizations in their fundraising efforts and is committed to driving change that makes an impact during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

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