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About Us

THE EL MONTE PROMISE FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization that unites the community’s efforts to create a seamless cradle-to-college pathway in the greater El Monte region. This locally-run effort unites parents, students, and community leaders from school districts, colleges, local governments, businesses, non-profits, and private foundations to actively coordinate systems and mobilize resources for the educational benefit of local students.

These efforts ensure that the community works together as a whole to increase the expectation that all students can attend and succeed in college.


Board Officers

Mr. Oscar Marquez  currently serves as the President of El Monte Promise Foundation. He is a retired administrator from El Monte City School District, where he spent sixteen years as the Director of Student Support Services. Mr. Marquez also spent eight years as an English teacher at South El Monte High School, and before then he was an elementary and middle school teacher in the El Rancho Unified School District for eleven years. He has served in the Executive Committee for El Monte Promise Foundation since its inception in 2012.

Dr. Ocegueda is the Vice President of Instruction for Coastline College and the former Dean of Academic Affairs for Pasadena City College.

Mr. Velasco is the Board Secretary of El Monte Promise Foundation and former City Council Member for City of El Monte. As a prominent actor, producer, and publicist, he is considered the “Information Voice” of Hollywood and Hispanics and is sought after as a speaker in the United States, Mexico, and Latin America. He is a successful actor who appears in both American and Mexican television and films. Mr. Velasco is involved with many local, national, and international non-profit organizations, such as the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, San Gabriel Civic Alliance, El Monte Women’s Club, and Greater El Monte Community Hospital. Mr. Velasco was raised in the city of Los Angeles and is a native of Jalisco, Mexico.

Ms. Garcia is a founding member of the El Monte Promise Foundation and an ardent believer in building better communities. Ms. Garcia currently serves as the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation for Los Angeles County. She is the first woman and first person of color to serve in that position since the founding of the department in 1944. 

She works to achieve her vision through her active participation in numerous civic and professional organizations. She serves on the Board of the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO), Baldwin Hills Conservancy, Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority (BHRCA) and the El Monte Promise Foundation. She served as a member of the Rio Hondo College Board of Trustees, the Chair of El Monte City Planning Commission and on the Board of the Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA), the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles River and Mountains Conservancy (RMC), the California Community Foundation’s Community Building Initiative, and on the Board of New Economics for Women.

Ms. Garcia was honored as the 49th Assembly District Latina of the Year for Community Involvement. She attended Citrus Community College, transferred and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Urban Planning. Ms. Garcia enjoys traveling, attending Dodger games and spending time with her growing family. Ms. Garcia is a life-long resident of the beautiful community of El Monte.

Mr. Seymour is a retired teacher and administrator of the El Monte City School District for 43 years, where he served as Superintendent for the last 25 years. He has also taught for the last 20 years at Cal Poly Pomona in the Administrative Masters Program. He is active both in the El Monte community and at Boys Republic in Chino Hills, where he has served on the Board for over 25 years. Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, he attended local schools and graduated from the University of Southern California.


Ms. Berg worked for many years in conjunction with the El Monte Promise Foundation from its infancy and formally joined the Board of Directors four years ago. She has been a longtime educator and advocate for higher education in the Greater El Monte Community since 1987. Ms. Berg holds a B.A. in Spanish Translation, a M.A. in School Counseling and a M.Ed. in School Leadership. She has lived abroad and attended school in both Argentina and Wales and has traveled throughout South America and Europe. Ms. Berg has deep ties to many students and families in the Greater El Monte area spanning her 34 years in education as a College and Career Counselor and advocate for all students to have the opportunity to attend college and succeed in their personal educational endeavors. She has served on the Cal-SOAP Board in the Los Angeles region for 25 years to support underprivileged youth to pursue their higher education goals. Ms. Berg is a staunch believer that it is important to be a community volunteer and “give back” to others. She has been a longtime volunteer with the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Programs with her own children in addition to being an active participant in civic activities.

Mr. Correa is a long-time parent advocate and is passionate about making the community better for all children. He is a founding member of the El Monte Promise Foundation and was a part of the El Monte Community Building Initiative. He helped to found Community Leaders for a Better El Monte and Soccer for Success. He is the owner of M-Co Electric. 

