28 October, 2020
Supporting the future of El Futuro
Organisational strengthening and effectiveness / Learnings
The new mural of El Futuro’s new office. Source: Oak Foundation
Marco Garcia emigrated to western North Carolina nearly three decades ago, where he worked as a farmworker to provide for his family. However, his health began to deteriorate, and Garcia had to leave his job. Feeling “useless”, the 57-year-old father plunged into a depression.
Thanks to a healthcare programme supported by El Futuro, a not-for-profit outpatient clinic that provides comprehensive mental health services for Latinx families, Marco now has access to a bilingual mental health therapist through videoconference. The results have been transformative: the teletherapy sessions have helped him reconnect to his faith, giving him a renewed strength and sense of hope.
Marco Garcia’s story is just one of many. Often, Latinx Americans have experienced what is called “triple trauma”: first, in escaping difficult situations in their home countries; secondly, during the migration route north, where some people are separated, get sick, or die along the way; and lastly, from having to readjust in unfamiliar environments, where they frequently undertake arduous jobs, such as farmwork or fruit and vegetable picking. These situations can impact their wellbeing, especially their mental health. To provide support to this community, El Futuro was founded in 2004. It has since grown to become North Carolina’s trusted resource for culturally responsive mental health services, serving around 1,800 Latinx people every year.
In 2019, after 15 years in operation, with support from Oak through the Triangle Capacity-Building Project, El Futuro identified the capacity improvements it needed to achieve its 10-year strategic goals, and implemented the following:
- A five-year communications plan to increase engagement with the Latinx communities state-wide and beyond.
- Refreshed branding assets in support of a broader communications strategy. This included a new logo, colour palette, and website, which have all now been implemented across social media, letterhead, brochures, flyers, signage, and all organisational collaterals.
El Futuro is a good example of why we see capacity-building support as an accompaniment to core support funding. As El Futuro has grown in space, staff and the people it serves, it has also been able to put in place external branding that matches its achievements. The core support funding gave El Futuro the confidence to sign a lease on a new space and hire a development director, both of which helped increase its capacity as an organisation. At the same time, the capacity building funds helped it to rebrand as part of the new communications strategy to enhance its work.
We provide capacity building support to our partners to help them grow stronger in terms of their organisational capacity, so that they can better attain their grant objectives and achieve their goals. If you would like to find out more about capacity building and organisational development opportunities within Oak, please check out the capacity building page on our website. Oak partners interested in capacity building and organisational development should contact their programme officer directly.
Talking about his experience with El Futuro, Marco Garcia said, “I didn’t want to look for help, but at the same time, I was desperate. Sometimes you just need help to get pointed in the right direction.” Oak Foundation is proud to partner with El Futuro to support Marco and others in the Latinx community in North Carolina on their journeys towards healing and hope.
 Story adapted from “The Revolutionary New Therapy Helping Depressed Farmworkers”.