Member Profiles

SELA Collaborative Partners:

  • Nadia Diaz Funn, Alliance for a Better Community
  • Al Rios, East Los Angeles College Higher Education
  • mark! Lopez, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
  • Oscar Cruz, Families In Schools
  • Roberto Roque, First 5 LA
  • Joe Martinez, Hub Cities
  • Leticia Chacon, Human Services Association
  • Raquel Beltran, Pat Brown Institute, California State University, Los Angeles
  • Cesar Zaldivar-Motts, Southeast Community Development Corporation
  • Pat Renteria, Southeast Rio Vista YMCA
  • Victor Dominguez, YMCA Metropolitan Los Angeles


For more information about the SELA Collaborative please contact:

Oscar Cruz, President & CEO, Families in Schools – 213-201-3912




The mission of the Alliance for a Better Community (ABC) is to promote the economic prosperity of the Latino community and the Los Angeles region, inclusive of an improved quality of life for Latinos in education, health, and civic participation. For over 15 years, ABC has been at the forefront of regional movements promoting system reform and public policies to close the achievement gap for Latino students, deepen civic engagement and empower communities to effectively address systemic health, economic and educational barriers.

ABC’s success is rooted in its three-pronged approach that includes:

  • Convening civic leaders to discuss the most pressing issues facing the Los Angeles Latino community
  • Exploring solutions through research and the development of public policy, and
  • Building the leadership capacity of families and students to affect change in their local communities.


Since 2000, our efforts have resulted in a number of critical gains for the Los Angeles Latino community including the creation of the nation’s largest school construction program that yielded over 120 new public school campuses throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD); the adoption of the LAUSD A-G policy that ensured all high school graduates would be eligible for post-secondary education in California; and the publication of the first ever Latino Scorecard: Grading the American Dream which assessed and graded five areas of quality of life for Latinos throughout Los Angeles County.

Nadia Diaz Funn, Executive Director


Telephone:  213-201-1121










East Los Angeles College empowers students to achieve their educational goals, to expand their individual potential, and to successfully pursue their aspirations for a better future for themselves, their community and the world.

GOAL 1:  Increasing student success and academic excellence through student–centered instruction, student-centered support services, and dynamic technologies.

GOAL 2:  Increasing equity in successful outcomes by analyzing gaps in student achievement and using this to identify and implement effective models and programming to remedy these gaps.

GOAL 3:  Sustaining community-centered access, participation, and preparation that improves the college’s presence in the community, maximizes access to higher education, and provides outlets for artistic, civic, cultural, scientific and social expression as well as environmental awareness.

GOAL 4:  Ensuring institutional effectiveness and accountability through data-driven decision-making as well as evaluation and improvement of all college programs and governance structures.

In collaboration with the District’s Mission, ELAC is committed to the advancement of student learning and student achievement that prepares students to transfer, successfully complete workforce development programs, earn associate degrees, and pursue opportunities for lifelong learning and civic engagement.

Al Rios, Dean of Academic Affairs

Over the years Al Rios has always been in the business of helping others first. Known to many as the Dean of the South Gate Educational Center, Rios also has a background in politics and working for non-profit organizations throughout the community.

Rios, like many of the students he helps now, was once a student at East Los Angeles College. While growing up in Boyle Heights he earned an Associate’s degree in Sociology before transferring to the University of Southern California where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.



Issue Areas: Higher education










East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ) is an environmental health and justice non-profit organization working towards a safe and healthy environment for communities that are disproportionately suffering the negative impacts of industrial pollution.


EYCEJ recognizes and promotes full and authentic community participation in making policies that affect them directly, promoting the implementation of Environmental Justice guidelines for local, state, and federal governments and agencies as well as industry. EYCEJ promotes direct democratic decision-making and taking collective action for safe and healthy communities where we live, work, learn and play.

mark! Lopez, Executive Director

mark! Lopez comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist. He has engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies and taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge, and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chicanx Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Master’s thesis titled, “The Fire: Decolonizing “Environmental Justice.” mark! joined East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice as a member three years before joining the staff. After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! is now the Executive Director. He organizes in the area where he was born, raised and continues to live.


