Sara Lomelin (she/her) is a bright light in this world. Whether you hear her at the TED stage or in a giving circle gathering, you can’t help but feel inspired about the future of collective giving. As founding CEO of Philanthropy Together, Sara is passionately growing a movement of people-powered philanthropy to resource grassroots nonprofits, shift power dynamics, and promote widespread philanthropy. Previously, at the Latino Community Foundation, Sara served as VP of Philanthropy for eight years and created the Latino Giving Circle Network—the largest network of Latine philanthropists in the US.
People Power’s Director of Community Engagement, Anna Gagliuffi, recently spent time with Sara in conversation where she shared lessons learned. Sara and Anna are former colleagues and dear friends from the Latino Community Foundation. Below are highlights from the chat:
What would you want to say to a young person starting their career?
How have you navigated a career obstacle?
What is a quote or leader that you turn to when things are challenging?
How is Sara connected to People Power?
People Power’s relationship with Sara started with their mutual roots in the San Francisco Foundation community of family, friends, and social justice leaders. At the time, Sara was building a movement for philanthropy “con sabor Latine” at the Latino Community Foundation and Kate was working in partnership with Latine leaders moving social justice in California through her role as Executive Director of Butler Koshland Fellowships.
“I saw this brilliant woman who had no professional experience in philanthropy but whose bold vision and energy was absolutely irresistible—precisely because her approach was radically different. I became a fan. I watched in awe as Sari and this small team of scrappy women who were deeply connected to community build an organization that stretched the possibilities of philanthropy.” – Kate Brumage
Fast forward 10 years and now LCF has raised $100M+ for Latine-led grassroot organizations, including the Latino Power Fund which leverages federal programs to raise wages for farmworkers, increase job opportunities with dignified wages, support Latina entrepreneurs, among other efforts to build a just economy.
In 2020, Sara was selected as the founding CEO to lead Philanthropy Together which is on a mission to democratize and diversify philanthropy through the power of collective giving. When the organization started to build a team, People Power was able to conduct a national search sifting through 600 candidates to find the right fit. Sara shared this story with deep appreciation saying, “We literally would not exist without Kate! It wasn’t only that she helped us find the right candidates, but we also learned best practices around hiring.”