Dr. Nelson I. Colón
Dr. Nelson I. Colón is the president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation (FundaciónComunitaria de Puerto Rico), a philanthropic institution with a 35-year trajectory, working with communities in Puerto Rico and sharing its knowledge internationally. He holds a Doctorate degree in Education from Harvard University, an MA in Cultural Anthropology from SUNY Binghamton, and a BA in Sociology from University of Puerto Rico (UPR).
He joined the Foundation in the early 80’s as program director and became president and CEO in 2000. Under his leadership, several initiatives aimed at building equity in Puerto Rican communities have been launched, in the areas of education, housing, community, and economic development, and—after Hurricane María— renewable energy, water, racial, and gender equity, and Sustainable Development Goals. Also, after the 2020 earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Colón lead the design and implementation of the Foundation’s philanthropic response to both emergencies, focusing on promoting and strengthening community action. The Foundation has centered its strategy on building community capital from the ground up: human, social, physical, financial, environmental, and cultural.
He has spoken on issues of community capital, racial equality, economics, human rights, and philanthropy at many events on the Island, the United States, and countries in America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. He stands out in the global arena, leading the first international meeting of community foundations in Bellagio, Italy, in 1996, and the first International Community Philanthropy Conference in 1997 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has received numerous recognitions. He also founded and directed the Caribbean Project for Peace and Justice of the American Friends Service Committee.
Dr. Colón has taught anthropology at major universities in Puerto Rico (Universidad de Puerto Rico yUniversidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico), and has served on several boards of directors related toeducation and philanthropy in Puerto Rico and the U.S. His writings have been published in internationalmagazines such as Revista - Journal Harvard Review of Latin America, and El Nuevo Día, the main newspaper on the Island.