Telephone:  323.263.2113

Issue Areas:  Environmental Justice; Civic Engagement; Democratizing Planning; Community Centered Development; Intergenerational Grassroots Leadership Development; Community-Based Research; Youth Development; Exide; I-710 Corridor; Community Alternative 7; Lower Los Angeles River; Green Zones; Complete Streets; Active Transportation; Railyards; Ports; Art; Bike Toxic Tour; Healthy Food Access/Community Gardening; East Los Angeles; Southeast Los Angeles; Long Beach.






FIS is celebrating its 16th year anniversary and remains committed to the vision of a public education system where students have all the opportunities and resources necessary to succeed in school and in life. FIS seeks a residency prepared for lifelong learning and active engagement in the civic life of our society.  Guided by vision, the mission of FIS is to involve parents and communities in their children’s education to achieve lifelong success. FIS targets its efforts on low-income, immigrant communities knowing full well that accessing a quality education is the gateway to the American Dream and a better life.  Its Theory of Change (rationale for our mission) is based on the conviction that families play a significant role in their children’s learning and that when schools authentically engage families, families get involved and student achievement increases. FIS believes that students are more likely to succeed when schools, families, and communities work together in partnership to maximize and support student learning. Its Theory of Action (rationale for our programmatic work) states that in order to truly develop an authentic partnership between schools and families, they both need to build their capacity to work together in support of student achievement and that schools must be held accountable for authentically engaging families. FIS is proud to be a minority-led and run organization, with more than 75% of the Board of Directors and staff coming from underrepresented communities and more than 50% of staff being the first of their families to graduate from college. As such, FIS is an institution that understands and reflects the communities it serves.

Oscar Cruz, President & CEO

Oscar Cruz is the President & CEO of Families In Schools (FIS). Prior to FIS, Cruz was program director for Community Partners, directing projects in community technology and civic engagement. He also served as senior program manager at the Center for Civic Education, where he managed an international network of civil society organizations, school districts, universities, and foundations working to implement civic engagement programs for students and youth throughout the United States and Latin America. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Latin America and served as an official international electoral observer in Mexico’s federal elections (2000 and 2006). He holds a Master of Arts degree in Latin American studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and Latin America studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Telephone:  213-201-3912







First 5 LA is a leading early childhood advocate working collaboratively across L.A. County. We were created in 1998 to invest L.A. County’s allocation of funds from California’s Proposition 10 tobacco tax. Since then, First 5 LA has invested more than $1.2 billion in efforts aimed at providing the best start for children from prenatal to age 5, and their families.


First 5 LA, in partnership with others, strengthen families, communities, and systems of services and supports so all children in Los Angeles County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life.


To ensure all children in L.A. County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life, First 5 LA 2015-2020 Strategic Plan focuses on the following four interlinked outcome areas.

Families: Increased family Protective Factors. Work with parents and caregivers so they have the skills, knowledge, and access to resources they need to support their child’s development

Communities: Increase community capacity to support and promote the safety, healthy development and well-being of children prenatal to age 5 and their families. Support a community ability to foster safe, healthy, and safe neighborhoods that enable children and their families to thrive.

Early Care and Education (ECE): Increase access to high-quality early care and education.

Health-Related Systems: Increase children’s access to quality screening, early intervention, and referral to services.  Promote the establishment of the Help Me Grow developmental screening systems throughout L.A. County.  Support the delivery of trauma-informed care by the health, mental health, and substance abuse organizations that serve children prenatal to age 5 and their families

Key Strategies:

Research and Development, Public Policy and Advocacy, Service Delivery System Improvement, Provider Training, Community Capacity Building, and Communications.

