Claudia leads Amistades so that the agency can sustainably deliver on its long-term vision. Claudia comes to this role as a pioneering force to harness the power of social change and improve racial equity at the community level. She has uniquely crossed silos to weave together grassroots, philanthropic, corporate, and governmental efforts, at the local, regional, national, and transnational levels.
Claudia was a founding member of the Amistades Board of Directors in 2006 and has served on staff since 2010. In these roles, she developed the internal structure and external presence that provide Amistades with the strong platform it has today. She has also been the strategic architect of comprehensive relationships that allow Amistades to be uncompromising in its mission and vision.
Her vision for the breadth of topics that Amistades’ ethos can address will serve the organization and our community well in the future, as the agency continues to expand its horizons. She firmly believes in trust-based relationship and power building, in which racial equity and representation play a leading role.
This cultural philosophy can be seen in her body of work, with the through line being her deep understanding of, and commitment to, community integrity. She is convinced that the best outcomes for social change occur when people work for people who understand them, because of a shared heritage and background. Her leadership and experience broadly span the social sector, through a variety of initiatives that empower authentic and democratic community representation.
In addition to her long-term commitment to Amistades, over the course of a decade engaging directly with private foundations, Claudia led a series of initiatives to examine and question equity within existing institutional frameworks. Her work increased equity of all types throughout the myriad ways in which a foundation stewards over $155m dollars in assets for the benefit of Tucson and the Arizona border communities. Claudia also founded the Latino Community Fund, the first initiative in Tucson and Southern Arizona to support Latino-led, Latino-serving nonprofits that create lasting change through social justice and racial equity. This work culminated in her appointment as the first Latina and youngest Chairperson of the Board in the foundation’s history.
As a long-time strategy advisor and implementer with more than 20 social sector organizations, Claudia developed and implemented structural and procedural improvement processes to professionalize nonprofit services. Her client organizations - spanning faith-based, Black, Latino, Tribal, philanthropic, civic, and gender-driven priorities - represent Claudia’s inclusive philosophy, and her consistent drive to harness the power of the nonprofit sector in efficient and professional ways.
Claudia is an advocate for Latino justice, grounding this work in shifting the narrative paradigm. Building on the work of previous social justice movements, she collaborates with policymakers as a representative of the Latino community on areas of police reform, border policy, health reform, and other issues of acute import. She believes strongly in using her seat at these tables to promote change and compromise, while remaining true to her cultural loyalty and beliefs.Claudia is a featured speaker on topics of leadership and philanthropy in Arizona, nationally in the U.S., and transnationally. She is the recipient of Hispanics in Philanthropy's HIP Giver Award, the Outstanding Community Service Award from the US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation and the League of United Latin American Citizens, and was named one of the 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 in Arizona. Her professional associations include ongoing engagement with the US federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Hispanic and Latino Prevention Technology Center, the University of Arizona, the New York University School of Law, and the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith, and Families. She has studied at Baylor University and Harvard University, focusing on the deep history and transformations of the Aztecs, and human migration in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands.