President & CEO
Lupe Rivera is an intentional service-minded leader with an authentic passion and commitment to advocate for diverse, equitable, and inclusive service platforms that guarantee access, opportunity, and advancement for all while striving to identify and eliminate barriers. Having worked in the nonprofit sector for over two decades, Lupe specializes in capacity building with extensive knowledge in program development/evaluation, staff and board development, fundraising, financial administration, organizational leadership, and strategic planning. Lupe has a long history of advocating for social justice, equity, women’s and children’s rights, and education.
Lupe began her career in the nonprofit sector as a founding staff member of the First Day Coalition – a transitional homeless shelter serving men and women in the greater Los Angeles County area. Lupe simultaneously worked as a Case Manager and Grants Manager/Executive Associate, building a foundation for long-term impact and sustainability. She then transitioned to Branch Director for the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, where she spearheaded in leading service led programing to over 300 families through initiatives focused on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
Later, Lupe served as Program and Operations Director/Interim Executive Director for Kids In Sports, located in South Los Angeles. There she provided critical leadership in daily operations, ensuring service delivery to over 8,000 children a year through 500 volunteers with after-school sports programming. Rivera was later recruited by the Boys & Girls Club to serve as Vice President to lead and support the merger of clubs and build an infrastructure that would meet the community’s evolving needs and ensure long-term sustainability.
As Lupe’s career continued to unfold, she went on to serve as Executive Director for the South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency (SHARA), who serves survivors of all forms of abuse within the South Asian community through culturally sensitive and linguistically specific services. She spearheaded the organizational shift from founder/volunteer-led to an operational/governance organization. During her tenure, she developed effective partnerships, collaborations, and strategic alliances with government agencies, foundations, corporations, and service partners to increase SAHARA’s impact, visibility, and financial sustainability. Simultaneously, Rivera was recruited by the Department of Justice – Office of Violence Against Women in Washington D.C. to serve as a Federal Grants Peer Reviewer to advocate and support the distribution of 6.2 million in service contracts for nonprofits throughout the United States.
Most recently, Lupe served as CEO and Executive Director for the Center for Restorative Justice Works – a nonprofit focused on advocating, educating, and demonstrating the critical need to heal, re-weave, and re-connect the primary relationship between a child and their incarcerated parent (s). She spearheaded statewide programming that served over 1500 children and families a year. Through her dedication and advocacy efforts and partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Lupe gained a 1.3 million contract to ensure gender-based programming across California, serving the most underserved female institutions.
Lupe received the County of Los Angeles Commendation Award from Supervisor Don Knabe in the Fourth District in recognition of her dedication and service to the community’s affairs and for the civic pride demonstrated by numerous contributions for the benefit of all the citizens of Los Angeles County. Additionally, Lupe was chosen by fellow peers and professors to receive the Whitehead Leadership Award for academic excellence from the University of Redlands – School of Business. She is also a long-standing member of the Los Angeles County’s Domestic Violence Council and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
Lupe holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University; she is recognized as a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, currently the only national nonprofit credential. Furthermore, Lupe seeks to pursue her Ed.D. in Organizational Innovation.