Gina Rodriguez Launches Foundation to Empower Youth Through Arts Education
Gina Rodriguez has added philanthropist to her list of titles, launching the We Will Foundation, which hopes to encourage and empower youth through arts education and scholarship donations for the less fortunate.
The foundation is in its early stages, but has already made significant contributions to its causes, including a $10,000 donation to the Westside Family Health Clinic and $10,000 for dance classes at the Mar Vista School Enrichment Group.
In a statement, Rodriguez explained her reason for establishing the We Will Foundation, which acts on the understanding that everyone doesn't have access to the same opportunities.
“If art is to imitate real life why not release art that is positive, empowering, uplifting and inclusive no matter race, gender, body type or economic background?” she said.
For her work and her status as a good role model to young people, Unite4:Humanity honored Rodriguez with the Young Humanitarian Award at a ceremony on Feb. 25.
"The more you help others succeed you too will succeed,” she said in her acceptance speech. “This isn’t an award that I worked towards unlike acting, unlike 'Jane The Virgin'. You know this is me, this is my heart.”
Check out a few other foundations that are making a difference and were created by Latino entertainers.
Eva Longoria: Eva's Heroes, the Eva Longoria Foundation
Eva Longoria is one the most popular Latina philanthropists. Aside from working with and supporting several charities, the actress co-founded Eva's Heroes to help those with special needs find enriching opportunities and to educate others. For Longoria the foundation came from experience.
“I was extremely fortunate to grow up with an intellectually disabled sister," she said in a statement on the foundation's website. "My mother became a special education teacher because of her, and therefore, I have been involved with all facets of this community since I could walk and talk.”
Longoria also created the Eva Longoria Foundation to encourage and support efforts by Latinas to get educated and become entrepreneurs through scholarships, career training and mentoring.
Marc Anthony: Maestro Cares
Created in 2012, the Maestro Cares Foundation is a partnership between Puerto Rican music superstar Marc Anthony and entrepreneur Henry Cárdenas. The non-profit organization works to help programs and social services that cater to the needs of homeless and in-need children in Latin America.
The foundation also holds an annual gala, "Changing Lives, Building Dreams," which honors individuals who make great contributions to helping children and are also involved with other causes around the world.
Ricky Martin: The Ricky Martin Foundation
After a trip to India in 2002, when the Latin pop singer Ricky Martin ended up saving the lives of three young girls from becoming victims of human trafficking, the singer founded the Ricky Martin Foundation. The group works to educate and end human trafficking around the world.
In August 2014, Martin opened the Tau Center in Las Cuevas, Puerto Rico to give 120 at-risk youth a second chance with educational facilities.
Shakira: Pies Descalzos Foundation
Shakira is known for her charity work as much as her music. In 1997, she founded the Colombian non-profit Pies Descalzos Foundation, which aims to provide low-income children with opportunities for a better future.
To achieve its mission, Pies Descalzos builds schools, provides various forms of education, participates in community outreach and emphasizes that "education is a birth right and not a privelege."