About Us

Mission & History

Voto Latino is a pioneering civic media organization that seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos’ innate leadership. Through innovative digital campaigns, pop culture, and grassroots voices, we provide culturally relevant programs that engage, educate and empower Latinos to be agents of change. Together, we aim to build a stronger and more inclusive democracy.

A Note From
María Teresa Kumar

María Teresa Kumar

President & CEORead Note

It’s hard to imagine an America without Latinos. At Voto Latino, we are fundamentally aware that you – our community — are the new builders and makers in this country. But to do all you can do, there has to be some level of access and opportunity. This is why VL exists: to give you a roadmap for how to become leaders, educators, entrepreneurs, and really anything else you deem possible.

It’s true, that in the beginning, our core work was around voter registration. This was largely because it was, and remains, a key way to show our community’s strength. But since our founding by Rosario Dawson in 2004, we’ve expanded our programs from civic engagement to include leadership development and issue advocacy. Together, we have registered over a quarter million voters, innovated the use of voter registration through text messaging, helped our community be counted in the US Census, and co-founded National Voter Registration Day. We’ve also started the VL Power Summit conference to bring young people together with key leaders, and have given away half a million dollars to young Latino innovators.

Our work has received numerous awards, and while the accolades are nice – it’s the rise of the American Latino voice and how it will shape our country’s future that keeps us excited and invested.

The best part, I think, is that we’re just getting started. The next ten years of work is even more paramount to our shared future. I encourage you to join us. It doesn’t take much, but it does require that you show up. Start by signing up for our email newsletter here to learn about ways you can participate. Not for us, but for you and for the loved ones who have brought you this far.

Adelante,

María Teresa Kumar
President & CEO

Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson

Co-FounderRead Note

In 2004 Voto Latino was simply an idea based on the state of our community as it was, but also as it could be. I envisioned reaching out to other people like me by leveraging the latest technology, media, social networks and high-profile artists to get them involved in the civic process.

Plenty of people thought we were nuts. Social media and texting were in the early stages, no one was talking about the Latino vote, let alone Millennials, and we were reaching out to our audience in English. But we rolled the dice and —  with the help of thousands of volunteers, partners and supporters – American Latinos heard the calling.

We have accomplished a lot because you have shown up. But we’re hardly done. So if you haven’t joined the Voto Latino familia yet, today is the day. Follow us on social media and signup for our email newsletter here to get updates on how to get involved. Because the simple truth is that without you there is no Voto Latino.

Adelante,

Rosario Dawson
Co-Founder & Chairwoman

We Need Your Help

Help us provide more young Latinos the tools to become agents of change.

In 2004, Voto Latino began as a PSA project organized by co-founder Rosario Dawson. Over the years we’ve evolved into an organization dedicated to providing young Latinos the tools to create a future of their choosing. Check out what that history looks like below:

Team

Brandon Hernandez

Co-Chair

Brandon Hernandez is Director in PG&E’s Corporate Affairs Department and serves as lead Government Relations Director on Major Capital Projects. He oversees external, strategic roll-out of PG&E’s electric capital investments, proactively working with local jurisdictions to implement projects while communicating the benefits of these investments.

Brandon’s seven years with PG&E includes stakeholder outreach at the local, state and national levels, working closely with key business, civic, and community leaders. Previously, he spent over 10 years in the public and private sector that included work in the United States Senate and the office of the Speaker of the California State Assembly and spent time in Washington D.C. and New York City managing public affairs for the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

Brandon holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He is actively involved in the community and currently serves on the national boards for Voto Latino, Victory Fund Institute and Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino. He’s been recognized by San Francisco’s 7×7 magazine as one of the “Hot 20 Under 40” and received Equality California’s Leadership Award for his efforts to help secure the freedom to marry for all Californians.