Mr. Diaz is passionate about empowering communities through access, education, and resources for the advancement of individuals and families. Actively involved with various local initiatives and collaboratives, Mr. Diaz is an advocate of education, mental health, and economic advancement. Focused on creating eco-systems of equality, Mr. Diaz directs his efforts to facilitating pathways that bridge socio-economic gaps and build generational wealth. Having led some of the most successful and complex banking operations nationally, Mr. Diaz brings our board over 20 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry. As one of JPMorgan Chase’s first Community Managers nationally, Mr. Diaz helped launch the firm’s Community and Business Development Division in California—a division committed to racial equity. As Chase’s Community Manager for the San Gabriel Valley area, he supports local government, non-profits, and mission-aligned organizations in their quest to uplift underserved communities through financial health education.

Ms. Gutierrez was born in Concordia, Sinaloa, Mexico and has lived in the City of El Monte for more than 30 years. Her education includes receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the Centro Universitario de Mazatlan. Ms.Gutierrez has worked as a volunteer with the Mexican American Legal Defense Educational Fund (MALDEF) to advocate for and promote education in our communities. Ms. Gutierrez, in cooperation with other members of her community, founded the Jeff Seymour Family Center in El Monte. She has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Bilingual Directors’ Association in 2011, and by the Golden Apple Awards in 2012 for her commitment as a parent to improve educational services in the El Monte School District. Ms. Gutierrez was a recipient of the award “Unsung Heroine, Woman of the Year 2014” by California State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez and Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, for her community work in the City of El Monte. Ms. Gutierrez has served on the El Monte Promise Foundation Board since 2014. Ms. Gutierrez is an avid reader and loves to travel.

Roberto Lopez-Mena is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Mountain View School District.

Dr. Morales is the Assistant Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer for Communication, Community and Student Engagement for the University of Southern California. Dr. Morales has over 15 years of experience in K-12, community college, and higher education, where she has developed wide-ranging expertise spanning recruitment and retention of students with non-traditional experiences, equity focused professional development for STEM faculty, and strategies to support higher education staff and students of color. In addition, Dr. Morales is an ardent believer in building well-planned, sustainable communities – communities that work in synergy to create safe and thriving communities focused on families and children. Since November 2015, Dr. Morales served her community, first as a Planning Commission, then as a Councilwoman for the City of El Monte. During this tenure, she was been able to move policy and ordinances – focused protect families and children related to affordable housing, infrastructure, and education collaborations among local stakeholders.

Bio Coming Soon

Tracy Moronatty is a parent advocate for her son and all the children of her community. Her experience directly involves high need communities within the El Monte and South El Monte region. She volunteers with the First 5 LA Community Partnership, and with the Parents as Leaders Support Group (PALS). She received the 2013 Women of Achievement award for her volunteer work with the El Monte Alliance to Keep Youth Tobacco Free. Ms. Moronatty attended Rio Hondo Community College and studied Chicano Studies. She is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in Communications, PR option. She is currently working as a Research Analyst at Special Service for Groups Research and Evaluation.

Ms. Perez has been active member of the El Monte and South El Monte communities for more than 20 years with different organizations that are working with different projects to improve the lives of children and their families. She believes working together in our communities will make a difference in the lives of our children. Ms. Perez hopes that her work with the El Monte Promise Foundation leads to all children having the opportunity to go to college for better opportunities in their lives.

Mr. Rausch is the Executive Director of the El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown El Monte Business Association. His focus is to reach out to the business community and provide the tools necessary to assist in their success. Before joining the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown El Monte Business Association in 2011, Mr. Rausch was owner and operator of Edward’s Steak House in El Monte and Chairman of the Board of the California Restaurant Association in 2004. Mr. Rausch earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Southern California.

Mr. Vu is an administrator for the El Monte Union High School District and he is on a mission to save the world.

Ms. Yang is the SVP, Head – Policy Governance Office at City National Bank. She brings in 10+ years of risk and governance experiences across the three lines of defense and holds CA, CPA, and CIA designations. Prior to joining City National, Ms. Yang spearheaded design and implementation of regional risk program strategies across Operational Risk, Enterprise Risk, and Credit Risk at Royal Bank of Canada’s Holding Company in New York. She is an active volunteer with City National’s Colleague Resource Groups. She graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada

advisory board

Jessica Ancona is a proud, lifelong resident of the City of El Monte and a daughter of hardworking immigrants from Mexico. She was born and raised in this great city of El Monte, and has dedicated her adult life to public service as an educator and elected official.

