PAB - News and Information

A woman with dark hair and pink shirt in front of a purple background. and

By Sister Marilín Llanes, OP
Director and Portfolio Manager
Portfolio Advisory Board Office

Founded in 2005, Windmill Microlending opened its doors to skilled immigrants and refugees who land in Canada to rebuild their lives. The organization is committed to crafting the needed financial products and equipping clients, who don’t have established credit ratings or collateral, with the resources that promote economic mobility and equity.

The Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) members on June 7, 2024, unanimously approved a loan to Windmill. 

Dr. Maria Eriksen, a Calgary-based clinical psychologist, was disheartened to learn custodial staff at the hospital where she worked were internationally trained professionals. Their credentials were not recognized and they could not practice their professions due to an array of obstacles ranging from language barriers, high licensing costs, and a limited understanding of the Canadian system. When Dr. Eriksen learned about the challenges these skilled immigrants faced, she took action steps that consequently changed the lives of thousands of new settlers across Canada.  

Windmill offers financial support with affordable, low-interest loans of up to $15,000 to pay for accreditation, training, and career development. Its mission-driven way is well aligned with the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Enactment that beckons us to “building the beloved community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger and hate.” 

Binal, a dentist from Mississauga, Ontario, calls her Windmill Microlending Career Success Coach, Robert, “an angel in my life,” who helped her and her family at a time when they were truly in need.

She says the Windmill loan application process was simple and responsive. Robert was there to answer questions and provide financial and career advice through the entire process, which she completed from home. 

“My Windmill loan really changed my life. I was preparing for my final exam to get my credential to become a dentist,” she said. “We were in a dire financial situation and Robert shared with me the good news.” 

Binal was on maternity leave at the time and was struggling to pay for her professional accreditation exams and no financial institution would extend her the funds needed to complete the licensing process. She had been referred to Windmill Microlending by one of her dental instructors, so Binal applied for a loan and was approved within five business days. 

Binal’s Windmill loan helped her pay for childcare while she studied as well as her exam fees. It also meant she wouldn’t need to return to long shifts at a sandwich shop. With the financial pressure relieved, Binal completed her exams and is now back working in her chosen profession, bringing smiles to her patients. 

She says her early years in a new country proved challenging but with Robert and Windmill’s support, her future is bright and her potential is unlimited.
The Windmill microlending invests in financial resilience for transformative impact in the lives of skilled immigrants and refugees across Canada.

Watch a video of Binal describing her experience with Windmill.

Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, with Aurelio Arroyo González, CEO of Jesus Obrero Cooperative, a community partner of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

By Sister Marilín Llanes, OP
Director, Portfolio Advisory Board Office

Photo Courtesy of Inclusiv

June 12, 2024, New York, New York – A high-spirited celebration took place this May in New York City, hosted by Inclusiv on its 50th anniversary. Inclusiv has been a community partner since 1982 of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), which provided capital that launched its first impact investment.  

Inclusiv invests funds into community development credit unions to support lending, wealth building, and financial inclusion initiatives in low-income and underserved communities throughout the United States and beyond.
The Inclusiv gathering of more than 800 partners and colleagues commemorated an amazing milestone, reimagining opportunities and pathways toward a more equitable and inclusive present and future for generations. 

Many voices that have been formative to the movement were present, including the Adrian Dominican Sisters, represented at the event by Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP. Leaders from a vast cross-section of community investors shared their insights and commitments to social justice and created investments throughout the three-day event. 

Additional comments and highlights of the partnership between Inclusiv and the PAB were featured in Inclusiv’s 2023 Annual Report, reproduced below with permission.

First In: Our Long Partnership with the Adrian Dominican Sisters

In 1982, federal support for Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) was waning. Inclusiv, then known as the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, began searching for outside investors. The Adrian Dominican Sisters became our first – providing a $30,000 loan that laid the foundation for a new capitalization program and cemented our role as a Community Development Financial Intermediary.

Some 42 years later, the partnership with the Adrian Sisters continues. Sister Marilín Llanes, Director of the Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Office, shared that our continued relationship is about more than just familiarity – it’s about values.

