As a product of Chicago Public Schools and a first-generation Latinx college graduate, Mercedes’ enthusiasm and passion for student advocacy and community investment is rooted in early childhood experiences in and outside of the classroom. As Ingenuity’s Manager of Foundation and Corporate Partnerships, Mercedes sees an opportunity to steward and build relationships with stakeholders, in efforts to increase long-term investment in Ingenuity, with special focus on large-scale systems change and support.

Her competitive yet ambitious appetite as an energetic change maker is truly visionary and fueled by her early instability accessing, and learning in education environments free of inequities. She is uplifted by her journey leading in different educational spaces and has continually honored, led, and advocated for youth through a variety of different organizations. Additionally, her leadership has been essential in resourcing school communities and liberating innovative learning environments for BIPOC students across Chicago.

Mercedes was recognized as a finalist for Schools That Can’s 2019 RFK Urban Education Award and is 1 of 15 Surge Institute Chicago 2022 graduates.

Mercedes has served on her sorority’s National Board of Directors (Gamma Phi Omega), where she contributed to organizational growth. In addition, she is currently on After School Matters Associate Board of Directors, where she dedicates time increasing community exposure and citywide experiences for students. Mercedes holds a bachelor’s degree in History Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

In her free time, she enjoys building connections, reading, and spending time with her family.

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  • To be truly visionary, we have to root our imagination in our concrete reality while simultaneously imagining possibilities beyond that reality."
    —Bell Hooks