Making an Impact through Music
Rocky at the Latin Grammies
By Lauren Rigau
As the 23rd Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards kicked off in Las Vegas with musical performances from Marc Anthony, Nicky Jam, and Sin Bandera, the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation® had a winner of its own.
Based in Miami, the Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Latin Recording Academy and recently appointed Raquel "Rocky" Egusquiza its new Executive Director. A Latina with a lifelong commitment to serving her community, Rocky now looks to make an impact on the international stage. She comes to this role after having worked in numerous industries creating positive change, with senior executive positions in blue chip companies like Ford, AARP, Telemundo and the Miami Marlins.
LATINO Magazine sat down with Rocky to learn about her new role. "I am so honored to be leading an organization that fosters Latino culture and enables young musicians to share their heritage and identity with the world through the power of music. Our team works tirelessly to improve access to educational opportunities and life outcomes for youth in underserved communities," she said.
The Foundation creates a pipeline of future Latin music creators through its educational equity, access, and success pillars. Established by The Latin Recording Academy in 2014, the Foundation has impressive accomplishments, including awarding scholarships to students facing financial hardships. To date, the Foundation has served students from 24 countries from Portugal to Indonesia to the US and Latin America, investing over $6.7 million in scholarships. In addition, the Foundation provides grants to support anthropologists, musicologists, and scholars who work to foster the preservation of Latin music.
"I have the chance to lead our team and to work alongside our board and The Latin Recording Academy to continue to grow the impact of the Foundation." Rocky continued, adding that her goals include "working collaboratively to increase opportunities for Latin music creators across the globe."
The Foundation’s work doesn't stop there, for it also develops educational programs for middle school, high school, and college students. "For me personally, being able to lead the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation, which is committed to providing opportunities for young music makers through education and preserving that Latin music and culture so important to me and my family, is such an honor," said Rocky.
Across the US and Latin America, the Latin GRAMMY In The Schools program has donated $700,000 in musical instruments to support music education programs. "Latin GRAMMY In The Schools is how we provide musical instruments to different schools that are underserved, to ensure they are continuing those music programs and including Latin music as part of that curriculum," Rocky shared.
In many respects, Rocky's life has prepared her for this moment. Growing up in a proud Cuban American family in Miami, her fondest memories are of dancing and singing at family gatherings, celebrations infused with a love of Latin music. So when she had a chance to combine giving back to the community and providing opportunities through education with the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation, there couldn't have been a more perfect role.
Rocky believes that music is an international language transcending differences and uniting the globe. "Music and songs tell a story, and having that connection to our community through those stories and to see the growth of Latin music from generation to generation, that's what to me is meaningful. To know that we are creating that by supporting young music makers who are going to continue that legacy is just so rewarding," she continued.
Rocky takes the helm of the Foundation at a time when the Latin Recording Academy is elevating the genre and helping make it a mainstream sound. The growth and influence of Latin music around the world has become quite palpable, having evolved as a pivotal part of the fabric of our global culture.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rocky to the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation. Her passion, drive and hands-on work ethic will take the Foundation to the next level of growth and international awareness,” said Manuel Abud, CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. "This is an amazing moment in Latin music. The growth parallels opportunities and impact for the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation, there is an abundance of projects and musical talent that are honoring and upholding the legacy of Latin music, and, together, we look forward to preserving the legacy of Latin music for future generations of creators, with the support of the community.”
Please visit latingrammyculturalfoundation.org to see how you can help the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation make a difference in communities worldwide through music and education.