“Our relationship with Inclusiv has always been about aligning ourselves with a partner that shares the same values that we do,” she said. “It’s about our commitment to respond to the social injustice of our time. It’s about women, people of color, Indigenous people, the LGBTQ+ community, and anyone who has experienced marginalization. WE want to be there and to help them prosper.”

In recent years, the Adrian Dominican Sisters have deepened their commitment to not only social but also environmental stewardship. They recognize that ecological sustainability is inextricably linked to social justice and have begun to prioritize investments that reflect this understanding. This evolution of their investment strategy resonates with Inclusiv’s expanding focus on environmental sustainability and climate justice.
After 42 years, Sister Marilín sees a long road ahead for this relationship.

“I see Inclusiv as a long-term partner of ours in the mission to bring about what the Scripture calls ‘beloved community,’” she shared. “Our relationship has been so supportive and I look forward to the next thing I’ll learn through the incredible community that Inclusiv has built.”

Reprinted with permission from the Inclusiv 2023 Annual Report

A boy about 13 years old with his back to the camera wearing a pink T-shirt, blue jeans, and flip-flops works on the wheel of a car with a set of socket wrenches on the ground.

By Caroline Boden
Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Mercy Investment Services

In early 2023, The New York Times reported on the use of illegal child labor, mostly unaccompanied migrant children, in the United States. These children were illegally employed by suppliers for some of the biggest U.S. companies, including in factories producing Cheerios for General Mills, dinner rolls sold at Walmart and Target, auto parts for Ford and GM, and cleaning meat processing plants that supply JBS, Tyson, and others. Since then, additional investigative reports may have exposed child labor violations in the restaurant, construction, and other sectors in the United States.

As minors, and especially as unaccompanied migrants, these children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Although the children weren’t employed directly by these major brands, their illegal employment by the suppliers violates these companies’ human rights policies and supplier codes of conduct, as well as U.S. child labor laws. Additionally, the principle of human rights due diligence outlines the responsibility of all actors within a value chain to identify, address, and remediate any potential or actual human rights violations.

Following the reporting, responsible investors and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) reached out to several of the named companies, including Target, Tyson, and Walmart, to understand how they were addressing the issue and engaging with the violating suppliers to prevent further harm. 

These conversations showed that most companies were surprised, as suppliers in  North America have generally been perceived as low risk for human rights violations. Most companies shared that they were investigating the violating suppliers and working to strengthen recruiting and hiring practices; however, public disclosure of companies’ efforts to address the violations and remediate the harm caused to the children is lacking.

As part of our shareholder advocacy work, the Adrian Dominican Sisters Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) is joining other investors and NGO partners to ask these companies to conduct human rights impact assessments for the region, especially given the high use of migrant labor in the United States. 

The PAB joined other Walmart shareholders in filing a shareholder proposal for the 2024 proxy season that addresses the child labor issue and requests the company conduct a human rights impact assessment. An ICCR partner filed a proposal asking Tyson to commission an independent report evaluating the effectiveness of their policies and practices to prevent illegal child labor throughout the company’s value chain. The proposal received 12.1% of the shareholder vote in favor.

Unfortunately, one of the responses to the child labor violations has been an effort in many states to roll back child labor protections, such as lowering the eligible age to work, allowing minors to work in hazardous work environments, and extending the number of hours that minors can work. As of February 2024, 28 states had introduced bills to weaken child labor laws, with 12 states enacting such legislation.


By Ileana Cintron
Chief Economic Empowerment Strategist, Enterprising Latinas, Inc.

Enterprising Latinas, Inc. (ELI), a nonprofit organization led by women of color, announced that it received a grant from Spectrum Digital Education to establish a new computer lab to boost people’s digital skills, with a focus on women.  

ELI, founded in 2009 and operating since 2014, has been a lending partner of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ community investing fund since 2023. Its focus is to create pathways to prosperity for women and low- to moderate-income families in the Wimauma, Florida, community and throughout Tampa Bay. 

ELI’s enduring commitment to empowering women by equipping them with new skills is well aligned with the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s 2022 Enactment on Women, to “strive to attain gender equality and women’s full and equal participation and decision making in Church and society.” 

For more information, read the article by Lizabeth Gutierrez on Spectrum News. 

