AUSTIN (KXAN) — In downtown Austin, thirsty passersby may spot the sign bearing the name of a local vodka maker at Second and Lavaca streets and may try to go inside for something to wet their whistle. But here at “Love, Tito’s,” the Tito’s Vodka merchandise store, their glasses remain empty while their hearts are filled.
“100% of net proceeds go back to nonprofit organizations, and it’s a rotating list from national to local,” says Central Texas native Zack Flores who is the “Love, Tito’s” National Philanthropic Manager. Tito’s brought him on six years ago to help launch this philanthropic program.
Flores, who has worked with nonprofits since he was 18, says his Mexican-American upbringing was his compass that lead him to a job focused on caring for others. His mother, grandmother and older sister raised him.
“Just having that strength of powerful women helped shape and shift the way you see the world. I was always taught to care for others who are less fortunate,” he says, adding that his father showed him how hard work and determination alongside compassion could elicit change.
And that’s what he has dedicated his life to do. He serves on the board of “I Live Here, I Give Here.” The causes closest to him include Central Texas Food Bank, HAAM, Red River Cultural District, Black Fret and Emancipet.
However, his biggest mission might be encouraging other Latinos to dream big. He supports local causes including Latinitas, Con Mi Madre and El Buen Samaritano.
“I’m passionate about helping my community, but more importantly, my heritage,” he says.
Flores hopes his work will uplift the next generation of Latino leaders and that one day this new crop of civically active Latinos includes his son, Phoenix, who is now eight months old.
“This is the greatest achievement of my life,” Flores says. “I am most excited knowing I have the opportunity to shape this innocent life into a powerful community leader.”
He wants people to know they can make a difference now.
“We have the best d— vodka out there,” he says. “And I would love the public to understand with support, with our fans and our following we could expand and provide impact together in our communities”.