Story of Change
The ChangeMaker Foundation was founded in 2018 as a non-profit organization aiming to develop leaders who act as agents of change by transforming their skills in planning and executing social entrepreneurship projects. The ChangeMaker Foundation is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt entity governed by a 5 member board of trustees and based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our vision is to create vibrant ecosystems of non-profit organizations through leading pivots in innovation and social change. The foundation's mission is to develop change agents with project management and technology skills for the success of their goals.
The foundation emerges after identifying social leadership problems. In the absence of professional education for innovative leaders, the founder seeks to create a space to develop leadership skills in people who are part of the ecosystem of non-profit organizations. Hurricane Maria impacted Puerto Rico and revealed major problems, and in its aftermath these problems flared up. Community based non-profit organizations assumed an unprecedented leading role in relief and recovery efforts. The Foundation addresses a gap in the nonprofit ecosystem. It seeks to develop the best possible leadership who in turn is in charge of providing professional education for their teams in three core focus areas: a health culture based on diversity, inclusion, equity ; a data culture; and knowledge and action to maximize social entrepreneurship. The foundation's flagship project is the Pivot-ES podcast. This podcast propels the success of nonprofits and provides access to experienced leaders in innovation and solutions for sustainable development.
We promote leadership and innovation through changemakers in nonprofits, social enterprises and corporate social responsibility programs.
Develop change agents with leadership skills in management and technology for the success of their projects.
Create vibrant ecosystems of non-profit organizations through leading change agents in innovation and social change.
Diversity and inclusion: these mean respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion. But it is more than this. We all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles, and cultures.
Collaboration is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in an intersection of common goals–for example, an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature-—by sharing knowledge, learning, and building consensus.
Innovation refers to creating more effective processes, products, and ideas. For a business, it could mean implementing new ideas, improving services, or creating dynamic products. By innovation, we mean changing your business model and making changes in the existing environment to deliver better products or services.
Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well and successfully,
Integrity means following your moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching you. Having integrity means you are true to yourself and would do nothing that demeans or dishonors you.
Board of Directors
Mariely Rivera Hernández
Executive Director & Founder
A prominent change-maker and public policy influencer, experienced in developing and leading local non-profits as well as higher-education institutions and a local publication. She adds value to our clients through innovation, leadership and strategic planning as well as her extensive experience in Federal Grants Management and her successful track record for the past 19 years.
She has developed innovative learning and leadership projects in the areas of education, social services, and health as former executive director for the Chana and Samuel Levis Foundation and Sapientis. Rivera-Hernández spearheaded projects and programs sponsored by a diverse array of funding sources, including federal and local government, foundations, corporations, and individual donors. Her leadership has been instrumental for local recovery efforts and social impact projects, especially after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. An active leader within the community with a strong network and solid reputation. Rivera-Hernandez continuous search for excellence and innovation motivated her to complete professional certifications in Design Thinking Consulting and Social Media Coaching which translates into a competitive edge for your organization.
Mariely is an active fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leaders national program. The program fosters collaboration between people from all fields and professions that have an influence on people’s health to build just and thriving communities.
She has more than 18 years of experience in the development and execution of programs for rising entrepreneurs. Her experience includes identifying business opportunities and developing business and marketing plans for various industries and nonprofit organizations. She has extensive knowledge of SME development models from Canada, Colombia, Spain and the United States. She was awarded a scholarship by the Guayacán Group to attend the Babson Entrepreneurship Fellowship program where she traveled to study new business models.
Nerma is a professor at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (USC). She is part of the advisory board of Echar Pa 'Lante and Colmena 66, which are both multisectoral economic development efforts. She designed the pre-acceleration program of Startup.pr, the Boys' and Girls Club entrepreneurship pillar and Startup Experience for young people. She is an I-Corps instructor and the only certified facilitator in Puerto Rico for Startup Weekends.
Nerma holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, a master's degree in Nonprofit Organization Administration from USC and a Certificate in Communication Management from the European Forum in Spain. In 2015 she was recognized as Mentor of the Year at the H3 Conference, she is a Cordes Foundation Fellow, an Aspen Institute Fellow and was recognized as one of Puerto Rico’s pillars of Entrepreneurship in 2018. She is the founder of the Center for Entrepreneurs and 100 Ventures.
Mr. Ernesto Villarini-Baquero is Vice President of the Community Venture Capital Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to economic development through access to private capital markets. Ernesto’s previous experience includes work as an investment advisor and business consultant specializing in strategic planning, financing and development of social enterprises and entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations. He has 20 years of executive and managerial experience. Villarini-Baquero holds bachelor’s degree in science and science education from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, a master’s in business administration from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and is completing a doctoral degree in business administration at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus.
Villarini-Baquero is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Puerto Rico Model Forest Trust, Vice-President of the Board of the Association for Financial Professionals – Puerto Rico Chapter, and a Member of the Financing Committee of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation’s Community Investment Fund. Villarini-Baquero is an Entrepreneurship Education Fellow of Babson College and a member of the editorial board of PRAXIS: The University of Puerto Rico’s Business Administration Journal. He has presented both professional and academic work at various international conferences in San Juan, Stockholm, Santo Domingo, New York, Miami, Boston, and Washington, D.C.
Wanda I. Casanova Nicolao
Professional with 28 years of experience in the insurance industry. She is the CEO and President of W. Casanova Insurance, LLC, the firm she founded to offer multiple insurance solutions for her clients. Wanda served in various positions for 22 years at La Cruz Azul De P.R., achieving the position of Client Manager, which allowed her to lead multiple projects that benefitted clients, employees, and associates. She has collaborated in community work, chairing the Board of Directors of her Homeowner’s Association for 10 years, bringing about positive changes in her neighborhood.
Wanda Casanova has life, health, disability, property, and contingency insurance licenses. She is certified as a financial advisor by FINCERT with a Certification in Consultant in Credit Restoration from Ana G. Méndez University. She also earned a Conflict Mediator Certification to help resolve disputes between parties amicably. She is passionate about helping and guiding her clients so they can achieve their financial goals with a protective foundation.
Brenda D. González-Roldós, JD
A highly motivated executive with over 20 years of experience leading high-performing teams composed of lawyers and accountants in the evaluation, analysis, and compliance of laws regarding public administration to promote ethical conduct within government institutions by designing and implementing thorough public policy.
González-Roldós exerts legal practice as lawyer and notary in the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico as a current member of Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas de Puerto Rico (Bar Association of Puerto Rico).
Possesses excellent communications skills, management of human resources and particularly adept at working in specialized teams, where high standards of commitment and work ethic led to the achievement of institutional goals. González-Roldós received her BA in Liberal Arts, Political Science at University of Puerto Rico in its Río Piedras Campus as well as a JD degree from their School of Law. Her solid academic background lead her to attain vast knowledge regarding Puerto Rico’s legal system and its application according to the social purpose that the law contains.