Corina Cortez

Former Senior Vice President, Strategic Opportunities

As Senior Vice President of Strategic Opportunities, Corina Cortez oversees the Foundation’s Opportunities Fund and also looks across the Foundation’s portfolios and organizational assets to identify new ways for the Foundation to advance equal opportunity in the United States.

Corina served as the Chief of Staff of The Rockefeller Foundation two years prior, working with the President of the Foundation to set and advance the organization’s objectives, provide strategic counsel on priorities, and assist in managing external initiatives and relationships.

Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. Cortez spent more than 25 years in Washington, DC, working at the intersection of public policy, politics, advocacy, and communications.  Ms. Cortez served as a senior advisor to the Executive Director of the three million-member National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest education association, with a $350 million budget, 52 state affiliates, and 14,000 local organizations.

In addition to serving on the Executive Director’s leadership cabinet, Ms. Cortez previously held a variety of senior management and executive roles – including Manager of State Policy and Politics and National Political Director.  With the support of NEA’s leadership and state affiliates, she created several national and state sister 501c3, 501c4 and 527 issue advocacy and political organizations dedicated to working with students, parents, educators, and communities to advance quality public schools.

Prior to joining NEA, Ms. Cortez served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a $7.4 billion federal agency with 18,000 employees.  She was promoted to Chief of Staff and served as the Administrator’s point person on legislative, regulatory, and management priorities.

Ms. Cortez also worked at the Children’s Defense Fund where she managed a national field team devoted to building community support for legislative priorities.  One of her proudest achievements is helping to secure congressional passage of the landmark State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for uninsured children.

While earning her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, Ms. Cortez worked in the White House Office of Political Affairs and the Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.   She also worked at the public relations firm of Fingerhut, Powers, Smith & Associates, where she managed advocacy and communications campaigns.

Ms. Cortez received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in San Antonio, Texas at the University of Incarnate Word, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.