Roberto Roque, Program Officer

Mr. Roque is a Program Officer in the Best Start Communities Department at First 5 LA where he is responsible for advancing First 5 LA’s systems and policy change agenda through the development and management of strategy-aligned projects in the area of Communities. Mr. Roque holds an M.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles in Urban Planning and a BA in Political Science from the California State University at Los Angeles and has worked for almost 20 years with community-based organizations and public entities addressing issues affecting children and their families.


Telephone:  213-482-7536


Issue Areas: Early-Childhood






Founded in 1987, Hub Cities Consortium (HCC) serves a six-city area in Southeast Los Angeles County comprised of Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Maywood, and South Gate. Hub Cities’ mission is to provide high-quality employment assistance, job training, and workforce development services to local job seekers and businesses, with the goal of building a strong and vibrant economy within the region. While much of Hub Cities’ funding is derived from Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) resources provided by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the agency also seeks support from private and corporate sponsors to supplement services funded through public programs.

Hub Cities Career Center is a non-profit organization, incorporated in 2001. It was founded with the sole purpose of promoting and supporting the capacity and activities of Hub Cities Consortium.

Our target population includes, but is not limited to, low-income youth, adults and displaced workers that have one or more barriers to employment/post-secondary education.

Hub Cities’ mission is to advance the economic well-being of the region and develop a world-class workforce by providing universal access to information and resources for job seekers, businesses, and the community at large; by serving as the access point to workforce system services; by empowering job seekers to achieve self-sufficiency; and by working with the business community to meet their current and future needs.


Joe Martinez, Executive Director

Joe Martinez plans, develops, and implements business assistance, recruitment, and training strategies to support the growth of local businesses while simultaneously developing innovative employment and training services to create job opportunities for Southeast area residents. As the Executive Director for HUB Cities, he also negotiates contracts, coordinates programs, implements public relations, and develops and oversees budgets with effective service delivery to businesses, job-seekers, and the community for over 23 years.


Telephone:  323-586-4700

Issue Areas: Workforce development





Human Services Association (HSA) is a private nonprofit agency whose principal mission is to enhance the cultural, ethical, and well-being of underprivileged children, adults, senior citizens, and families.  HSA was founded in Bell Gardens in 1940 as an outreach effort of the Presbyterian Church USA when floods in the area highlighted the pre-existing and growing problems of poverty in Bell Gardens and surrounding Southeast Los Angeles County communities.  Today, HSA serves over 20,000 clients annually on a non-sectarian basis with a range of services that addresses the unique and shared needs of clients of all ages. Our vision is that families are safe, healthy, happy and thriving in their communities. Our mission is to provide families with compassionate and comprehensive care to promote wellness and build strong communities.  

“Pasitos” Early Childhood Education Department, provides high quality, comprehensive services to children and families from low-socioeconomic status, considered at high risk and most in need, who reside in South Gate, Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy and Huntington Park. “Pasitos” Early Childhood Education Department, and all of its early education programs (Head Start, Early Head Start and State Preschool), provide approximately 1,000 children and their families with high quality, evidenced-based education curriculum and instruction, highly nutritious meals, and ongoing supportive comprehensive services to ensure our children are safe, healthy, happy and thriving in their communities.

Family Services Department provides high quality, comprehensive social services to children and families who are at-risk for child abuse and/or violence.  Our focus is on prevention, intervention, treatment and community outreach.  Programs within our department aim to strengthen, preserve and empower families, build protective factors, and address underserved communities’ social service needs.

Senior/Community Services Department is focused on providing compassionate care to senior citizens and empowering information to families through direct programs and outreach. HSA’s senior and community services goal is to provide comprehensive and all-inclusive services to each client and region/City we serve.  Services for seniors help create independence and prevent institutionalization.

Leticia Chacon, Chief Executive Officer

Leticia D. Chacon is the Chief Executive Officer of Human Services Association (HSA).  She graduated from UCLA with a Master of Social Welfare in 1974 and received her License in Clinical Social Work in 1979, giving her 43 years of experience working in the field of social work and committed to ending multigenerational cycles of child abuse and family violence.

