Aurea Montes-Rodriguez is the Executive Vice President at Community Coalition and has worked at the organization for more than 20 years. Born in Mexico and raised in South LA she developed a passion for creating change at the local level. Aurea has been a key leader responsible for building the organization’s youth programs to fight for educational equity, leading efforts to keep children in family care and out of the foster care system, helping to build organizing capacity in South LA, and leading a capital campaign to transform the organization’s headquarters in to a state of the art community hub for community organizing.
Aurea oversees the strategic direction of Community Coalition’s education reform campaigns to address the role policy plays in creating a more equitable society that can dismantle the school to prison pipeline and develop the next generation of leaders. She has provided leadership on campaigns seeking in-district reform at the LAUSD including, developing community informed solutions at Fremont High School after the school was reconstituted, developing and winning the adoption of a student equity index to direct Local Control Funding Formula dollars to the highest-need schools, and winning a settlement of $150 million for the 50 highest-need schools in the district.
Aurea also established Community Coalition’s CDF Freedom Schools, which has worked with more than 700 African American and Latino students to build their love for reading and build a leadership pipeline.
She has championed efforts to strengthen and support family care in South LA, ensuring that aunts, grandmothers, cousins caring for children who are no longer living with their parents receive better treatment and a fairer distribution of resources within the child welfare system. By helping children stay with their families, Community Coalition has prevented thousands from entering the foster care system.
Aurea is a co-founder of Partners for Children South LA, a multiagency initiative that seeks to improve children’s development and reduce the risk of involvement with the child welfare system. She is an ex-officio Board Member with InnerCity Struggle, and a member of the Building Movement Project working to build capacity within the non-profit sector to promote social justice at the national level. Aurea is married and has three children, Diego, Maya Nayeli, and Joaquin.
Fun Fact: Aurea is a yogi, and loves to enjoy the beach with her husband and children, Diego, Maya Nayeli, and Joaquin.