After seven trailblazing years of leading the local nonprofit, Luz Corcuera has announced she will be stepping down as the executive director at the end of 2022.
(October 31, 2022) Luz Corcuera, the beloved executive director of UnidosNow, will be stepping down at the end of 2022 to devote her full attention to her family.
Kelly Kirschner, UnidosNow’s co-founder and current board chair, describes Corcuera as a transformational leader. “Luz has ushered in an era of remarkable growth for the organization,” he says. “It’s rare to find a leader with vision, integrity and the ability to inspire others. Leaders who combine all of these qualities, as Luz does, are unicorns. Luz poured her talent, love, and passion into UnidosNow and made a significant impact on the region. It is with good reason, as a result, that Luz has been recognized nationally for her work. She will be deeply missed by all of us, particularly by the families and students our organization serves.”
Corcuera has been a trailblazing force throughout her seven-year tenure at UnidosNow. She strengthened and expanded its educational programs designed to put predominantly low-income, first-generation Latinx students on a path to a post-secondary education. Corcuera’ s transformation of these programs has empowered more than 3,000 high school graduates to build a post-secondary path, securing over $14 million in scholarships and grants, the great bulk of dollars coming from outside the southwest Florida region to support these local students. Additionally, Corcuera expanded the reach of the organization, launching new intergenerational programs including the Future Leaders Academy for Girls (FLAG) for elementary students, Future Leaders Academy for Middle Schoolers (FLAM), and the Parenting Leadership program. During the pandemic, Corcuera led the organization in uncharted territory establishing key partnerships to provide critical emergency assistance, health education/vaccine and treatment access to hundreds of Hispanic families in the region.
Born in Peru, Corcuera moved to Canada where she worked as a family therapist before relocating to Manatee County in 2000 serving in several leadership roles before accepting the executive director position at UnidosNow in 2016. Corcuera has been honored with numerous awards for building strong relationships in the Manasota region with private, public, faith-based, and civic organizations to close the education achievement gap, reversing negative health trends, and empowering people to be active citizens. This year, Corcuera was appropriately recognized at a national level by the Bank of America as one of five Inaugural “Neighborhood Builders Racial Equality Champions” honored for their transformational work in communities around the United States. Beyond the recognition, the honor also led to the largest unrestricted gift to UnidosNow in the organization’s history – a fitting end to an amazing career.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to have joined the UnidosNow family,” says Corcuera. “I’m deeply grateful for a visionary board, a talented and passionate team, amazing community partners, and generous friends and donors who believe in our mission and life-transforming work. I have no doubt that UnidosNow will continue its success and impact in our region.” Corcuera adds that she and the UnidosNow board have worked for the past two years to develop a strong leadership team and a solid succession plan. The board has selected Cintia Elenstar as the new executive director to start in January 2023.
“Thanks to a board-led strategic transition plan, the transfer of leadership will be seamless,” she says. “Cintia shares our vision and passion and she will continue to work with the talented team that has been instrumental in UnidosNow success.
For the last 12 years, UnidosNow has supported our region’s growing Hispanic/Latino community through education, integration, and civic engagement. Visit UnidosNow.org for more information.
Founded in 2010, with a mission to elevate the quality of life of the growing Hispanic/Latino community through education, integration, and civic engagement, UnidosNow has established itself as a leader in the field of post-secondary education attainment. UnidosNow is empowering our leaders of tomorrow with its intergenerational programs from the Parent Leadership Program to the Future Leaders academies at elementary, middle, high schools, and college, to create cycles of opportunity through college and career readiness, leadership training, and community service. Visit UnidosNow.org.