Twitter

Sonal Shah

Co-Chair

Sonal is an economist and entrepreneur and has spent her career focused on economic policy and actionable innovation in the public and private sectors. She is a global leader on social innovation policy including impact investing, data and technology for social good, and civic engagement through government, business, philanthropy and civil society. She has led policy innovations at the White House for President Obama and the Treasury Department for President Clinton. She brings a unique and diverse background. An international economist, she set up the central bank in Bosnia, worked post-conflict reconstruction in Kosovo, and implemented poverty reduction strategies in Africa and financial crises in Asia and Latin America. In the private sector, she led technology for civic engagement and impact investing initiatives at Google, as the head of Global Development Initiatives set up and ran the environmental strategy, including investing clean technologies at Goldman Sachs.  

She served as Deputy Assistant to the President for President Obama and founded the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. She served on President Obama’s transition board leading the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform group. In the Administration, Sonal led the efforts to set up innovative finance mechanisms for service delivery, leveraging technology to better engage citizens in government, creating new public-private partnerships, and supported and trained leadership throughout government (political and civic service) to institutionalize innovative practices.

Sonal started her career at the U.S. Department of Treasury where she was an international economist working on timely development issues, including post-conflict development in Bosnia, the Asian financial crisis, and poverty reduction in Africa.  

One of Sonal’s most proud accomplishments is working with her siblings to create a non-profit, Indicorps, to build a new generation of socially conscious global leaders. They worked with some of the leading non-profit and social organizations throughout India working on issues of healthcare, education, farming, women’s development, etc. Indicorps created the service movement in India inspiring and incubating new social enterprises like Teach for India and Sarvajal.

She serves on the board of the Case Foundation, Oxfam America, Non Profit Finance Fund, UBS Optimus Foundation, The Century Foundation, and the Urban Alliance. She serves as an adviser to the Democracy Fund and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

Alfredo Vidal

Secretary

Alfredo M. Vidal is the President of the boutique lobbying firm, The Vidal Group, LLC. Under Alfredo’s leadership, The Vidal Group has represented a diverse client base, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits.

Before starting The Vidal Group, LLC, Alfredo worked in New York as an Ombudsman for the Secretary of State, the Director of Finance for the Division of Human Rights, the Assistant Director of Intergovernmental and Legislative Affairs for Governor Cuomo and as the Senior Internal Auditor for the Department of Transportation. In the private sector he worked as an Associate for Weinraub and Ostroff, LLC, as a Senior Associate with Ostroff Associates, LLC, and as a partner at Brown, Vidal and Weinraub, LLC.

In 2010, the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican and Hispanic task force presented him with their Community Service Award, recognizing his outstanding contribution and advocacy for the social and economic advancement of the people of the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Community of New York. He was also featured in The Capitol’s Top 40 Under 40 Rising Stars.

Alfredo holds a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in International Relations and Spanish Language, Literature and Culture and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Twitter

Julián Castro

Member

Julián Castro was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He was first elected to public office in 2001, when, at the age of 26, he won election to the San Antonio City Council. In 2009, Castro became Mayor of San Antonio, making him the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city. Castro brought a strong focus to improving educational achievement and making San Antonio a leader in the 21st century global economy.

During his tenure, Castro led a voter-approved effort to significantly expand high-quality, full day Pre-K. Castro also brought a sense of urgency to revitalizing the city’s urban core, launching a “Decade of Downtown” initiative that has resulted in thousands of new housing units in the center city. 

Castro was named to the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders in 2010 and recognized by Time Magazine as one of “40 under 40” rising stars in American politics that same year.

In 2014, President Barack Obama named Castro the 16tht Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where he oversaw 8,000 employees and a budget of more than $46 billion. At HUD, Secretary Castro led progress that earned the Department recognition as one of the most improved federal agencies.

Secretary Castro’s policy achievements include instructing the Federal Housing Administration to lower mortgage insurance premiums, making homeownership more affordable for responsible families; releasing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule to fulfill the full promise of the Fair Housing Act, helping families access strong neighborhoods with housing choice vouchers and empowering local leaders with new tools to invest in their communities; and in 2015, launching ConnectHome, a partnership among Internet service providers, housing authorities, and nonprofits to accelerate internet adoption for public and assisted housing residents.

