As Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, Reverend Danny Cortés is responsible for the creation and implementation of new projects throughout the organization. Nationally, he has supervised projects focused on housing, youth mentoring, and capacity building and training initiatives. Rev. Cortés has been integral to securing, distributing and managing national grants totaling over $3 million in technical assistance and $25 million in capacity building, assisting faith and community-based organizations in 53 cities throughout the United States.
Recently, Rev. Cortés focus has shifted towards supporting and expanding Esperanza’s educational portfolio, which includes Esperanza Academy Charter Schools, AMLA music school, Workforce Development programs, and Esperanza Cyber Charter School. In 2012, Esperanza Academy’s charter expansion was approved to include a middle school, which opened in fall 2013. Esperanza Academy now hosts 1,450 students in grades 6-12. In the fall of 2017, Esperanza Academy expanded once more with the addition of elementary school. Esperanza’s Cyber Charter School serves over 250 students in grades K-12 via an online curriculum delivery platform. Additional projects include Esperanza’s Workforce Development program that continues to be a top performer in the city of Philadelphia, and Esperanza College of Eastern University, a two-year Associate’s degree awarding program located in the heart of North East Philadelphia.
Historically, Rev. Cortés has also played a key role in the oversight of Esperanza’s housing and community economic development initiatives, including Esperanza’s residential and commercial real estate development and neighborhood revitalization efforts. Rev. Cortés has helped shepherd projects such as the Clemente development, an $18M project to build 38 units of low-income rental housing and 6,000 sq ft of commercial space on the 5thSt business corridor; and the Amor development, a ~$3M project to build 8 units of low-income housing and commercial space. Esperanza’s operational portfolio has also included the purchase, rehab, and sale or rental of over 100 homes in the neighborhood during Rev. Cortés’s leadership tenure and the management of over 350,000 sq ft of commercial space on 9 acres.
Prior to joining Esperanza, Rev. Cortés served as a program officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts for 10 years. There he was instrumental in enhancing and refining Pew’s religion grant making efforts in Hispanic, community and urban ministry, education and training. During his tenure at the Trusts, Rev. Cortés was responsible for $40 million in grant funds. Rev. Cortés also served as pastor for five years at the First Spanish Baptist Church of Philadelphia.
Rev. Cortés serves on numerous boards and committees including the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Planning and Development’s Housing Advisory Board, Ceiba, the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB) and Eastern University. He holds a Master’s of Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern University. Rev. Cortés and his wife Ellen have two adult children and two grandchildren.