Ms. Ancona attended public schools in El Monte, and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UCLA, she has earned a Teaching Credential and Master’s in Education from Azusa Pacific University and an Administrative Services Credential from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Ms. Ancona is currently a high school assistant principal in the Lynwood Unified School District. Prior to becoming a school administrator she was a high school teacher for 10 years. During her tenure as a teacher, Jessica took on several additional leadership roles as the Foreign Language Department Chair, Cheer advisor for 4 years with over 40 students in her program and as a Varsity Softball coach.  For the past two decades, Jessica has been an advocate for our children, their education and quality of life.

In 2018, Ms. Ancona was elected to the El Monte City Council. In the last 2 years on the council, she has taken on the tobacco and vape industry protecting the youth of  this community.  Jessica also advocated for a joint use agreement with the school district, opening up more greenspace for recreational and passive uses for her community. She supports smart conscious development and welcomes progress that considers community first. Prior to being elected to the City Council, Ms. Ancona served as a Governing Board Member for El Monte City School District.

In 2013, Jessica Ancona was first elected to the El Monte City School District Governing Board, where she served as the President in 2016 and 2017 and Vice President in 2018. Jessica also served as a Delegate Assembly Member for the California School Board Association (CSBA) in 2017 and 2018 with 300 other members from throughout the State of California. She was elected to serve on CSBA by local school boards within Region 23. CSBA’s Delegate Assembly plays a critical role in bridging local districts, county offices, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Delegates ensure that the association reflects the interests of school districts and county offices of education throughout the state.

As an elected El Monte City School District Governing Board Member for five years, Ms. Ancona supported building state of the art facilities; re-implemented music programs for all students; opened the Jeff Seymour Family Center housing over 30 community service providers for our families; increased wages and improved healthcare benefits for the district’s workforce and maintained a fiscally sound budget. While Jessica was President of the school board, she advocated to establish a Project Labor Agreement with the Building Trades for the final project of a series of school and facility   improvements scheduled to begin late Winter of 2018. 

Dr. Andry is the Superintendent for the Mountain View School District. Dr. Andry been part of the MVSD team for 12 years, serving as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the past seven years and as principal of Kranz Intermediate School for five years. Prior to joining MVSD, he served as a teacher, Project Director and Assistant Principal in the Montebello Unified School District and as a teacher and instructional assistant in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Throughout his 25 plus years in education, Andry has held positions of high responsibility with vast experience working with both elementary and middle school students, staff and families. Dr. Andry has his  Doctoral Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Massachusetts Global. He earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University and his undergraduate degree in History from California State University, Northridge.

Dr. Maribel Garcia is the Superintendent of the El Monte City School District. She is a product of El Monte City Schools having attended Columbia School and graduated from El Monte High School. Armed with a passion for educating and empowering El Monte youth, Dr. Garcia embarked on her teaching career in 1998 at the very school she attended – Columbia School. Aiming to effect greater change on behalf of students, Dr. Garcia served as Assistant Principal of Rio Hondo School, and later, Columbia School. In 2008 she became principal at Columbia where she implemented systems that drastically improved the school’s standing. In 2013 she was appointed as Superintendent. Dr. Garcia attended UCLA and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership. She is an active member of the El Monte community, serving on boards and supports organizations that promote quality of life, access to resources, and equitable opportunities for El Monte students. Dr. Garcia enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her family and friends.

Ms. Griffiths is the Dean of Student Success for Rio Hondo Community College.

Dr. Zuniga is the Superintendent of the El Monte Union High School District. A longtime community resident, Dr. Zuniga attended elementary school in the Mountain View School District before his student days at El Monte High School. Dr. Zuniga began his career in education as a teacher and coach at El Monte High School. He then assumed Assistant Principal positions at South El Monte High School and Arroyo High School, and in 2007 was promoted to Principal at South El Monte High School. In 2012, he was named Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. In 2016, he was named Interim Superintendent until his appointment as Superintendent.

Dr. Zuniga resides in Arcadia, California. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and his Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Azusa Pacific University. He recently completed his Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Zuniga is very involved in the local community. He previously served on the Board of the El Monte City School District, is an active member of the Cal Poly Pomona Alumni Association, and is affiliated with several professional organizations, including the Association of California School Administrators.


