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Change Your Watering Hole - An Interview with Charlie Echeverry

In this episode, Andrew visits with Deacon Charlie Echeverry, an ordained deacon for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as well as the founder and managing director of Black//Brown, a strategic advisory firm that helps leaders and organizations turn diversity into a revenue stream. In this episode, Andrew and Dcn. Charlie discuss the current and changing population in the Catholic Church and opportunities to engage diverse populations in development. As well as, investing time and intentionality in building a diverse workforce and donor-centric fundraising.

Show Notes:

Deacon Charlie is an ordained deacon for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, CA as well as the founder and managing director of Black//Brown, a strategic advisory firm that helps leaders and organizations turn diversity into a revenue stream.



Deacon Charlie started in digital media with AOL in 1999. Then transitioned to Walt Disney company, which was a great place to learn branding and storytelling. Univision was next. In 2013 he left the corporate world for his first start-up company and then in 2019 started Black//Brown. Black//Brown helps leaders of organizations turn diversity into a revenue stream. Usually, diversity is seen through something that is only HR. This is something he is trying to change.

Looking around the theme park at Disneyland was an experience where he could visually see the diversity. But he also saw the disconnect between what was seen and what was being done by the organization.

With Univision, he was able to see the connection with diversity in this country.

A typical client for Black//Brown are media companies that are looking to grow or looking for internal disruption as well as sports leagues and subscription based companies.

However, since Covid and George Floyd there's been a lot of demand and input from a variety of different sectors and recently they began working with their first non-profit, specifically, a non-secular non-profit. Most of their clients have been in the secular, for-profit space.


Catholic Church and Diversity

Is the american catholic church actively engaging Latinos and African Americans in the church, in the programs?

Definitely less in the African American demographic. And most of what has been done in the Latino base has been done in regards to translations.

Right now, in the United States, 42-43% of the entire Catholic Church is Latino. Young people, under 18, the statistic is 65% Latino. Given those numbers, the reality is that who is growing the fastest and leaving the fastest is the Latino group.

James Baxter of Exodus90, says that it’s not just about translating the words, it’s about creating a program that speaks to the culture, to the needs and not just to the language.

When you think of the world through the lens of translation only, you miss tremendous opportunity to minister to people.


Fundraising & Development

Across the board, Latinos and African Americans give more of their wealth to charity but are asked less frequently.

A huge disconnect is that we haven’t looked at it in a strategic way. How close can you get to who your constituents are inside your company? If you aren’t connecting to your people, you are missing opportunity.

When you look at prioritization of giving through different sectors, children charities see the majority of the focus in Latino giving. Now that you know how valuable children ministries are, begin asking how can you utilize that knowledge.

Latinos have a trend of wanting to give time more than treasure. You can still ask for money but how can you find ways of looking at the ministry where giving time is valuable?

This is a great example of being donor-centric. Look at your donors and build outward from that focus.

Utilizing this out of the box thinking allows you to build pathways that your donors want, instead of you wasting time creating paths that force donors onto a path that they don’t want to take.



Awareness is a big part of converting disparity to parity.

A good idea is a good idea, and a bad idea is a bad idea. As you change, you cannot lose your own personal agency.

Taking personal interest in the topic. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. You cannot simply mark a checkbox; you have to take a personal interest. It’s necessary to generate an opportunity.

You have to change your watering hole. You have to make a conscious decision to change your watering hole. The precedent needs to be set from leadership that this is important.



Charlie also co-hosts a podcast “Latino Leaders in Faith.” It’s conversation between leaders. Able to provide nuanced conversation.


Lightening Round:

  1. If you could fund-raise for any organization at any time in history, what would it be?
    • National Right to Life Committee, the oldest anti-abortion organization
  2. If you could get a donor meeting with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
    • Elon Musk, innovator
  3. Is there enough money out there for every organization doing good work?
    • Absolutely enough and there’s more than enough
  4. What is one piece of advice that you would give your past self?
    • Be much more patient, discerning and thoughtful. The only person who loses sleep over you is you (in a business setting)
    • So that God’s glory could be made manifest
  5. Who are 3 people who have most influenced you, professionally?
    • Dad who was a banker, Bob Sherman president of AOL, Jesus Chavez business partner
  6. What is one fact about Charlie that most people don’t know?
    • He’s an anglophile – a lover of all things British


If you want to reach Deacon Charlie, you can find him at his company website: or by email: [email protected] 

You can also find him on the two podcasts he Hosts/Co-Hosts: "Latino Leaders and Faith" and "The Diversity Remix"


Andrew's 3 Take-Aways:

  1. 43% of the Catholic Church today is Latino. So why hasn't the Catholic development community developed strategies for engaging Latinos in fundraising and philanthropy in a greater way? It's not out of malice but rather an unawareness of the opportunity.
  2. The message has to fit the culture if you want it to be effective. It's more than just translation. Use this information to be donor-centric. 
  3. Change your watering hole. Which means getting out of your comfort zone and get out and meet your people. 


Action Item:

Try to attend a mass in a language that you might not completely understand. Dive into a new experience - change your watering hole.

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