(Sacramento-October 2, 2023)—The Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP) has named its inaugural Executive Director, Luisa C. Ortega, Ed.D., a 1995 CLYLP alumna. Dr. Ortega will work to build a sustainable infrastructure for the organization, maximize resources for CA’s youth and lead programmatic development across the state, including the establishment of its fourth regional institute for high school students in the Inland Empire.

“I am excited we have Dr. Ortega joining CLYLP as its Executive Director. This has been a thoughtful and intentional journey for our Board of Directors. We look forward to working with Dr. Ortega to continue our mission of developing California’s Future Leaders. As an alumna herself, she personifies our corazón, mission and work,” said CLYLP President Leonard Sánchez. “Dr. Ortega is a dynamic leader with a track record of success in youth development and she will take CLYLP to the next level.”

CLYLP, a California nonprofit that builds the leadership capacity of youth to become the future leaders of our state and nation, recently received a historic one-million-dollar investment from the State of California. This has allowed the organization to hire full-time staff and expand its reach into the Inland Empire with a fifth leadership program. The board of directors led a rigorous and collaborative process engaging diverse stakeholders such as volunteers, community partners and funders to identify its next leader and are proud to announce the appointment of Luisa C. Ortega, Ed.D for this role.

“In summer 1995, my father drove me to join my first CLYLP trip,” recalls Ortega. “Neither of us knew what the experience entailed or what to expect. What ensued was transformative. My affiliation with CLYLP afforded me cultural wealth and a sense of empowerment that continues to drive and propel me. I am thrilled that I now can share that same motivation with emerging generations of Chicano leadership.”

Ortega brings a wealth of professional experience to CLYLP. As a baccalaureate intern, she served in organizations including Barbara Jordan Congressional Scholars and the National Latina Health Organization. From 2008 to 2012, following her graduate studies, she served as counselor and program manager at Social Advocates for Youth San Diego. There, she led three San Diego County contracts supporting the needs of young people, including previously incarcerated, foster, and minoritized youth, in addition to students enrolled in non-traditional educational spaces. From 2013 to 2016, Ortega served as the inaugural director of the Onward Scholars Program (OSP), an initiative of the Smet Foundation designed to support the collegiate aspirations of first-generation students and families. Her successes at OSP included the development of day-to-day operations, mentoring support, and programming. Due in part to her modeling, OSP has grown to six sites with more than 100 graduates, each the first in their family to attend college. The married mother of three earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley; master’s degree in education at San Diego State University; and a doctorate from the Rossier School of Education at The University of Southern California. Her published, original research examines educational best practices for Latino males in the Los Angeles area, including the examination of cultural capital and mentorship for matriculation.


About CLYLP: The Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, Inc. (CLYLP) was founded in 1982 with the primary purpose of preparing students to participate in California’s economic, social, and political development. CLYLP is guided by the overall theme “California’s Future Leaders,” and its programs emphasize the importance of culture, community, college, and careers.