Today, Castro is a Distinguished Fellow with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas – Austin and a Fellow of the Dávila Chair in International Trade Policy. He serves on the board of directors of both the LBJ Foundation and Common Sense Media. He recently founded Opportunity First, a political organization supporting young progressive candidates for elected office across the United States. Castro’s memoir is due out at the end of 2018.

Castro received a bachelor of arts degree from Stanford University in 1996 and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2000. He and his wife, Erica, have a daughter, Carina, and a son, Cristián. Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, represents the 20th Congressional District of Texas.

Twitter

Rosario Dawson

Member

Rosario Dawson is an actress and co-founder of Voto Latino. She currently serves as Chair of Voto Latino’s Board of Directors.

Dawson made her film debut in the movie, Kids, and has since appeared in Men In Black II, The 25th Hour, Sin City, Rent, Seven Pounds, Unstoppable, Trance, Gimme Shelter, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Chavez, and Top Five.

Rosario Dawson is not only an award-winning actress with a 20-year career, but an all around creative, out-of-the-box innovative powerhouse whose work ranges from film production to social activism to fashion, design and technology. Along with her work at Voto Latino, Dawson serves on the board of the Lower Eastside Girls Club in Manhattan, V-Day, and Operation USA.

Most notably, Dawson was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her valuable contributions to the community and encouragement in getting others involved. Dawson’s journey has also taken her to Africa where she is a creative director and designer at Studio One Eighty Nine, an online platform she co-founded to curate and showcase beautiful work celebrating craftsmanship, heritage, and design.

Twitter

María Teresa Kumar

Member

María Teresa Kumar is the founding President and CEO of Voto Latino and an Emmynominated contributor with MSNBC. Under her leadership, Voto Latino has become a key factor in national elections by registering over half a million voters and garnered several prestigious awards including several Promax Gold and Webby Honorees. Fast Company named her among the most 100 Creative Minds in business. In 2013, Elle Magazine named her one of the 10 most influential women in Washington, DC. Hispanic Business named her among the 100 most influential Latinos in America and Hispanic Executive named her among the top 10 most influential Latinos in the country. HBO’s Celebrity Habla and PBS’s Undergraduates have profiled her work. Maria Teresa co-Chaired the Aspen Task Force on Connected Learning. The Imagen Foundation, HOPE, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and DEMOS are among the organizations that have recognized her leadership.

She is a frequent guest analyst on NPR and PBS, a panelist on Bill Maher’s HBO show, an opinion writer for national publications, and a sought after speaker at major conferences including GE, Prudential, Intel, SXSW, NetRoots Nation, Personal Democracy Forum, and TEDx.

María Teresa serves on the national boards of EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood Federation and the Latino Leaders Network. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover, an Aspen Institute Scholar and a Council on Foreign Relations Lifetime Member.

She started her career as a legislative aide for then-Democratic Caucus Chair Vic Fazio, and graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School and the University of California at Davis. When not in DC, Maria Teresa travels with her husband Raj Kumar and their two babes Lucia Mercedes and Eduardo.

Twitter

Brian Stansbury

Member

Brian Stansbury is an attorney in the Washington, DC office of King & Spalding LLP. Brian and his colleagues at King & Spalding have served as pro bono legal counsel for Voto Latino.

Brian specializes in complex environmental, toxic tort, and commercial litigation and crisis management.  Brian also advises clients researching and pursuing opportunities in the Republic of Cuba. Brian represents a diversity of clients in his practice, including those in the energy, automotive, chemical, food, technology, and telecommunications industries.  He has handled matters involving criminal and civil violations of the Clean Air Act, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, customs laws all over the world, and allegations of obstruction of justice and wire fraud,

In addition to his pro bono work for Voto Latino, Brian maintains a robust pro bono practice representing people of limited means in immigration matters.  He has secured asylum for numerous people from Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. Brian also provided legislative analysis and counseling for the National Immigration Forum in connection with the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, which passed the US Senate but died in the US House. Brian also served as personal counsel to the widow of Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Although based in Washington, DC, Brian remains active in Texas politics. He served as chairman of the board of New Leaders Texas and served as an adviser and fundraiser for Congressman Joaquin Castro, Representative Mary Gonzalez, Houston Mayor Bill White, and Houston Controller Chris Brown. Brian has also served on the board of trustees of the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, DC.

