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We Are Philanthropy: Carmen Castellano

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“We Are Philanthropy,” a collection of short films that feature inspiring and diverse donors, will appear on the D5 blog over the next few months. Produced by D5 and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the films highlight how diverse philanthropists bring their life experiences to their philanthropy as they strive to achieve community impact.


The third film profile in our series features, Carmen Castellano of San Jose, California. When Carmen and her husband Alcario won $141 million in the California lottery in 2001, they founded the Castellano Family Foundation which is dedicated to the cultivation and enrichment of community, family, social change, empathy, and integrity through support of organizations promoting Latino arts and culture, Latino leadership, and the educational pursuits of Latino students.

Carmen and Alcario had long been active philanthropists in their community, giving time, talent, and treasure, but this windfall allowed them to take their philanthropy to a new level.  Carmen has been a keynote speaker, plenary panelist, and workshop presenter at numerous local, state and national conferences and convenings. She promotes the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy and pushes audiences to move beyond a limited view of who is a philanthropist. She says, “The reason I go public is I want to show the brown face of philanthropy.”

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