Published on April 13, 2022
Alive’s CEO Kimberly Goessele interviewed Diane Janbakhsh, founder of the Hispanic Family Foundation (HFF), for our Live Your Legacy series.
Diane Janbakhsh, founder of the Hispanic Family Foundation (HFF), grew up in Monterey, Mexico but moved to Nashville in 1985. She and her husband started businesses that largely serve the Hispanic community. They own the largest Hispanic radio station network in the Southeast and Plaza Mariachi, a family shopping and event center, where HFF is located and provides many of its services to. Diane has a very clear idea of the legacy she wants to leave and is living it every day.
“Giving back and pouring into the next generation is part of legacy. We want to leave this planet a little better than we found it. We started with tangible needs. It was easy to see what was needed, and then we addressed it. Now we have created more programs to cover a plethora of age groups; we help keep teens in school, offer entrepreneurship classes, teach the elderly computer literacy, teach language classes, host arts and cultural events, etc.”
Diane followed in the footsteps of her mother who is also an entrepreneur with a heart for her community. Her mom, a dentist, worked hard to get re-licensed in the U.S., and then started a business that served the local Hispanic community. It was here that Diane first got a taste of how local businesses can build up the communities they serve.
“Your time and talent are treasures to share with those who need a little hand up to help them better their family’s situation.”
“There were kids coming in without coats and holes in shoes in the Nashville winter. We started with a coat drive, then we did a toy drive, then it was Easter events for families. Little by little we joined with churches and community partners who wanted to give back, to help someone and do a good deed.”
“Eleven years later we have a foundation with programs with mental health, physical health, English classes, outreach, therapy, referrals, etc. Your time and talent are treasures to share with those who need a little hand up to help them better their family’s situation.”
The HFF community is one that continues to build itself as more people learn about the services and then find out what they have to offer, in turn.
“We offer a whole world of opportunities for people who want to serve. It grows organically. Families see what we are doing and fall in love with the different programs. Graduates give back, encouraging others and telling their stories. Others volunteer at a specific event and then come back again and again.”
HFF gives opportunities for people of all ages to support one another, especially those who may have left family behind in another country. Seniors and children often form special bonds through their programs.
“People of all ages have a place here. It can be hard for the children in the immigrant community. They internalize the nation’s politics. Many don’t have their grandparents here with them, and it’s very touching to see them connect with the older volunteers. It’s beautiful to see them come alive when a compassionate older person ‘adopts’ them and shares special moments.”
The Hispanic Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for Hispanic families in Middle Tennessee. We work through our platforms of— Economic, Education, Social Services, Advocacy and Culture—to provide programs that strengthen the Nashville Hispanic community. Our mission is to utilize our platforms of economic, social services, advocacy, and culture to educate and strengthen Nashville’s Hispanic and immigrant communities.