Celebrating 15 Years

News + Events

The anniversary celebration highlighted the foundation’s 15-year history of supporting Latino arts and culture, education, and leadership development through the accomplishments of its grantees who received $5 million in awards and donations during that period.

Highlights from the 15th Anniversary Celebration
at Mexican Heritage Plaza

Looking Back

A Daughter’s Perspective

Carmela Castellano-Garcia

The Castellano Family Foundation, which is my family’s foundation, just recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. This is such a huge milestone for my family and I can’t help but reminisce on not just the past years, but my parents very humble beginnings as champions for the Latino Community.

For as long as I can remember, my parents, Alcario and Carmen Castellano, have always been active, involved members of the Latino community in San Jose. When I was young, I remember my father being very passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion. My parents even advocated at the local elementary school I attended, on the need for diversity among the teaching staff, as my sister and I were the only students of color. My mother, who worked at San Jose City College, always paid close attention to the board of trustees, the governing committee of her college district, to see what decisions they would be making and the impacts of such decisions.

My parents work and dedication to the community helped play an instrumental role in my own career path and dedication to bettering the Latino community. From a very young age, they instilled in my siblings and I, a love for being involved and advancing the community.

When my father won the lottery in 2012, my family was thrown into the national spotlight and the story made national news. After the excitement of their win settled down, they made it a priority to establish the Castellano Family Foundation. Having been committed to the Latino community in San Jose for years, it only seemed right that they found a way to give back to the people that they have so much love for.

The foundation was founded on uplifting the Latino community in four main areas: education, arts & culture, leadership, and diversity. Over the years, we’ve awarded over millions of dollars in the form of grants, scholarships, and efforts that advance Latino art and culture. Now that the Castellano Family Foundation is celebrating its 15th year, we debuted something truly special at the Mexican Heritage Plaza on June 23, 2017 during the celebration. It was the premiere of my father’s documentary, which highlighted the Cinco de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre celebrations that occurred in San Jose in the 80s and 90s. All the footage in the documentary was captured by him and it was amazing to watch people viewing his work.

The Castellano Family

I remember just a few years ago, going to visit my father and I saw him watching footage he recorded decades ago of the fiestas in San Jose. Seeing the joy and sense of pride on his face, I knew we couldn’t let this footage go to waste, so we decided to turn the footage into a documentary. For two years, my father and I spent hours at a time meticulously looking at each video scene by scene to pick out the footage that would later go into the documentary that premiered on June 23.

Words cannot accurately express how amazing of an experience it was to work with my father on this project. Not only did I help produce the film, I conducted a four hour interview of my father, that would later contribute to the documentary as the voiceover. I learned so much about his passions during those four hours and am honored to share this part of my father with the community. I want people to understand the part of my father before he won the lotto and his continuous commitment to the community well before that.

The Castellano Family Foundation’s 15th anniversary celebration was truly a momentous occasion that I was happy to share with the community that it all started in. From the foundation’s establishment to my father’s documentary, my hope is that the foundation continues to enrich the Latino community both in Santa Clara County and Nationwide.

-Carmela Castellano-Garcia

15 Years + Counting

The foundation has achieved many milestones in the last 15 years and will undoubtedly achieve many more. Highlighted below are several of which we are proudest:

The Castellano Family “Gives Back”

After winning the California Lottery in 2001, Al and Carmen Castellano established the Castellano Fami...
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$1 Million in Grants Awarded

Carmen and Al’s community-focused approach to grant making results in more than 100 grants and $1 ...
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$2.5 Million Invested in the Community

Carmen and Al continue their close personal relationships with organizations in the community. By n...
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Transition to the Next Generation

Carmen and Al Castellano initiate the process to transition the leadership of the foundation to thei...
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First Grantee Convening

The foundation hosts its first-ever Grantee Convening in order to present its new strategic plan to ...
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Multiyear General Support Strategy

The foundation board initiates a new strategy to help grantees improve their organizational capacity...
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Grantee Convening 2013

Some 12 years ago, Alcario and Carmen Castellano experienced a windfall of money which today, lookin...
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Video Documentary Commissioned

As a tribute to its founder, the foundation commissions the making of a video documentary using phot...
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$5 Million Awarded

The foundation achieves a significant milestone – 700 grants totaling $5 million awarded to more t...
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Our Photo Gallery

The CFF founders, Alcario and Carmen Castellano, have a long history of involvement in the San Jose community. After winning a $141 million lottery jackpot in 2001, they established a foundation to support the local Mexican American community and made a splash on the national philanthropic scene as the country’s most prominent Latino family foundation.

Our Video Gallery

Documentary Preview

A highlight of the foundation’s anniversary was the premiere of a documentary commissioned as a special tribute to its founder, Alcario. The documentary featured photos and videos that he took of Fiestas Patrias in San Jose over nearly a decade while volunteering with the San Jose GI Forum, organizers of these events.

Documentary Interview

CFF Grantee Video

How to share with just friends.

Posted by Facebook on Friday, December 5, 2014

Grantee Infographic

In the Press

NBC Bay Area

Castellano Family Foundation celebrates “Quinceañera” (Spanish)

NBC Bay Area

Castellano Family Foundation celebrates “Quinceañera” (English)