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Graduate Fellowship

CARLA ELIANA GODOY LAGUNA

Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service
Master of Public Administration, May 2011
Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy
Profile (.pdf)
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A cultural activist and a bottom-up social entrepreneur, Carla Eliana Godoy is committed to advocating for equity and social justice by using movement building and cross-sector collaboration as drivers for community transformation. She has dedicated the majority of her life to strengthening institutions and creating alternatives that inspire others to play a role in creating social impact. Eliana’s most recent project is Aywina Cooperative, a social enterprise that supports and finances productive cooperatives in developing countries using technology to mobilize diasporas to address poverty and inequality in their native countries. Employing her national and international experience in non-profit management, fundraising, program design and impact evaluation, Aywina is the culmination of her obsession with poverty, inequality and forced migration, issues that have personally affected her.

An immigrant herself, Eliana spent many years working with immigrant families through Art for Change, an organization she started in New York City, with the mission of creating innovative art and media programs that inspire people to take an active role in social justice. Through Art for Change, Eliana created educational programs that provided access to visual and performing arts to children, youth and their families. Using visual art, Eliana also organized immigrant women around issues of gender violence and successfully built shared value cross-sector partnerships to sustain the program. Art for Change follows a unique horizontal model that facilitates leadership development among volunteers and participants; it has become a critical space for young people looking to be active in their community and for artists who work at the intersection of art, social justice and community development. The organization has also played a pivotal role in the cultural and economic revitalization of the community of East Harlem. Since its inception in 2001, Art for Change has engaged more than 1,000 emerging and established artists in the production of multi- discipline art programs benefiting marginalized communities. One can see works of public art throughout the neighborhood of East Harlem, facilitated by Art for Change.

In her search of innovative models, Eliana also created Carlitos Cafe y Galeria, a social venture that financially sustained the work of Art for Change. This social venture became a cultural landmark in New York City and provided a space for artists and activists to explore and pursue new ideas and collaborations. Carlitos presented cutting edge, community-driven cultural events, film screenings, performances and exhibitions. It served as an inspiration to a number of community entrepreneurs to begin similar ventures around Harlem. Although Carlitos Cafe y Galeria closed its doors due to gentrification, Art for Change continues to run programs in New York City and it is managed by a collective of young artists and people committed to using art as a catalyst for community transformation.

Eliana has more than fifteen years of professional experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. In the for-profit sector, she has worked in the areas of business development, messaging and strategy with companies such as the Boston Herald, Jobfind.com, Raymond Karsan Associates and Worldcom. At the Boston Herald, Eliana worked in the marketing and business development unit managing the job recruitment advertisement for retail companies. She was later promoted to help launch its start-up firm Jobfind.com. There, she focused on developing and managing pharmaceutical and high-tech accounts. In the nonprofit sector, Eliana has also worked for established national and international non-profits. She started her nonprofit career at DSNI, a community center in Roxbury, MA, where, leveraging her knowledge of workforce recruitment, Eliana mobilized internal and external resources to implement youth and economic development programs that resulted in the creation of youth ventures, employment readiness training, and a neighborhood-wide annual job fair. Eliana then worked as a Major Gifts Officer at the International Rescue Committee, where she managed the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategy for individual donors in addition to organizing large fundraising events. As the Executive Director of Girls Career Workshop, she successfully tripled the number of girls served by expanding programs and scaling reach to include high schools in the Bronx and Queens. She also developed a volunteer program structure that significantly improved capacity, program delivery and the engagement of professional women as long-term supporters and mentors to high school students. Eliana’s leadership in the nonprofit sector has been noticed by outside institutions. She was invited to serve as a curator at Lincoln Center and as an advisory board member for the Children’s Aid Society, El Museo del Barrio and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She has also served as part of the grant making panel of The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council for the Arts, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Eliana has worked in Bolivia, Mexico, India and Jordan and has served as a consultant to the Venezuelan Mission during one of President Chavez’ visits to the United Nations. She has implemented a two-year youth empowerment international exchange program between the U.S. and Bolivia funded by the State Department and in partnership with Bolivian based Teatro Trono and the Ministry of Tourism in Potosi, Bolivia. This program resulted in original murals, videos and performances created by young people and has since then been replicated by local partner organizations in other states of Bolivia. She has also worked as part of a consulting team with BabaJob, a social venture based in India and has developed an impact evaluation design and toolkit for the Jordan River Foundation.

Eliana’s work has been featured and recognized in major Spanish language newspapers and television stations, and by awards such as the Union Square Awards, The Hope Community Leadership Award and The NYU Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship. Eliana received a Bachelor of Science in Broadcasting and Communication from Boston University and a Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.