A man with a beard wearing a baseball cap and a black chef's uniform smiles as he hands prepared food to another man through the window of a food truck

March 8, 2024, Tampa, Florida – A food truck business in Florida seems to be a long distance – geographically and culturally – from the Motherhouse of a group of Dominican Sisters in Adrian, Michigan. But the connection is deep and inspiring.

A $100,000 community impact investment from the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) allowed Enterprising Latinas to apply to become a Community Development Finance Institution and to give low-interest micro-loans to 19 Latino business owners. Among them were Diego Jara and his wife, Yeny Perez, owners of the food truck business So Yummy Birrieria. 

The loan received by Enterprising Latinas was one of nearly 600 community impact investments made by the PAB since 1978. Loans have been made to organizations throughout the United States and in many regions of the world in the areas of worker-owned cooperatives, credit unions, banks, housing projects, and community organizations.

Watch the video and read the entire article about PAB’s impact in Florida by Lizbeth Gutierrez in Spectrum News. 

two foil packets of drugs sit next to a stack of $20 bills

By Lydia Kuykendal
Mercy Investments

February 6, 2024, Adrian, Michigan – Last year, shareholder health work focused on intellectual property protections for branded drugs. Specifically, it sought to clarify the relationship between pharmaceutical company patenting and access strategies. 

That work continues, with the Portfolio Advisory Office filing resolutions at five pharma companies – Eli Lilly, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck. Several regulatory changes over the past year will impact this issue, and we hope that companies see these second-year proposals as a way to prepare for these coming changes.

First, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) empowers the federal government to negotiate some drug prices. Some have argued that it enacts significant patent reform, specifically around the issue this proposal seeks to understand. This comes from a critical provision of the IRA that states the only drugs that qualify to be considered for price negotiations are drugs with no generic competition, thus discouraging extended patent exclusivities. Additionally, three bills addressing patent reform passed out of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 2023 and, if passed, would impact pharma companies’ current practices.

In addition to the continuing work on patents, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) health group has started a workstream around the right to health. This is a human right: the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as defined by the World Health Organization. Access to medicines is a critical component of the right to health. 

Target 3.8 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 assesses progress toward “access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health has made clear that states and pharmaceutical firms share the responsibility for increasing access to medicines and recommends that firms “should adopt a human rights policy statement which expressly recognizes the importance of human rights generally and the right to the highest attainable standard of health in particular.”

However, a quick look at drug pricing shows that U.S. pharmaceutical companies are not supporting this right. An analysis by the Rand Corporation concluded that U.S. prices for branded drugs were nearly 3.5 times higher than prices in 32 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found “prescription drug costs to be an important health policy area of public interest and concern.”

Shareholder proposals at Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Pfizer seek to understand whether the business model of pharma companies may pose human rights risks. The current business model of the pharmaceutical sector, which in many instances prioritizes profitability over patient health, often infringes on these rights. Given pending legislation in the European Union that would mandate human rights due diligence as called for in the UN guiding principles, companies undertaking human rights due diligence will be ahead of the curve. 

International human rights organizations have recognized the human right to health for decades. Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to operationalize a business model that promotes this right worldwide. If, as all companies in this industry state, patients are indeed the most essential part of their business, this should be an achievable task.


Three business women standing outside look at construction blueprints together

Since 2022, Project Equity has been a lending partner with the Adrian Dominican Sisters Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB). Project Equity, a nonprofit organization, demonstrates a strong alignment with the Sisters’ commitment to mission-driven impact investing in underserved and underbanked marginalized communities. Evan Edwards, CEO of Project Equity, shares the innovative and catalytic efforts of his organization in an article he wrote for Forbes magazine. Read his article here.

Attending the ICCR conference are, from left, Sister Susan Mika, OSB, Sister Ann Scholz, SSND, Sister Judy Byron, OP, Timnit Ghermay and Sister Marilín Llanes, OP.

By Mary Minette
Mercy Investments Consultant

December 8, 2023, New York, New York – The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility’s (ICCR) annual Fall Conference took place October 3-5, 2023, in New York City and featured a variety of speakers and events that related to the work of the Adrian Dominican Sisters Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB). 

The event also provided an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and retirements of Sister Judy Byron, OP, Director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, and Pat Zerega, Senior Director of Shareholder Advocacy for Mercy Investment Services. Both have provided many years of staff support to the PAB. 

