Empowering the Hispanic faith community around the country.

Over the past 15 years, Esperanza’s Faith and Capacity Initiatives has served the “least of these” by strengthening local churches, organizations, and individuals that are engaged in serving the Hispanic community. We come alongside church leadership and laity, contributing our skills and resources to help equip and strengthen them, posturing the Hispanic faith community for even greater success.  We also serve as a national intermediary providing sub-grant funds to help Hispanic nonprofits grow.

We do this through a diverse national network of Hispanic clergy, congregations, lay leaders, and nonprofits. Together we strengthen the Hispanic community throughout the United States with a particular focus on youth leadership development. We provide capacity building, mentoring, grassroots and degree level education, faith engagement, housing counseling, we develop relevant resources, and provide other opportunities as they arise.

Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity (HCPV)

HCPV is the founding organization of Esperanza. It is led by a Board of Directors who are local Pastors and Ministers with a desire and commitment to minister God’s love, hope, and faith to the Hispanic Community in the Delaware Valley and Vicinity.  The organization’s aim includes assisting and supporting its membership in ministry by stimulating ministerial communication, cooperation and fellowship, providing leadership, training, spiritual, and technical assistance as well as representation before government entities and other institutions both civil and private.

Esperanza Youth Leadership Institute (EYLI)

Esperanza Youth Leadership Institute (EYLI) inspires vision and provides educational opportunities and resources for those that work with Latino youth to reach, disciple and give voice to young people to become agents of transformation in urban communities. We are proud to have more than 70 graduates of this program who are creating change each day in their communities! Click here to access the main EYLI page.

Rev. Ruben Ortiz – Director of Faith & Capacity Initiatives

Rev. Rubén Ortiz has served in ministry for over 30 years. His professional emphasis has been in Leadership Development, Youth Ministry, Church Planting and Community Development. He is Executive Director of Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity and Director of National Programs at Esperanza. In this role, he oversees Esperanza’s national initiatives and the Esperanza Youth Leadership Institute, a grassroots and degree level program in partnership with Esperanza College of Eastern University. Rev. Ortiz planted Iglesia Del Barrio (IDB) and served as its Senior Pastor for 10 years. IDB was the first bi-lingual church in Philadelphia that was founded specifically to serve 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanics. He’s worked in prior roles with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, helping to design and implement AMACHI, a national mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents and Communities United to Empower Youth, a program to prevent gang activity, reduce youth violence, child abuse and neglect. Rev. Ortiz has a Master’s of Theological Studies from Palmer Theological Seminary. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and continues to minister there with his wife of 32 years. Together they have three children.

Anthony Ramos – Project Director

Anthony Ramos was raised in North Philadelphia and currently lives in Northwood, Pa. Anthony and his wife, Bridney, have been married for seven years and have four children, Zoryanie, Azariah, Jaazaniah, and Zion. Anthony Ramos is a product of Esperanza, graduating in December of 2011 as co-valedictorian of his graduating class in Esperanza College. Anthony Ramos has obtained his Bachelor of Social Work from Eastern University and holds a Master of Divinity from Missio Seminary (formerly Biblical Theological Seminary). Anthony Ramos, who has worked on Esperanza’s Faith and Capacity Initiatives for seven years, serves as Project Director and has helped the development, launch, and oversaw the Esperanza Youth Leadership Institute, Renovación Pastoral, and Thriving Congregations. Anthony oversaw youth mentoring programs in 7 cities across the country, oversaw and helped the implementation of Esperanza’s Bible engagement (Vive la Vida, Vive La Palabra) that engaged over 2,000 people in diverse Bible reading plans, and spearheaded the highly successful online #GoAndDo Campaign to encourage acts of kindness. Anthony Ramos is an Adjunct Professor teaching Faith, Reason, and Justice and Bible 100 to first year students at Esperanza College, and is a rapper and songwriter, who goes by “A-Ram” and utilizes his Hip Hop platform as a medium to communicate his faith and life experience. Anthony Ramos has had his music played in 116 countries and has amassed over 500,000 streams in the past 3 years. Serving at Esperanza, Inc. Anthony Ramos is able to see his faith come alongside his passion for serving his community.

Ivelisse Vazquez-Figueroa – Associate Project Director

Ivelisse Vazquez was born in Puerto Rico and has been a resident in the city of Philadelphia for over 16 years. Ivelisse has been married to Ramon, a wonderful and hard-working gentleman close to 6 years and they have a very busy home with four children: Carolay, Caleb. Josue and Rebecca. Ivelisse is passionate about Early and Special Needs education as well as preaching the Gospel.  She studied K3 at University of Puerto Rico and is currently pursuing her MA degree on Christian Counseling with Christian University Inc.  She serves as an Elder and Education Director at Iglesia Mahanaim International and also serves as a Chaplain for Crown of Justice Chaplaincy Ministry Corp. Ivelisse’s compassion is for the underserved community thus explains why she has served in a variety of community based and nonprofit organizations, that provides a voice to those who are voiceless.  She has served as a Youth Leader on a Regional level educating, supervising, and leading youth leaders among different churches. Ivelisse loves anything that has to do with learning and growth. She is a firm believer that when you stop learning you will stop growing. Her hobbies are reading, spending quality time with her family and visiting historical places around the world such as Rome, Venice. Toledo etc.

Jennifer Martinez – Administrative Manager

Jennifer Martinez, a native of North Philadelphia, currently resides in the Northeast with her husband Michael, whom she has been married to for six years. Since she started her walk with the Lord, Jennifer has been actively involved in various areas of ministry within her church, Iglesia Mahanaim International. However, her real passion lies in youth leadership development. She has been a youth mentor for four years and is now serving as a youth pastor and teacher, a role she has held for the last five years. Apart from her church work, Jennifer has been involved in other youth programs, including Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow, associated with Congreso de Latinos Unidos. In this program, she facilitated an average of 60 girls from different high schools. Her dedication to serving her community led her to enroll herself and her team in the Esperanza Youth Leadership Program, which they completed in September 2023.

Jennifer’s professional experience spans 12 years in administrative work, where she has honed her skills in making sense of things for others. She graduated from Manor College with an Associate Degree in Psychology and hopes to pursue further studies in the field. Outside of her work, Jennifer enjoys writing poetry, which she shares on her Instagram and YouTube page called His_Design_Speaks.