Brian obtained his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of Virginia School of Law and obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas.

Twitter

Wilmer Valderrama

Member

Wilmer Valderrama currently stars in the number one drama NCIS on CBS. He also can be seen in Netflix’s comedy THE RANCH. Valderrama also recently starred in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino’s first original television series, as ‘Carlos Madrigal,’ the series’ main villain. In addition, he will voice ‘Prince Charming’ in the John H. Williams animated film CHARMING, opposite Ashley Tisdale, Avril Lavigne and Demi Lovato.

Valderrama is most recognized for his role as ‘Fez’ on FOX’s Emmy-nominated series THAT 70’S SHOW.

As for his philanthropic efforts, Valderrama has directed several PSA’s for multiple organizations such as Voto Latino, where he also stands as co-chair. Valderrama is the spokesperson for CHCI, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and is the founder of their Ready 2 Lead program, which educates and empowers the Latino youth. He also has worked with President Obama’s Organizing for Action campaign on efforts involving immigration reform and education.

Valderrama currently resides in Los Angeles.

The work we do begins and ends with our fantastic supporters.

America Ferrera
Twitter

America Ferrera

Actor, VL Artist Coalition Co-chair
Pitbull
Twitter

Pitbull

Rapper
Jessica Alba
Twitter

Jessica Alba

Actor
Twitter

Wilmer Valderrama

Actor, VL Artist Coalition Co-chair

Common

Rapper

George Lopez

Comedian, Actor

Gina Rodriguez

Actor

Jennifer Lopez

Actor, Singer

Robert Rodriguez

Film Director

Demi Lovato

Singer

Diego Luna

Actor

Russell Simmons

Media Mogul

Diane Guerrero

Actor

Eva Longoria

Actor, Producer

Taboo

Singer

Lila Downs

Singer

Craig Newmark

Entrepreneur

Jaslene Gonzalez

Model

Dolores Huerta

Civil Rights Activist

Columbus Short

Choreographer, Actor

Dania Ramirez

Actor

Al Madrigal

Comedian, Actor

John Leguizamo

Actor, Producer

Kat DeLuna

Singer

Fat Joe

Rapper

Edward James Olmos

Actor, Director

Amy Smart

Actor

Adam Rodríguez

Actor

Judy Reyes

Actor

Romeo Santos

Singer

Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo

Radio Personality

Michael “Juan Bago” Diaz

Actor, Producer

Maná

Rock Band

Nick Gonzalez

Actor

Luis Guzman

Actor

Erik Rivera

Comedian

Carlos Santos

Actor, Comedian

Raul Castillo

Actor

Laura Gomez

Actor

Gabe Saporta

Singer

Careers

We like amazing people who want to do life-changing work. Check out our openings below.

1 – Digital Director
Washington, DC

As we continue to grow, we need a motivated and adaptable individual to support our team as Digital Director.

Learn More
1.6 – Digital Media Intern
Washington, DC

Are you creative and digitally savvy? We want you as a Digital Media Intern!

Learn More
1.7 – Development Intern
Washington, DC

Are you interested in developing the Voto Latino brand? Have a knack for events planning? We want you as a Development Intern!

Learn More
1.8 – Field Campaign Intern – Organizing Support
Washington, DC or Austin, TX

Looking to get into organizing and want to be part of Voto Latino’s voter registration campaigns? We want you as a Field Campaigns Intern!

Learn More
1.9 – Field Campaign Intern – Communications/Copy Editing
Washington, DC

Looking to get into organizing and want to be part of Voto Latino’s voter registration campaigns? We want you as a Field Campaigns Intern!

Learn More
2 – Design Intern
Washington, DC

Are you passionate about design? Obsessed with typography? Have a strong creative eye? If so, come join the creative team at Voto Latino!