Defending shareholder rights was a central topic of this fall’s ICCR gathering because of the growing number of bills introduced at the state and federal levels, aiming to prohibit investor consideration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. (For an explanation of ESG investment and anti-ESG bills, read this recent article.) With 2023 ESG shareholder proposals seeing decreased support, investors discussed potential actions, namely offering public support for the SEC’s forthcoming disclosure rules and engaging large asset managers on their voting practices. 

Another session focused on providing investors with tools to engage asset managers on proxy voting. Following the recent rise of anti-ESG sentiment, asset managers significantly decreased their support for shareholder resolutions in their 2023 proxy voting. Asset managers oversee the holdings of investors, their clients, assuring that their decisions on behalf of the investors are made in good faith, aligned with the client’s responsible screening criteria.

ICCR members are urged to engage their asset managers on disclosure of voting policies, with progressive escalation steps for unresponsive managers, including switching assets to a competitor if the asset manager refuses to act.

In another emerging issue, a panel of presenters discussed the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), mindful of its impacts on society and democracy. The keynote speaker, Nathalie Maréchal from the Center for Democracy and Technology, explained that the most important decision is when not to use AI in modern work, citing the rise of disinformation, fraud, and misuse of data.

ICCR members continue to advance worker justice issues, and the conference included a session on advocating for companies to provide a living wage. The session’s panel members included an associate at a large retail chain who provided insight into the challenges facing workers, such as low wages, minimal benefits, and employer retaliation for employee criticism. 

A researcher on the panel illustrated the negative impact that underpaying workers can have on long-term shareholder value, as studies show that a living wage supports employee retention and productivity. 

The Racial Justice Investing Coalition moderated a session on racial justice-focused investing and its impact on fostering a stronger democracy. The session provided investors with a chance to learn about best practices from investors already working on this issue.

Another panel offered a presentation on pressing for corporate action on environmental justice and emphasized centering racial equity in climate work, engaging local communities in joint decision-making, and holding parent companies accountable for pollution from owned facilities.

In another session on company accountability, speakers addressed human rights due diligence (HRDD) and responsible contracting. Speakers explained the importance of supply chain contracts, highlighting that shifting risk onto a supplier is not the same as risk management. The panel members recommended that investors advocate for responsible contracts that feature shared commitments and prioritize human rights. 

The ICCR conference provides a valuable opportunity to strategize with fellow faith-based investors for the current shareholder advocacy season.

Caption for feature photo at top: Attending the ICCR conference are, from left, Sister Susan Mika, OSB, Sister Ann Scholz, SSND, Sister Judy Byron, OP, Timnit Ghermay and Sister Marilín Llanes, OP.

11 PAB Board members from September 2023

The Portfolio Advisory Board held its Fall meeting in late September at Weber Retreat and Conference Center, where Board members attended to business items, shared the year’s accomplishments regarding shareholder advocacy and community impact investing, and engaged in strategic planning. PAB member Mary Priniski, OP, opened each day with inspiring reflection and prayer. 

Business Items

Sister Marilín Llanes, Director of PAB, provided an update on plans for PAB’s 50th anniversary, to be celebrated on September 26, 2025. A synopsis of the plan is pending approval of the Board in November.

New voluntary staff and Board members were introduced:

• Associate Dee Joyner will serve in the volunteer role of Senior Advisor to PAB for Special Projects. She will help facilitate the adoption and implementation of the 2023-2026 strategic plan and support the planning of the 50th anniversary. 

• Kayoko Lyons, CFA, and Petra Vujakovic from the Cabrini Missionary Sisters Impact Investment Fund will assist with community impact investing.  

• Sister Judy Byron, OP, and Rev. Dr. Sidney Williams Jr. were unanimously recommended as new members of the Board and were confirmed by the General Council. They filled two vacant seats on the Board due to the passing of Pat Daly, OP, last year and the resignation of Corinne Florek, OP, as portfolio manager.

Shareholder Advocacy

Pat Zerega and Mary Minette, PAB consultants with Mercy Investment Services, presented a report on their activities for the 2023 proxy year. They had 66 engagements  – such as meetings and negotiations – with companies in the PAB’s focus areas of protection of human rights, healthy persons and communities, and environmental sustainability. In addition, 18 shareholder resolutions were filed: nine in human rights, three in healthy persons, and six in environmental sustainability. 

