Election 2016: Voto Latino President and CEO, Maria Teresa Kumar #HHMA

HipLatina is proud to be a partner of Voto Latino in support of voter registration. Both of our organizations seek to inspire people to become educators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in whatever field they pursue. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Maria Teresa, CEO of Voto Latino, and asked a few questions, HipLatina style:

HipLatina: You have inspired many people through your leadership across multiple organizations. We are proud of your ability to inspire and elevate the lives of so many. What drives your passion?

Maria Teresa: What drives my passion is the young Latinos I have met throughout the years. We host a leadership conference called VL Power Summit, and at the Summit, I have the chance to meet so many of the folks that Voto Latino has touched in one way or another. It is these young people’s stories that fuel my passion and inspire me to continue the work we do. And, my two children also inspire me to shape this country to one that I want for them and their children as well.

HL: Who inspired you growing up, and why?

MT: Mi mamá. She is such a selfless woman who came to this country to provide a better life for me, and her story is the story of so many other mamas in our community. It is her sacrifice and that of so many others that inspire me to be brave. My passion for cultivating young Latinos comes from the life she allowed me to live, and honoring her sacrifice and that of those before me who took a step to be brave. Now, it’s our turn to say thank you to them and pay it back.

HL: We all know that the Latino demographic in the US is growing fast. But the percentage of Latinos who actually vote is relatively low. To what

do you attribute this, and how are you combating it?


MT: I attribute this to the lack of resources that are invested in our community. Far less money is spent on engaging Latinos than non-Latinos and this is reflected at the ballot box. Latinos are concentrated in non-competitive states like Texas, New York, and California; so far less is done to turn them out. In fact, less than 2% of philanthropic dollars are invested in Latino based organizations according to to Hispanics in Philanthropy Report.

But, this year there are 27.3 million Latinos eligible to vote, and through our efforts for Hispanic Heritage Month of Action we are working to build our country’s political power. We have also launched Voterpal, a phone app, with innovative scanning technology that cuts down the time it takes to fill out a voter registration form. We are working as much as we can to get as many of these 27.3 million registered.

HL: HipLatina’s tagline is “Her Interest, Her Lifestyle, Her Inspiration.” HipLatina’s audience would love to know what your interest, lifestyle, and inspiration are.

MT: Interests: Cooking and traveling.

Lifestyle: Mami. Esposa. Hija. And, fierce advocate for my community.

Inspiration: Our community’s potential to shape this country for ourselves and for future generations.

HL: Please share a little personal secret we can share with the HipLatina audience.

MT: When Rosario Dawson first approached me about Voto Latino, people thought we were crazy! No one was speaking to young Latinos, in English, using social media. But, look where we are today.

Go vote November 8th.

Maria Teresa Kumar

Photo Credit Cosmo




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