Cristina Salazar Piñeiro - TDC Board Member; Disaster recovery coordinator, University of Puerto Rico
Cristina Salazar Piñeiro is a versatile and creative social catalyst who offers expertise on designing community engagement and social responsibility programs, as well as strategic initiatives for local and regional ecosystem-building efforts.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she currently works as a disaster recovery coordinator for the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), focused on the design and implementation of the UPR Asset Mapping Project. This effort is tasked with creating an asset map of the UPR System in order to provide visibility and access to Puerto Rico’s most important higher education institution. This initiative aims to connect the UPR assets to ongoing disaster recovery efforts, as well as develop Island-wide asset maps for three main strategic areas: blue economy, aeronautics and aerospatial, and supply chain.
Cristina began her career in the nonprofit sector early on by working with a local organization called Initiativa Comunitaria (ICI), serving as a program associate for ICI’s street medicine, international health brigades, and youth programs.
After three years at ICI, Cristina became a National Urban Fellow and did her mentorship at The Cleveland Foundation (TCF). As a National Urban Fellow, her primary work was joining the Community Responsive Grantmaking team, and she also joined the Foundation’s multi-anchor strategy, the Greater University Circle Initiative. In addition, she volunteered with an organization supported by TCF, Neighborhood Connections (NeighborUp), where she had the chance to participate in grassroots efforts in a variety of communities in Cleveland.
Cristina returned home to work as a Program Manager for Imagine Santurce, an initiative housed under Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR), which looked to explore and emulate Cleveland’s multi-anchor strategy. She was able to design community engagement programs and enabled residents to participate in the decision-making process of the community initiatives led by FPR. The initiative was successfully transitioned to a local university that wanted to continue this work, now called Nuestro Barrio. After her time at FPR, Cristina became a development officer for the Puerto Rico Community Foundation (PRCF), and led efforts to move PRCF to support millennial-driven organizations as well as racial equity initiatives.
She moved on to work at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRST) as a business development specialist for the Colmena66 program. Here, Cristina led the entrepreneurship community ecosystem building effort, in order to provide aspiring and existing entrepreneurs easy access to the resources they need for their businesses. She spearheaded the design and execution of Puerto Rico’s first Boricua Entrepreneur Fest, an event to provide access to entrepreneurship resources mainly to marginalized and underserved business owners. She also was responsible for the design and execution of Puerto Rico’s first SBIR Road Tour, which bridged the gap between federal agency commercialization grant programs and local entrepreneurs and innovators.
Wanting to focus on the access-to-capital gap for underserved local and immigrant business owners, Cristina joined Causa Local as Director of Strategic Initiatives. During this time, she designed community engagement efforts to provide access to capital through Kiva, a crowdlending tool for entrepreneurs and business owners around the world.