Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr.

Recognized as a national leader of Hispanic concerns and community development, the Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr. founded Esperanza (formerly known as Nueva Esperanza, Inc. and Esperanza USA) in 1987. The inspiration for Esperanza grew out of the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, also founded by Rev. Cortés in 1982. He is board member and founder of United Bank; the first African American owned commercial bank in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Rev. Cortés was honored with two doctorates in divinity, has a master’s degree in divinity, and a master’s degree in economic development from Southern New Hampshire University. Rev. Cortés is the author of several books and has won numerous awards and honors, among them being featured as one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals” in January 2005.

Reverend Danny Cortés
Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff

Throughout his tenure at Esperanza, Rev. Danny Cortés managed National Programs and was the chief administrative officer at the Esperanza Academy Charter High School. Currently he oversees executive staff and designs and implements new programs. Previously, as program officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts for 10 years, he was instrumental in enhancing and refining the Trust’s religion grant making efforts in community ministry, Hispanic ministry, and urban ministry education and training. Rev. Cortés has also served as pastor of the First Spanish Baptist Church of Philadelphia. He holds a master’s degree in divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Eastern University.


Arthur Haywood
Executive Vice President and Legal Counsel

Mr. Haywood oversees the Housing and Economic Development Department of Esperanza. During his 20-year legal career, he worked with Regional Housing Legal Services and Community Legal Services, as well as representing numerous nonprofit organizations in their community development endeavors. Mr. Haywood received a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College.

Walter Kunz
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

As the chief financial officer, Mr. Kunz is responsible for all fiscal matters relating to the NEI corporation, including its national subsidiary Esperanza USA, charter school, and housing and economic development corporation, including budget preparation, accounting, cash management, reporting, grant compliance, internal controls and oversight of the Finance Department and external financial audit. Mr. Kunz brings over 24 years of financial accounting experience with multi- million-dollar nonprofits including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, New Jersey and the Northern Home for Children in Philadelphia. He has extensive skill in overseeing preparation of city, state and federal contract compliance reports and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University

David W. Rossi
Senior Vice President of Esperanza and CEO of Esperanza Academy Charter High School

As the CEO for Esperanza Academy Charter High School, Mr. Rossi oversees all aspects of the high school’s operation, including instruction and curriculum. Prior to coming to the academy in 2003 as director of operations, Mr. Rossi was the principal at Calvary Christian Academy Junior and Senior High School. He has also served as a teacher, middle school director, athletic director and coach before transitioning fully into educational administration. He earned his master’s degree in biblical studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and his bachelor’s degree in Bible and secondary education from Philadelphia Biblical University.

Reverend Dr. Emilio Marrero
Vice President of National Programs

Dr. Marrero comes to Esperanza after serving 32 years in the military as a Navy Chaplain. He attained the rank of Captain and was awarded three Legion of Merit medals and the Bronze Star Medal for his service and leadership. Emilio served with the US Marines in combat, the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command forces and most recently was the senior chaplain over seeing all chaplains on Navy ships from California to Africa. He comes with extensive experience having served as pastor of La Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de New Brunswick, NJ, was co-founder of the Juniper Tree Academy Charter School in Yuma, Arizona and lead agent in community outreach programs overseas. Most recently he partnered the Navy with the San Ysidro, CA school district to provide mentoring and tutoring programs. Dr. Marrero holds a Doctor of Ministry in Religious Education from the School of Theology at Claremont and a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Reverend Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier
Vice President of Education & Dean of Esperanza College

As Dean of the college, Dr. Conde-Frazier is responsible for setting the vision, the strategic direction, and providing leadership and management for the programs and faculty. Previously, she was professor of religious education at the Claremont School of Theology and taught Hispanic/Latino/a theology at the Latin American Bible Institute, in California. As professor, she mentored Latino/a students and wrote in the areas of multicultural education, Latina feminist theology, the spirituality of the scholar and issues of justice as they relate to education. As founder of the Orlando E. Costas Hispanic and Latin American Ministries Program at Andover Newton Theological School, she also developed programs for the development of ministers and lay leaders including youth. She has over ten years experience as an ordained pastor and has been a bilingual teacher.