Leticia had served as Director of Social Services in the Los Angeles County Health Department, Maternity and Infant Project for ten years, serving high-risk pregnant women and their children in the East and Northeast Los Angeles cities while working diligently for years as a member of Trabajadores de la Raza.  For another 12 years she developed a private counseling business, targeting families, women, and children, in particular, referred from the Department of Children and Family Services in East Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley.  Additionally, Leticia was one of the founding members of the first bilingual hotline in Southern California to serve Latina sexual assault survivors.

As of June 1996, Leticia was appointed as Family Preservation Director after HSA was awarded a grant through the LAC Department of Children & Family Services to provide quality in-home counseling services designed to protect children by strengthening and preserving families whose children are at risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  The program promotes the physical, emotional, social, educational, and cultural growth of the children in a safe and caring home environment.  Leticia brought her expertise and knowledge implementing program procedures, hired and trained bilingual/bicultural, professional/paraprofessional staff in an effort to ensure that children were safe and families were achieving the goals set for them.  Over 525 clients were served during this period.


Telephone:  (562) 806-5400, extension 119


Issue Areas:  Early Childhood Education and Child Development, Childhood Obesity Prevention & Education, Child Protection and Family Preservation, Home Visitation for high risk pregnant women and family, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention, Parenting, Victims of Crime Advocacy and Supportive Services, Healthy Living Education, Home-delivered Meals, Senior Home-based Care, Prevention of senior premature institutionalization, Senior Care, Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Center, Rider Relief Transportation and an array of social resources.






The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA (Institute) is a nonpartisan, university-based institute that promotes civic and community engagement for inclusive and informed public policy. The Institute supports civic education and community dialogue as ways to create informed participation; develops applied research to bring the resources of the university to bear on community and civic problems; connects with and energizes the civic and community participation of the Next Generation, to inspire their hope for the future; acts as a convener and thought leader on civic and community issues and keeps the vision, the optimism, and the legacy of Pat Brown alive.


Raphael J. Sonenshein, Ph.D., Executive Director

Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein is the Executive Director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at CSU Los Angeles.  Previously, he was Chair of the Division of Politics, Administration, and Justice at CSU Fullerton.  He received his B.A. from Princeton and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale. He is the author of three books on Los Angeles politics and government.  Dr. Sonenshein served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles (Appointed) Charter Reform Commission. He served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Review Commission. He was Best Educator and Distinguished College Faculty Member at CSUF. He received a Wang Family Excellence Award. He was the first winner of the campus-wide Carol Barnes Award for Teaching Excellence and one of two co-winners of the Haynes Foundation Research Impact award.   He was the fall 2008 Fulbright Tocqueville Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Paris 8.


Raquel Beltran, Associate Director

Raquel Beltrán has served as associate director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs since September 2014.  A native of San Diego, Raquel Beltrán’s professional experience includes over 35 years of public administration, labor organizing, higher education, and non-profit management.  She is a graduate of the City of San Diego Management Academy; a former San Francisco Bay American Red Cross disaster preparedness specialist, and past –president of the Cal. State Dominguez Hills Alumni Association.  She is also a co-founder of the United Domestic Workers Union of America.  Raquel earned her Master’s degree in Business Administration from California State University Dominquez Hills, with Delta Mu Delta honors.  She completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, East Bay with a B.A. in Political Science.



Telephone:  323-343-3770


Issue Areas:  Community-based applied research, civic engagement, and civic education





City of Bell Technology Center provides a safe learning environment where both adults and youth can access computers. The Technology Center Computer Lab is open to the public Monday through Thursday. Children are also able to participate in free afterschool computer skills training classes which include an introduction to computer equipment and operation, word processing techniques, email correspondence and fundamental skills required for safe web access.

