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National Hispanic Heritage Month: Giving Back

Proud of his own Hispanic heritage, Dr. Faustino “Tino” Bernadett has spent much of his adult life giving back to the community and culture that means so much to him. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, he takes this month-long opportunity to continue his philanthropic efforts, particularly where it comes to Hispanic culture and literacy.


National Hispanic Heritage Month is a 50+-year-old observance that honors the contributions, histories, and cultures of Hispanic, Latinx, and Chicanx Americans. It was first observed in 1968 under the direction of President Lyndon B. Johnson, but wasn’t made official until 20 years later in 1988 during the Reagan administration. 


Each year, it kicks off on September 15 and ends on October 15, occurring alongside Central American Independence Day (September 15) and Mexican Independence Day (September 16). People can celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in a variety of ways, such as reading about Hispanic American history—everything from their political achievements to their scientific wins (did you know Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to go to space?)—taking in some Latinx art, learning how to help Hispanic leaders in the polls, simply participating in conversations with Latinxs within the community, or learning about the non-profits that impact them.


Dr. Bernadett has done a few of those, mainly embracing literacy and education as a main goal, and making donations to local endeavors.


Smithsonian Latino Center


One of his proudest achievements, in fact, was being able to facilitate the lead gift to the Smithsonian Latino Center, which is dedicated to the preservation of Latino history and culture, engagement of Latino communities, and advancement of Latino representation in the United States.

He and his family established the Molina Family Gallery at the Smithsonian Latino Center -- the first of its kind in the country. While things have been put on hold a bit due to COVID-19, this ground-breaking addition will become a permanent gallery dedicated to the Latino experience, opening in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in the spring of 2022.

The space will feature 4,500 square feet of bilingual stories, a part of the project that is near and dear to Dr. Faustino Bernadett, who is bilingual himself. He is an alumnus of University of California, San Francisco (U.C.S.F.) School of Medicine and the vice president of The Molina Foundation, currently serving as board member of the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Faustino Bernadett finds it fulfilling to work closely with the Smithsonian Latino Center. The Latino Center works throughout the Smithsonian and with affiliated museums to promote understanding of U.S. Latino history and contributions to the arts, sciences and humanities.


You can learn of the project’s progress at the Smithsonian Campaign.


Hispanic Health Leadership Award


Dr. Bernadett’s Hispanic roots reach far back. He was the proud recipient of the Hispanic Health Leadership Award from the National Hispanic Health Foundation in 2015, given in recognition of the esteemed doctor’s efforts to improve the health of Hispanics and other underserved populations within California.


Faustino Bernadett has given back his entire life. Throughout his career, he has done just that, giving his time, talents and money to countless philanthropic endeavors. He and his wife have also endowed a scholarship at UCSF for Spanish-speaking medical students.


Fostering Literacy


Dr. Faustino Bernadett and his wife Dr. Martha Molina Bernadett, founded The Molina Foundation in 2004. She is the President and CEO, and he is Vice President and Treasurer, both fearlessly leading this national nonprofit organization that reduces disparities in access to education and health. Since its inception, The Molina Foundation has worked with more than 2,500 organizations and schools, donating more than 5.5 million books, as well as hosting workshops and programs for educators and families.


A retired California physician, “Tino” has always done all he could to give back to the community in which he was raised. Not only has he given his time, but he has also given generously to a variety of philanthropic endeavors. The Latino community has benefited in many ways over the years from his outreach programs and donations.


To learn more about Faustino Bernadett and the Molina Family Latino Gallery, head to Faustino Bernadett’s website.

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© 2016 Dr. Tino Bernadett.

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