UpTogether is an antiracist change organization that trusts and invests in low-income families, allowing them to move themselves out of poverty. Under Jesús’ leadership, UpTogether has quadrupled its revenue, doubled in staff, and expanded its work to all 50 states through the adoption of its strength-based approach and technology platform, UpTogether Community. Prior to joining UpTogether, Jesús worked for the Hyde Square Task Force, where he worked on the Youth First project that helped lay the groundwork for a proposed $250 million urban development project. The Schwab Foundation named Jesús as a 2020 Social Innovator of the Year for leading UpTogether’s work supporting tens of thousands of families across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Jesús was included in Care 100’s most influential people in care. A native of Puerto Rico, Jesús is the youngest of three children born to parents who were just nineteen years old when they married. At the age of nine, Jesús moved with his mother and siblings to Amherst, Massachusetts. This community was full of resources, lifting up opportunities for Jesús’ family to achieve their goals. This life experience has shaped Jesús, fueling his desire to eliminate place, race, or economic position as the marker for individual and collective success.
We do not need to help people more; we need to hinder them less. Poverty is not caused by personal failures. It’s rooted in system choices, nurtured by institutional racism, that disinvest and fragment communities. Our people and communities are the solution, let’s invest in them.