Learn More
2.1 – Operations Intern
Washington, DC

Are you interested in learning more about the dynamic operations of nonprofits? We want you as an Operations Intern!

Learn More

Become a Volunteer

Sign up to get emails on how to become involved in causes you care about.

Press

Keep up with us right here on everything from what we have to say on issues in the news to stories about VL’s work.

Annual Reports

Here are a few examples of the work we’ve done in just the last year, thanks to our generous supporters. We hope to continually build and strengthen our financial base in order to do more for and with our community.

November 4, 2017

VL Power Summit 2017

VL Power Summit, our two-day leadership conference, is heading to Austin, Texas this November. More than 500 dynamic young leaders from across the country will connect with industry thought leaders to be trained in advocacy, leadership, media and tech.

Learn More

Help Us Do More in 2018

Awards

It’s always nice to be recognized for doing the work we love. Check out some of the projects we’ve been honored for below.

Crash the Parties 2016 was the 2017 winner of Cynopsis Social Good Awards’ Best Get Out the Vote Campaign. Crash the Parties was a collaboration between Voto Latino and Fuse Media in which we sent two lucky winners to cover the DNC and RNC as an official Fuse Media reporter.

In November of 2016, Voto Latino received the 2016 Lux Award from the Level Playing Field Institute at their Fairness Matters Forum. The mission of the Level Playing Field Institute (LFPI) is to increase workforce diversity through creative programs.

Tecla Best Social Good or Cause-Related Campaign

In April 2016, Hispanicize awarded Voto Latino with the Tecla award for “Best Social Good or Cause-Related Campaign” at their 2016 convention. The Tecla Awards recognize excellence in Latino blogging, social media, and digital marketing.

LATISM Best Of Award

In 2014, LATISM awarded Voto Latino the “Best Not-For-Profit Organization using Technology and Social Media to reach Latino(a)s” award for exceptional social media engagement.

Fast Company 100 Most Creative People in Business

Maria Teresa Kumar and Rosario Dawson were named among the 100 Most Creative Minds in Business by Fast Company in the summer of 2012.

Webby Award Honoree – 2009

In 2009, Voto Latino was a Webby Award Honoree for the telenovela PSA, La Pasión de la Decision, a five-part voter registration video campaign launched to mobilize Hispanics to vote in 2008. Presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), a Webby is largely considered to be the Internet’s greatest honor.

White House Project EPIC Award

In 2009, Voto Latino was given the EPIC award by The White House Project.  This prestigious award is given to a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that works to advance women in media, business and politics. Voto Latino was highlighted for bringing a positive image of female leadership to the American public.

Webby Award Honoree – 2008

In 2008, Voto Latino received a Webby Award Official Honoree recognition for the ‘Crash the Parties’ campaign, a contest in which the prize for two contestants was a trip to cover the RNC and the DNC. Crash the Parties was a joint project between SiTV and Voto Latino.

MySpace Impact Award

In 2008, Voto Latino was awarded the MySpace Impact Award for Community Organizing, along with a $10,000 prize in recognition of its online organizing efforts. The MySpace Impact Awards aim to recognize those “making a difference in the world” through the social network.

NAMIC Best In Ethnic Marketing & Diversity

In 2008, Voto Latino was awarded the Award for ‘Best In Ethnic Marketing & Diversity’  for Crash the Parties in partnership with SiTV. This award was presented by the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC).

Newsweek Women in Leadership Award

In 2008, Rosario Dawson was awarded the Women In Leadership Award by Newsweek, honoring her work as the Co-founder and Chairwoman of Voto Latino.

Hispanic Heritage Award for Vision

In 2007, Voto Latino Co-founder and Chairwoman, Rosario Dawson, was honored with the Hispanic Heritage Award for Vision by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. The Hispanic Heritage Awards were established by The White House in 1987 and are considered among the “highest honor for Latinos by Latinos.”

ProMax Gold Award

In 2006, Voto Latino’s PSAs won top honors at the Promax Awards, taking home the Gold Award. These PSAs were produced in conjunction with Mun2 and featured Voto Latino friend and supporter, Pitbull.