meet san juan diego institute
of dedicated professionals
San Juan Diego Institute is comprised of experienced staff supported by a network of seasoned fellows that provide insight and technical expertise to particular client situations and projects. These SJDI “fellows” come together as needed for client engagements while maintaining their independence and unique skills. This ‘flat’ and flexible configuration limits the organizational overheads and draws from a team of skilled, values-aligned professionals that come together as needed to provide exceptional results for a broad range of projects and clients.
- PRESIDENT & CEO
Tommy Espinoza lives in Phoenix, AZ and is President CEO of Espinoza Community Development, President of San Juan Diego Institute, and the former President, CEO and Co-founder of Raza Development Fund (RDF), the largest Latino Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) for over twenty years in the U.S., with half a billion of dollars in total assets under management.
MARK VAN BRUNT
- SENIOR FELLOW
Mark Van Brunt, currently Chief Administrative Officer for the operations of the San Juan Diego Institute, formerly was co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of the Raza Development Fund (2000-2018) supporting its President & CEO by facilitating the integration of the Fund's strategic, programmatic, and operational priorities including program grant activities, proposal development and related management, reporting and compliance processes.
RYAN HANNING, PH.D
- EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR
Ryan Hanning is an educator and a Professor of Theology and Education serving the University of Mary Liffrig School of Education, and Franciscan University of Steubenville Catechetical Institute. Ryan concentrates on several educational segments including enhancing professional education for teachers & administrators, better understanding parent & stakeholder demand, appropriate pedagogical selection, & how to form teachers in the tradition of Classical and alternative models of education.
- DIRECTOR OF FIELD OPERATIONSS
Arla Ruiz is a seasoned educator both in the classroom and in administration. She served for 10 years as a High School Principal at NFL Yet Academy in Phoenix Arizona, and has directed major projects for educational non-profits serving at-risk students. She brings years of non-profit and educational work that covers a wide span of educational needs. With a focus on evaluation, teacher formation, and building the systems that influence student outcomes & school culture, Arla's work has primarily been focused on serving and helping students from diverse backgrounds succeed both in school and after graduation.
CARLOS DE QUESADA
Carlos de Quesada is the founder of VeraCruz Advisory LLC which focuses on providing financial advisory and strategic consulting services to non-profit institutions. With 25+ years of business, managerial and finance work, Carlos brings his expertise to serve a wide range of clients with a special focus on faith-based entities including higher education.
Dan Flanagan is a partner of VeraCruz Advisory LLC which focuses on providing financial advisory and strategic consulting services to non-profit institutions. With 15+ years of business, managerial and finance work, Dan brings his expertise to serve a wide range of clients with a special focus on faith-based entities including higher education.
In Memoriam (1974-2022)
Eric Salazar passed away unexpectedly in June of 2022. He was a tireless leader and dedicated father. He assisted San Juan Diego Institute grow in its service to a wide range of creative Latino serving nonprofits that were making differences in their local communities and beyond. We leave his Biography on the page as a reminder to his instrumental role as a Fellow of the San Juan Diego Institute.
Eric Salazar has been a dedicated leader in the government and nonprofit sectors for over 20 years. He has ample experience supporting the growth and development of nonprofits through network models. He spent much of his career helping nonprofits develop unique program models and strengthening their service delivery platforms through process innovation, technology enhancements, organizational culture & leadership development, and performance evaluation, which allowed them to develop strong teams, maximize outcomes and access diverse funding streams.
“As an Executive Director, I know I need an outside perspective to really gauge the operations and effectiveness of Fraternus, but there are so many voices that getting trustworthy help can be overwhelming. Everyone has advice to give you (and consulting contracts to sign) but finding someone who really understands your mission and methods sometimes seems hopeless. SJDI was just what we needed. Almost two years out from their original assessment, I can see that their efforts and guidance has helped us reshape our efforts so that we know that the effectiveness of the mission is on par with our zeal for it. We would not be there without SJDI.”
Executive Director, Fraternus USA
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