Our work is not possible without the generous contributions from our supporters and funders. These individuals, organizations, foundations, and businesses help keep our work going.

OUR team




Launched the Roadmap to College to support college readiness at every grade level, distributing booklets to 13,000 PreK-8th grade students.


Awarded a $600,000 grant from the California Student Aid Commission to support College Savings Accounts.

Opened 500th Scholars Savings Account

Joined the Strive Together Network, a national organization focused on building cradle-to-career focused communities.

Distributed more than 3,000 books to students to support Summer reading.


EMPF adopts a three-year strategic plan with a focus on helping the community respond to and recover from the COVID 19 crisis while providing foundational support for the cradle-to-college pathway.

EMPF kicks off the Roadmap to College, a grade-based guide for students and families to prepare for college from PreK through 8th grade.


EMPF is one of nine programs in the state awarded the Every Kid Counts Grant from the State of California to support the work of the Scholar Savings Program.


The Scholar Savings Program is expanded to cover all three school districts and over 30 schools.

The El Monte Promise Foundation hosts the 1st Annual College and Career Conference with our partners.
EMPF partners with Abriendo Puertas to provide classes that support parents as a child’s first teacher, as agents of change, and as key players in creating positive outcomes for children.


EMPF commissions teachers to develop and pilot financial literacy curriculum for elementary students.

Building on the El Monte Pledge Compact, Rio Hondo College becomes the first Community College in LA County to offer 2-year free tuition.


EMPF produces its first Educational Scorecard, a document that highlights the progress of the Foundation in improving educational outcomes for El Monte students.


The United States White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics formally recognizes El Monte Promise Foundation as a Bright Spot for the foundation’s commitment to improving educational outcomes for students in the region.

Working hand in hand with parents and schools, El Monte Promise Foundation officially launches the Scholars Savings Program (SSP). SSP offers families and parents the opportunity to open a college savings account for their children, a resource that provides an accessible means to families who otherwise would not have a way of saving for their children’s college education.

El Monte Promise Foundation completes 2-part series of Parent Financial Literacy workshops and holds the first Parent Advisory Committee retreat.

El Monte Promise Foundation receives a grant from Citibank to promote financial education. The Foundation is also awarded a second AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow



El Monte Promise Foundation establishes Parent Advisory Council, and begins the launch of the Scholars Savings Program. The foundation also initiates the EMPF internship program, and convenes an elected officials briefing. 

El Monte Promise Foundation Board of Directors adopts the foundation’s five-year strategic plan and develops a shared Mission and Vision statements, a 1st-8th grade Financial Literacy Curriculum, and a Fundraising Plan.



 El Monte Promise Foundation becomes a project of Community Partners, hosts the first funders briefing in collaboration with California Community Foundation, and convenes the first EMPF board retreat.

The California Community Foundation awards El Monte Promise Foundation with a planning grant to convene the El Monte City School District, Mountain View School District, the El Monte Union High School District, Rio Hondo College, parents, business community, City and community leaders to develop an educational scorecard and work program.

El Monte Promise Foundation develops the Scholars Savings Program and establishes organizational branding. 

El Monte Promise Foundation is awarded its first AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow.


The El Monte Promise Foundation is established. The CBI, comprised of community leaders, develops the El Monte Promise Foundation to take on the work as the backbone organization, responsible for convening and coordinating the work of community stakeholders.

El Monte Promise Foundation establishes a leadership structure and Board of Directors and Advisory boards and develops by-laws.


CCF publishes “A Pledge and A Promise: Building a Seamless Pathway to College for El Monte Students and Families”, outlining the community’s needs.


Rio Hondo College convenes UC Irvine and Cal State LA to form the El Monte Union Pledge. The Pledge is established to provide El Monte Union High School District graduates with a clear path from high school to community college and a four-year university.


The California Community Foundation holds a series of community listening sessions and re-focuses the CBI on a collective-impact education initiative to support the educational outcomes set forth by parents and the community.


The California Community Foundation establishes its El Monte Community Building Initiative (CBI) to invest $10 million over 10 years to increase educational standards, community resources, affordable housing, healthy lifestyles and opportunities in the El Monte region. The CBI commits to fund non-profit organizations in the community to support these goals, including Amigos de Los Rios, Community Leaders for a Better El Monte and Soccer for Success.