President's Perspective Blog

Mike’s Monday Message Takeover: Juntos Somos Mas (Together We Are More)

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Hispanic Heritage Month

When I was invited to guest-write Mike’s Monday Message for Hispanic Heritage Month, I nearly declined.

Why? Because adequately representing our collective Latinidad carries weight. After reflecting on the importance of representation, however, my message's focus became clear.

I'm using this platform to highlight an extraordinary Latinx/e fundraiser, Armando E. Zumaya.

The first time that I encountered Armando was during a virtual training in 2012 or 2013. And let me tell you, he made an impression, y’all. If you know him, you know he is full of development wisdom and loves sharing it. As a new fundraiser, I was in awe of his presentation style and breadth of knowledge.

ArmandoThe adage "You can't be what you can't see" rings true. It took me a while to realize that Armando was the first Latinx/e fundraising thought leader I had encountered. Considering that approximately 80% of U.S. fundraisers are white, Latinx/e fundraisers like myself were scarce, especially back then.

And, Armando was so inspiring. He spoke loud and proud. He called himself a tall Mexican (he actually is pretty tall - jajaja) and Chicano and fully engaged the audience. Seeing Armando made me think that if I find my own style, maybe I can be loud too.

I’ve never told Armando this, but he inspired me to speak up and say more of what I really felt. I do this quite a bit on LinkedIn and have leaned into “my voice.”

The pivotal point for me to really consider my visibility for my style, my knowledge, and authenticity with my Mexican-American identity, came from Armando. Armando has pushed the field for years, even decades, to see the philanthropic power of the Latinx donor. He teaches endlessly on both why, and how, to diversify your donor base.

Amando has even formed a revolutionary Latinx fundraising Institute called Somos El Poder.  How cool is that!? Annual membership is $75 for individuals, and you can meet and learn alongside fellow Latinx fundraisers.

I'm unsure if Armando has ever been honored as a "Top 40 Under 40" or "Fundraiser of the Year" by his AFP chapter. Regardless, such accolades can't match his actual impact on the fundraising field. If you’re interested in hearing more from a passionate Mexican-American fundraiser who has been doing this work for decades, here are some paths to learn more about Armando:

  1. Learn about Somos El Poder Institute
  2. Check out their inaugural 2023 Poderoso Awards National Latinx Philanthropy Awards
  3. Follow Armando E. Zumaya on LinkedIn

Join me in celebrating la cultura and the contributions, achievements, and connectedness of Latinx/e people. Be a part of this connection.

Juntos somos mas. Together we are more.


Michelle Flores Vryn, CFRE
AFP Global Board of Directors

Author Information

Michelle Flores VrynMichelle F. Vryn, CFRE, is the Chief Development Officer on the OneStar team. She is an active member of the social impact community and is driven to create thoughtful, yet attainable, strategy to increase nonprofit success. Michelle is passionate about mentoring Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) nonprofit professionals and creating better workplace cultures where they can thrive. She also serves on the board of Mission Capital and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Global. When not working, Michelle enjoys watching fashion videos and tutorials, meditating, and spontaneously dropping in on live music around Austin.

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