Latino-led fundraiser helps Catholic Multicultural Center help the community Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Laura Green, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Dec. 08, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

CMC Radiothon

Catholic Multicultural Center fundraiser and community event
Friday, Dec. 16:

• 12 noon to 6 p.m. — Live broadcast on La Movida Spanish Radio (1480 AM)
• 1 p.m. — Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass in center’s chapel
Until 7 p.m. — Festivities at the center, including dancing, live music, and food
Cost: Free-will donation
Site: 1862 Beld St., Madison
More information: cmc madison.org/Radiothon 2016

MADISON -- When the Diocese of Madison shut the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) down in 2009 due to tough economic times, Elia Armacanqui was among the first to rally around the center and advocate for its re-opening.

As a community advocate, Peruvian, and long-time friend and supporter of the CMC, Armacanqui saw this as a wake-up call for herself and fellow Latinos.

“The CMC has always helped us Latinos, but the Latinos were not very active in supporting the Center,” Armacanqui said. “We met and said ‘we have to do something.’”

Supporting the center

Right after the center re-opened later in 2009 under Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Armancanqui met with other Latino community leaders to see how they could support their center.

Ramiro Ochoa, Sandra Rybacheck, Ilba Prego, Cecilia Miranda, Alejandro Riano, CMC staff members Antonio Quintanilla and Lilliam Post, and other Latinos came together and planned the CMC’s first cultural night fundraiser in 2010.

Organizers saw this as a chance for people to come and show their support for the CMC and for community members to see all the CMC had to offer.

The cultural night fundraiser drew an impressive crowd and was deemed a success, but organizers were not content with doing something to support the center just one time.

Planning a fundraiser

Armacanqui and her colleagues continued planning and came up with the ambitious idea of doing a telethon to raise funds for the center.

As fate would have it, another group was simultaneously thinking almost the same thing. Mid-West Family Broadcasting began to do what they could to support the CMC by inviting Director Andy Russell to speak on various radio stations, including La Movida Spanish radio.

La Movida owners Luis and Lupita Montoto had connections to the center dating back to the late 1990s, when they turned to the center for support after first arriving in Madison.

“The CMC gave us the tools we needed to survive and thrive and be successful. If CMC did that for us, there have to be more couples that are going to come needing help; I would like to see the CMC provide the same opportunities that were provided to us, to other families,” said Luis Montoto, speaking of the inspiration in planning an event to support the CMC.

The Montotos had recently done a radio fundraiser for another local non-profit. Encouraged by that success, they approached the CMC with the idea of doing a radiothon, bringing Armacanqui and friends’ plans to life.

CMC Radiothon is born

In 2012, the CMC and La Movida teamed up to host the first CMC Radiothon. As the name suggests, the radiothon is similar to a telethon, only via radio rather than television.

From 2012 onward, each year La Movida broadcasts live from the center, encouraging people to call in and donate. The event is always planned near the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, honoring one of the CMC’s patron saints.

Though advertised as a fundraiser, “It’s also a celebration bringing people together to enjoy entertainment as well as give back to something that is important to so many people,” said Russell.

Community event

During the CMC Radiothon, the center invites community members to enjoy colorful dance performances by Mexican dance groups, live music by Spanish singers and song-writers, and Latin-American food prepared by restaurant donors and volunteers.

“The Radiothon is a time to be thankful for all the support that people give to us so we can support our brothers and sisters in need,” added Russell.

The Radiothon now draws a diverse crowd of people, not only Latinos but non-Latinos as well. The cost to participate is a free-will donation of any amount, and if one cannot afford to give monetarily, then they are still welcome to show their support by being present.

“All are welcome to come to this fundraiser. Even if you don’t have money to give, please come celebrate with us,” said Russell. With virtually no cost to hosting the event, all the funds raised go directly to supporting the social services the CMC offers.

“It’s beautiful to see the community come together to support an organization they care about,” said long-time CMC supporter Mario Garcia Sierra. Garcia Sierra utilized the center’s services when he arrived to Madison from Guatemala over a decade ago and soon began volunteering to help in the food pantry.

Years later, he became one of the first and longest-running business sponsors of the Radiothon through his employer. He and his employer gladly support the Radiothon because “it’s clear that the CMC plays a vital role in providing needed services to the community in South Madison.”

They want the CMC to be stronger because the CMC then makes the community stronger through the services it provides. “We care about the well-being of community members, and we want the CMC to be here when community members need help,” Garcia Sierra added.

Event has grown

With the fifth annual Radiothon approaching, organizers reflected on how much the event has grown and evolved over the past years.

“Now it’s not just the La Movida Radiothon, it’s the community’s Radiothon,” said Luis Montoto.

He explained that though this started as an event for and by the Latino community, it has become a more inclusive event touching the whole community that the CMC serves.

Armacanqui echoed these words, noting that the Radiothon is now not just within the Latino community, but an event supported by all of Madison and beyond.

For Armacanqui it has been inspiring to see the idea of the Latino community supporting the CMC grow into something so big and so lasting.

“Now we always go to the Radiothon each year, and we are really happy that this initiative is continuing. We need to continue to be generous to the center which has been so generous to us,” said Armacanqui.

Fifth annual Radiothon

This year the Radiothon will take place Friday, Dec. 16, from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at the CMC (1862 Beld St., Madison), broadcast live on La Movida Spanish Radio (1480 AM).

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass will be offered at 1 p.m. in the center’s chapel. Festivities at the center will last until 7 p.m.

The Catholic Multicultural Center would like to thank top Radiothon 2016 business sponsors, Madison Gas & Electric, Catholic Financial Life, Middleton Family Dental as well as other generous sponsors.

For more information about the Radiothon or how to contribute, visit: cmcmadison.org/Radiothon2016