In his position, he oversees fundraising, strategy, and relationship management with corporate, foundational, government, and individual donors. He also leads a team of fundraisers and focuses on transitioning from frontline fundraising to managing their work and focusing on human capital management and relationship management.
“For me, that relationship between people and their environment is very central to understanding and gaining a deep appreciation for the work we are doing centered in communities. Then, we translate those perspectives from the community to decision-makers and policymakers. It’s the trust that we have between these local leaders and our ability to then connect partners, resources, and opportunities to their communities as a result. That is the secret sauce that has helped us achieve the success that we’ve had.”
For Hispanic Access Foundation, 2023 has been a historic year in terms of fundraising goals and reach. The organization has been able to secure investments that have catapulted its work and mission.
“This success it’s a testament to the vision and the passion that our team, including myself, have for the communities we serve.”
As a big outdoorsman and avid reader, Luke has always had a special connection to nature and found one of the greatest inspirations for his work in his upbringing and identity as a Mexican-American.
“I always had a connection with the Chesapeake Bay because I’ve grown up around here. When you’re young, you don’t realize how your trajectory is changing, but where I am right now is like a full-circle experience. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I knew that I loved inserting myself into the communities with my mother. I would say that was pretty formative. I think I always wanted to give back and be able to serve others. So, here I am in service to others in a purpose-filled job. Being able to make a difference and being recognized, doing it, and experiencing success…I’m quite blessed. I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.”
For Luke, being the son of the organization’s founder and CEO has been more than an honor, but an inspiration and example to follow.
“My mother has been an inspiration to me, I got to watch her create and build Hispanic Access Foundation from the ground up and see her become a well-known Latina leader, nationally. That’s been a privilege and a learning experience. I’ll say that she’s always been super humble. I think that she’s the epitome of servant leadership. She’s faced a lot of obstacles, but never backs down when it comes to people.”
Luke has shifted the focus of their efforts across the years to maximize the potential of the organization, refining in the process the fundraising strategies. By steering the foundation away from merely chasing funds to articulating its core values and mission, Luke led a strategic shift that allowed them to secure investments aligned with their vision and mission, letting go of funding relationships that did not align with this. The organization leveraged connections to underrepresented communities to advocate for equity-focused initiatives, which in turn, led to increased support.
“Our success should translate directly into tangible prosperity for the Latino community, by showing up in the space authentically, celebrating identities in those spaces, and conservation. The broader a movement is, the more perspectives it holds. In turn, we create more leadership,
-that human capital-, and the better the solutions we’re going to create, the better the outcome of our efforts. I’m a fundraiser, but I’m a conservation leader because I’m securing resources to get work done for our communities.”