Cesar Zaldivar-Motts, Executive Director

Cesar currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors at Human Service Association.  He also serves on the Boards of the Southeast Rio Vista YMCA, Southeast Salvation Army, Rio Hondo Boys and Girls Club, and the Huntington Park Police Activity League. He graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City with a Masters of Public Administration and has 15 years of non-profit management experience.


Telephone: 323-585-4579


Issue Areas: Technology education; Bridging the technological gap






The Southeast Rio Vista YMCA opened at the Maywood Community Center on May 6, 2013.  The Y serves as a hub for community-centered activity throughout the year and engages thousands of children, adults, seniors and families each year from all areas of Southeast Los Angeles. In partnership with the City of Maywood, it is able to provide relevant and impactful programs to support largely under-resourced and low-income families throughout the service area.

The Y’s goal is to facilitate programs that support healthy living, “Cradle to Career success” and social responsibility.  The Y provides a large menu of programs which include:  recreation, nutrition, teen and adult fitness, after school clubs for youth and teens, early learning readiness programs, sports, water safety, swimming, diabetes prevention and senior wellness programs.

The Southeast Rio-Vista branch has been serving the neighborhoods of Maywood, Huntington Park, Vernon, Cudahy, Bell, Bell Gardens and Southgate since 1954. The Y currently serves over 8,000 participants per year.

Patricia Renteria, Executive Director

Patricia is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Southeast Rio Vista YMCA in Maywood, California. Previous to this assignment Patricia served the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles in the following capacities:  Executive Director of the Centinela Valley YMCA, Multi-Branch Executive Director of the Inglewood YMCA, and Sr. Regional Director responsible for 70 licensed child care facilities throughout LA County. Patricia has been serving the YMCA movement since 1984. Patricia served as a member of the YMCA of the USA Hispanic Latino Leadership Network Steering Committee from 2003-2010, Member of the Vernon-Rio Hondo Rotary Club and she is currently serving as the CFO/Board Member for MHDC Corporation. Patricia earned her AS Degree in Business and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Minor in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.


Telephone:  323-588-2256


Issue Areas: Youth development and healthy living programs



Our Strength Is in CommunityThe Y is a nonprofit like no other. That’s because, in 26 neighborhoods across the Los Angeles County, we have the presence and partnerships to not just promise, but deliver positive change.


  • The Y is community centered. For over 135 years, we’ve been listening and responding to our communities in Los Angeles.
  • The Y brings people together. We connect people of all ages and backgrounds to bridge the gaps in community needs.
  • The Y nurtures potential. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.
  • The Y has a local presence and global reach. We mobilize local communities to effect lasting, meaningful change.


Our Areas of Focus The Y is a cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living, and for social responsibility. That’s because a strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health, and our neighbors.

Opportunities for AllThe Y is for everyone. Our programs, services, and initiatives: enable kids to realize their potential, prepare teens for college, offer ways for families to have fun together, empower people to be healthier in spirit, mind and body, prepare people for employment, welcome and embrace newcomers and help foster a community-wide service ethic. And that’s just the beginning.


Victor Dominguez, Executive Vice President & Chief Mission Advancement Officer

Victor Dominguez is a native Californian born and raised in Whittier. While working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fullerton, Victor earned a B.S. degree in both Child & Adolescent Studies and Sociology from California State University, Fullerton. Victor is currently the Executive Vice President & Chief Mission Advancement Officer for the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles. Prior to this assignment, Victor was the Senior Vice President of Operation/Community Development for the YMCA. Prior to working for the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, Victor was the Executive Director for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach. Victor is a member of the White Memorial Medical Center Leadership Board, Chairman of the Governing Board of the East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital, Governing Board Member of Southern California Edison Federal Credit Union, Advisory Task Force Member for Metro, Member of the USC Keck School of Medicine Community Council and Commissioner of the City of Huntington Park Health and Education Commission.


Telephone:  323-229-2622


Issue Areas: Asset Building