In this interview, Ed Rivera and Jennifer Mastripolito of United Way Central New Mexico discuss their collective impact experience from serving as the backbone support for the initiative Mission: Graduate.

Having served in numerous senior and chief executive posts, Ed Rivera has more than forty years of leadership and management experience in the nonprofit community. In 2008, Ed joined United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) as President and CEO. Since Rivera’s arrival, the UWCNM completed a community-based strategic planning process that included numerous town hall meetings. UWCNM also announced the highest amount raised in its over seventy-five year history ($29,029,000). In conjunction with other United Ways in the State of New Mexico, he has assisted in the facilitation and development of a new statewide association to benefit the United Ways of New Mexico. Previously, Rivera spent ten years at Kittleman and Associates, a leader in nonprofit leadership resources. During this period, he consulted with leading non-profit organizations and associations throughout the United States.

Jennifer Mastripolito has been the Chief Development Officer for United Way of Central New Mexico since July 2010. In this key leadership position, she has worked to combine fundraising with community building efforts. Mastripolito, who has been at UWCNM since 2004, has served in several capacities at United Way that have included both fundraising and fund distribution leadership roles. Mastripolito’s unique set of skills and experience has played a major role in UWCNM’s implementation of the 2010 Strategic Plan, focused on the integration of raising and distributing funds in more focused and measurable ways. Mastripolito has been part of the leadership team that developed the genesis of the Education Support Initiative through community forums and in working with existing education-related collaborations and coalitions in central New Mexico.

United Way of Central New Mexico is the backbone organization for Mission: Graduate, a multi-sector education partnership in Central New Mexico, committed to a vision for a world-class, seamless, and coordinated education system that provides equitable opportunities for all citizens to excel and succeed from early childhood through high school, graduate with a postsecondary degree or certificate and enter a career of their choosing in Central New Mexico. This community-directed effort has an ambitious goal to add 60,000 new associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees to Central New Mexico by 2020. In January 2013, a group of the community’s top leaders—representing numerous institutions—signed the Central NM Education Compact, in which they committed to developing a common agenda for student success, galvanizing all sectors of the community, and supporting and holding each other accountable as they work toward achievement of the goal.

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