By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –A Delaware Valley organization of Hispanic business leaders is getting behind the effort to raise money to underwrite the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia in September and the associated World Meeting of Families.

Today, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce announced its Latino Papal Fund, and there is great meaning behind the launch of this fundraising effort.

Varsovia Fernandez, CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (wearing black suit in photo), says this means much more than raising money.

“It’s a lot of emotion for us,” she says.  “This is the first Latino/Hispanic pope in history.”

Religious leaders and members of the Latino community gathered this morning outside the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, on Logan Circle, to announce the fund.

“This is another example of how we are receiving gifts large and small,” said Donna Farrell, executive director of the 2015 World Meeting of Families.  “Seven figures to five dollars.  And every single penny is so gratefully received.”

So far, $30 million of the needed $45 million has been raised.

The Chamber of Commerce also announced a method by which cell phone users can make a donation toward the papal visit via text message.  To donate $5, text PAPAFUND to 56512.  For more information go to