Carmen is the Executive Director of the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation. She began in November 2015 and hit the ground running through enabling over 40 Chicago non-profits to apply for and receiving funding for the 2016 fiscal year. Carmen has over 25 years of non-profit experience, with 18 years in youth development at Youth Service Project and Alternative, Inc. Carmen grew up on the west side of Chicago, in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, which is now known as Bucktown. Being one of eight siblings, Carmen learned at an early age to use her voice and develop her compassion for others. She attended Burr elementary and Wells high school. Following high school, Carmen received her Bachelor and Masters from North Park University.
Coming from a poor background, she understands firsthand what children need to be successful in school and in life. She believes in changing the narrative of not just public education, but that of the youth; she feels that our kids should not be characters in someone else’s story—they should be able to tell their own narratives. She is a strong advocate for promoting social justice for everyone, regardless of age, class, ethnicity and gender. Not only does Carmen’s personal experiences provide her with an understanding of working with disadvantaged youth and communities, but her professional work has enabled her to build upon that understanding.