Maria brings over 20 years of experience jump starting and running new organizations, leadership development, and income generating programs in the US and Latin America. She has worked with a wide range of organizations — from community-based groups and social businesses to international organizations and private foundations. Maria is passionate about improving the lives of immigrant communities in the U.S. Prior to her work with Prospera she was the Executive Director of Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action (PILA), where she oversaw civic engagement programs for community based organizations in the Bay Area. She is one of the founders of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote California Collaborative (MIV); and served on the first board of directors for Mujeres Unidas y Activas. Maria grew up in Mexico and the U.S. and is bicultural and multilingual. She received her M.A. in Intercultural Communication Studies from San Francisco State University. She is also an experienced coach and facilitator, a mosaic and collage artist, and a proud mother of Sofia and Paloma, two young adult women currently enrolled in college in San Francisco and New York respectively.
Community Education Director
Claudia is Prospera’s Community Education Director, responsible for all of the organization’s leadership and cooperative development programs. She brings her passion for social justice to her role. She has been an active leader in immigrant rights, gender and violence prevention, gay and queer rights, and health promotion for underserved communities for over 15 years. Using Popular Education, video editing, and culture, she has served the community by creating plays to denounce and prevent social and health problems. In 2010 she founded the Latino Coalition against domestic and gender violence, La Red Latina that brought together more than 35 organizations that serve, protect and empower Latina women in the Bay Area. Claudia is also the founder of new cooperative enterprise, Nipaki. As an immigrant woman, Claudia has faced the same kind of challenges experienced by many of the entrepreneurs in Prospera’s programs. With a BA in Communications from el Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America, she worked for almost 10 years in the food industry as a waitress. She recognizes that the immigrant community has a lot of challenges to face but at the same time, she also highlights its strength, power, wisdom, spirit and honesty! Hence, becoming a community worker has not been a choice but a need to demand equality and dignity in oppressed communities. Claudia belongs to the Theater Troupe: Social Irruption Theater… Una Piedra en el Zapato. She is active in immigrant rights, loves traveling—has backpacked around the world—and has a beautiful four year old son named Emiliano.
Finance and Operations Director
Brenda is the Finance and Operations Director at Prospera. She has several years of administrative, executive and operations experience working with nonprofits in the Bay Area. Prior to joining Prospera, Brenda was the Office Manager/Executive Administrator at Pivot Learning, a nonprofit organization that works closely with district leaders and school administrators throughout California. Prior to Pivot, she was the Operations Coordinator at The Education Trust – West a non-profit policy and research organization.
Brenda was also the Administrative Secretary for a cooperative charter High School in Richmond. It is here that she was first introduced to coopertivism while working directly with Latino immigrant families. She supported parents and students’ past barriers by helping them understand their rights and educational possibilities. Through her work and commitment to students and families, she gained not only lifelong friendships but also witnessed first-generation Latino students apply and attend college.
As a Bay Area native and daughter of immigrant parents, Brenda pulls from her family experiences in an effort to help her community. Brenda is the proud mother of three wonderful children, Miguel, Marcelo and Mireya, who are all pursuing their passions and careers. She enjoys playing board games, gardening, cooking and exploring all the wonderful eateries the Bay Area has to offer, with her husband, Michael.
Marketing and Development Manager
Maite Gascó recently joined the Prospera team in January 2018. Maite holds degrees in Advertising, Public Relations, and Marketing. Her international experience at Vicente Ferrer Foundation, and her freelance and volunteer work for organizations like KIVA, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Arrels Foundation, Esperanzah Foundation have provided her with a solid background in fundraising for the third sector. Continue reading »