One constructive engagement (with Dollar General) garnered a high vote from shareholders of 67.7% regarding practices on the safety and well-being of workers. In addition, the Adrian Dominican Sisters supported signing on to 39 letters, joining other faith-based investors in expressing viewpoints on actions of various companies at odds with our social impact criteria.

Mary reported on the anti-ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) movement and its impact on different sectors. For example, there are growing attacks against Climate Action 100+/Net Zero Asset Managers who are falsely accused of violating anti-trust /consumer protection laws. Another area highlighted the economic impact in states that have anti-ESG policies. These policies have forced divestment and decreased returns for pensioners in five states with a negative financial impact estimated at $20 billion. 

This was Pat’s last meeting due to her upcoming retirement. Mary Minette will be the permanent Mercy Investments Consultant to PAB.  

Community Investing

Sister Marilín presented an update on the PAB community impact loan portfolio, presented two loans for renewal, and presented three new loans for approval.

The PAB approved the following loans for renewal:

Community Vision Capital and Consulting has been a borrowing partner with ADS since 1988. This CDFI invests in strengthening low-income neighborhoods and enabling underserved communities to build more racial and economic equity in more than 46 counties in Northern California.

The Cooperative Fund of the Northeast (CFNE) and PAB have been in partnership since 1987. This CDFI facilitates socially responsible investing in cooperatives, community-oriented nonprofits, and worker-owned businesses in New England and adjacent communities in New York.

New loans were approved for the following borrowing partners:

Capital for Change Fund (C4C) was formed in 2016 by the merger of the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund (GNHCLF), Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, and Community Capital Fund. Capital for Change (C4C) is the largest full-service CDFI in Connecticut, serving a wider bandwidth of people, nonprofits, businesses, and public institutions in need.

Lawndale Christian Development Corporation (LCDC) was established in 1987 by the Lawndale Christian Community Church to fulfill the call to justice in Micah 6:8. LCDC organizes with the community to eliminate health and wealth disparities in North Lawndale, Illinois. LCDC develops and manages affordable mixed-use housing, creates homeownership for working families, and builds cooperative businesses. 

• The African American Alliance’s Black Renaissance Fund (BFR) was formally established in 2020 by the African American Alliance of CDFIs CEOs of Black-led CDFIs. It is committed to closing the wealth gap in Black communities in the United States and identifying opportunities that will result in greater investments in the organizations they lead. The BRF secures grant and debt capital at very low interest rates, allowing members to strengthen their balance sheets, build more loan capacity, and generate more revenue through interest income. 

Celebrating Associate Dee Joyner and Consultant Pat Zerega

PAB was joined by members of the General Council and invited guests to express gratitude to Pat Zerega and Associate Dee Joyner for their many contributions to PAB upon their retirement. Dee retired on July 1, 2023, as Director of the Portfolio Advisory Board, and Pat will be retiring as a Shareholder Advocacy Consultant on October 1, 2023. Cynthia Crim, PAB Chair, and Carmen Mora, Co-Chair,  thanked Pat on behalf of the PAB. Corinne Sanders, OP, PAB General Council Liaison, expressed gratitude to Dee for her many service years with the Congregation in both PAB and the Resilient Communities endeavor. A toast and blessing were offered, followed by a celebratory dinner in honor of Dee.

Strategic Planning

Associate Dee Joyner engaged Board members in discussing the proposed Theory of Change Framework recommended by the Strategic Planning Committee.  

Members reviewed the Theory of Change Framework and definitions of component parts during a daylong process of engagement, working in small and large groups. The four overarching themes for the strategic plan are shareholder advocacy, community impact investing, alignment of the work of PAB for greater impact, and collaboration with internal and external partners. Recommendations were sent to the Strategic Planning Committee to refine and bring back to the Board for a vote by December 2023.

Please see the PAB website for articles on our borrowing partners and shareholder advocacy activities, which are updated monthly.


Feature photo at top: Members of the Portfolio Advisory Board are, from left, Kristine Cooper, Office Manager; Judy Byron, OP, Consultant; Joseph Baker II; Corinne Sanders, OP, General Council Liaison; Carla Mannings; Marilín Llanes, OP, Portfolio Manager; Mary Priniski, OP; Pat Zerega, Consultant; Cynthia Crim, Chair; Dee Ann Joyner, Director; and Carmen Mora, Vice Chair.

