Mando in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

There is no one in Central Texas nonprofitland who does not know Mando Rayo. If you don’t know Mando Rayo, you’re probably not doing a very good job at fulfilling your mission.

I’m new to this world, I know. But I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t know this guy. His name is on everyone’s Rolodex because he’s the director of Hands On Central Texas, a United Way agency whose core responsibility is to find and place volunteers for dozens of nonprofits. You need volunteers? You need in-kind donations? You call Mando.

But it’s not just his position that makes him so popular. He also happens to be effective, passionate, charismatic, and smart. And, I think, continually understimated. He’s one of the examples used in a story published in a recent issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy about the lack of minority nonprofit managers.

Mando’s Mexican-American. He’s also young (33 years old), has at least one visible tattoo and tends towards jeans and black T-shirts. Not your typical middle-aged white female nonprofit manager, I guess. And once you start talking to him, you realize that’s what makes him so great. He’s exactly the kind of person you wish would care so much about the needs of Central Texas because he looks so different from the usual bunch of do-gooders. That he also happens to be the same nationality as so many of the neediest people in Austin makes you think he’d have an edge.

Not when it comes to moving up the ladder, according to the article. “Organization leaders didn’t understand his background or their own biases, he says, which kept him from moving ahead.”

Too bad for them. I’ve worked in nonprofits a little bit but I’ve worked at plenty of for-profit organizations as well, and the people like Mando are the ones who should move up, but fast. He seems to be in a position that suits him now, but – if it’s at all possible – can someone get him more resources, funding, and staff? This guy can make good things happen for Central Texas, but this MexiCAN is going to need some help.


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