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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Marisa Calderon: Illuminating the Path Forward for Prosperity Now's Mission

Photo: Courtesy of Prosperity Now

In a pivotal moment in the fight for economic equity, Prosperity Now, the nation's leading institution in advancing racial and ethnic economic equity, has chosen Marisa Calderon as its new President and CEO. Taking the helm on January 2, 2024, Calderon brings with her a wealth of experience, unwavering commitment, and a passion for creating a just economy where opportunities are accessible to all. With a track record that speaks volumes, Marisa Calderon is poised to lead Prosperity Now to new heights and navigate the organization through its 45th anniversary with a vision of hope and change.

Marisa Calderon's career trajectory reads like a roadmap to success in the housing and financial services industries. Her reputation as an experienced executive, tirelessly working to bridge the economic divide, extends far and wide. Before her appointment at Prosperity Now, Calderon served as the Executive Director at the NCRC Community Development Fund (NCRC CDF) and as the Chief of Community Finance and Mobility at the NCRC CDF's parent company, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC).

Calderon's leadership at NCRC CDF did not go unnoticed. In 2022, Fast Company recognized the organization on its list of the World's Most Innovative Companies, citing their rapid and responsible deployment of millions of dollars of capital to underserved entrepreneurs. Her ability to drive change and create opportunities was instrumental in achieving this recognition.

Victor Reinoso, the board chair of Prosperity Now, expressed confidence in Marisa's leadership, saying, "Marisa was selected after an extensive nationwide search for a leader with the commitment, experience, and passion needed to advance Prosperity Now's mission. Throughout her career, Marisa has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to lead the way in creating opportunities to build a just economy with opportunities for all."

Calderon assumes her role at a critical juncture in American history. The glaring wealth gap and systemic inequality are challenging the very fabric of our society. As she aptly puts it, "We need meaningful systems change or the growing wealth gap will irreparably harm the American people and our overall economy. I stand ready with the organization's exceptional board, talented staff, and community from the field to bring forth solutions for a prosperous tomorrow for all communities."

Dr. Cherie Collins Sims, who served as interim head since June 2023, believes that Marisa Calderon is the perfect choice to guide Prosperity Now through these turbulent times. Sims, who will continue to serve as Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Prosperity Now, said, "As our nation faces unprecedented challenges, I have every confidence that Marisa will skillfully guide Prosperity Now to new heights, ensuring its vital role in fostering prosperity for all."

Marisa Calderon's remarkable career spans over two decades, encompassing both the private and non-profit sectors focused on economic development and equity. At NCRC, her primary focus was on advancing economic mobility for communities impacted by systemic inequality and disinvestment. Under her leadership, NCRC CDF made a tangible difference in 20 cities across the nation, developing affordable homeownership inventory and deploying a staggering $175 million in pandemic relief funding in Illinois alone.

Before her tenure at NCRC, Calderon spent nearly a decade as the Executive Director of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the largest minority and real estate trade association in the country. Her journey also included roles in the financial services industry, most notably at Citi, and even a run as a congressional candidate, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to public service.

Marisa Calderon's dedication and excellence have been consistently acknowledged. In 2023, Women We Admire recognized her as one of the Top 50 Women in Finance. The New Jersey Community Action honored her as a Distinguished Honoree in 2023 for her exemplary work in housing and community development projects that foster economic mobility and bridge the racial wealth gap in underserved communities.

Twice ranked on the Swanepoel Power 200, she is celebrated as one of the most powerful leaders in the residential real estate industry. HousingWire named her Woman of Influence in 2018 and 2021 for her pivotal role in increasing understanding and appreciation of the Latinx home-buying market among real estate and mortgage professionals.

In 2021, Diversity Journal included Marisa Calderon on their list of Women Worth Watching in Leadership, and she was featured in a volume of Hispanic Stars Rising: The New Face of Power. As a native Spanish speaker and the granddaughter of Braceros, she brings a unique perspective to her work, enriching the diverse tapestry of voices advocating for economic equity.

Marisa Calderon's journey began with a BA in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley, and today, she serves on several boards and board committees, including Working Solutions, Alinement Initiative, and Champions Funding. Her commitment to advancing economic equity and her ability to create meaningful change has made her a beacon of hope for marginalized communities across the nation.

As we stand at the crossroads of history, Marisa Calderon's appointment as President and CEO of Prosperity Now signifies a turning point in the quest for a more just and equitable economy. Her unwavering dedication, unparalleled experience, and inspiring vision offer a glimmer of hope in the face of mounting economic challenges. With her at the helm, Prosperity Now is poised to continue its vital mission, of empowering communities and fostering prosperity for all. In her own words, "We are at a critical moment in our nation's history, and I stand ready to bring forth solutions for a prosperous tomorrow for all communities." The future indeed looks brighter with Marisa Calderon leading the way.


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