By Sister Marilín Llanes, OP - Director and Portfolio Manager, Portfolio Advisory Board

The two featured organizations below are making dreams come true for thousands of people on the move who have fled their countries for an array of exceedingly difficult situations. These individuals land in this country with the pressing need to rebuild their lives. Immigrants, refugees, or climate-displaced people arrive without credit and often with a limited understanding of the complex U.S. financial system. The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and Enterprising Latinas, Inc., programs of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), are crafting the needed financial products and equipping clients with marketable skills that promote economic mobility and equity.  

The Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB) members approved loan requests in June 2023 to Enterprising Latinas and the CEO as new partner borrowers. 

The CEO, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-consolidated subsidiary of the IRC, is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). It has been giving loans nationally since 2011 to low-income refugee and immigrant families and offering small-dollar consumer and business financing to assist with their financial challenges. One of the CEO’s programs is the Supporting Access to Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Fund. A client who accessed an auto loan through this program shares his story:

“Before this, it used to take a lot of time and money to go to work and to go to doctor’s appointments with my family. I used to go to work in one hour and a half by bus or spend money on Uber/Lyft. Now, I can go to work in 20 minutes, and I can take my four-month-old baby and my wife to the doctor and other appointments on time. This loan gives me two to three hours back every day – time I can spend with family or working extra to support my family. I plan to use my new car to work at Uber as a driver in the future, so it helps me earn more money for my family. I am happier and less stressed.” 

black and white photo of an adult man with dark hair, beard, and mustache, wearing a zippered jacket and standing next to a new sedan car.

SAFE participant. Photo courtesy of the CEO.

Recently resettled individuals like this SAFE participant typically come to the CEO to refinance high-interest loans from an auto dealership. That was not the case with this SAFE client, as he accessed an affordable rate, a prime rate for a borrower considered “subprime” in the eyes of traditional financial institutions. Clients find it challenging to be resilient when much of their income is extracted for monthly auto loan payments, leaving no breathing room for emergencies. Compared to more extractive options, the savings on a CEO auto loan allow a family to build emergency savings or pay for other necessities.  

CEO’s mission is well aligned with the Congregation’s 2022 Enactment on Diversity to “ …act to dismantle unjust systems and build the beloved community in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, Hunger, and hate."

four latina women wearing pink, white, and black, standing in front of a white wall underneath the logo of Enterprising Latinas
Photo courtesy of the author, from an
on-site visit April 18, 2023.

Enterprising Latinas, Inc. (ELI), a nonprofit organization led by women of color, was founded in 2009 and has operated since 2014. Its focus is to create pathways to prosperity for women and low- to moderate-income families in the Wimauma, Florida, community and throughout Tampa Bay. Its purpose is to create a place for personal and professional development, workforce skills certification, and training for starting or growing micro-enterprises and networking. 

Below is the story of Amarilis and her resiliency and entrepreneurship in action.

“Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard, and like many Puerto Ricans, I migrated to Florida to rebuild my life. I was lucky. I found work and started a successful career in retail but found myself wondering if there was more. I was sure that I wasn’t realizing my potential. A neighbor shared with me a brochure promoting Enterprising Latinas and told me about their business class. My natural curiosity led me to them, and before I knew it, I was completing their eight-week business class and working with my business coach to start a new business venture, Be You 360 Photobooth, Inc., which I incorporated in 2022. Today, I am the founding owner. In my first year, my business is projected to make $30,000 in sales. I know now that for me, the sky is the limit.”

Enterprising Latinas’ commitment to empowering women by equipping them with new skills is well aligned with the 2022 Enactment on Women, to “strive to attain gender equality and women’s full and equal participation and decision making in Church and society.”

Both the Center for Economic Opportunity and Enterprising Latinas serve as catalytic containers, investing in financial resilience for transformative impact in the lives of persons and communities underserved by traditional sources of capital. 


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Portfolio Advisory Board,  Adrian Dominican Sisters | 1257 E. Siena Heights Drive | Adrian, Michigan 49221
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