Board of Directors

Board chair
ELACC founder Manuel Bernal
Manuel Bernal
Cesar Chavez Foundation

Manuel’s nearly 30-year career in community development began as a Management Analyst for the City of Los Angeles Housing Department underwriting loans with HOME and CDBG funds. He later served as an Underwriter of equity investments at the National Equity Fund and was a co-founder and served as ELACC’s first Executive Director.

Manuel joined the Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) in 1999 and held the position of Executive Vice President for Housing and Economic Development until 2011, later serving on their Board of Directors from 2011 to 2017. Manuel later re-joined CCF as its first Chief Operating Officer in March 2017. From 2011 to 2017, Manuel was the Director of Multi-family Housing for the City of Los Angeles. Manuel holds an Advanced Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Occidental College.

Mercedes O. Martin
Buchalter Law Firm

Mercedes O. Martin specializes in real estate transactions, with an emphasis on real estate secured transactions, tax credit finance and equity investments. She Co-Chairs the firm Community Development Finance group.

Mercedes regularly represents developers, borrowers, lenders and investors in the structuring and financing of projects nationwide utilizing low income housing tax credits, new markets tax credits and renewable energy credits, as well joint venturers and franchisees in the acquisition, disposition, management and financing of office, hotel and multifamily projects. Her areas of expertise include complex low income housing tax credit transactions involving multiple public and private funding sources, affordable housing and subsidy layering analysis, new markets tax credit funded affordable housing developments, formation of tax credit partnerships, and federal, state and local compliance of utility scale solar projects.

Aaron headshot
Aaron Elster
Buchalter Law Firm

Aaron Elster is an associate in the real estate department at Buchalter. He represents developers, lenders, investors, landlords, and tenants on a variety of real estate transactions. A significant component of Aaron’s practice is representing developers and tax credit investors in affordable housing projects all over the country.

Aaron is a third-generation Angeleno who in his free time enjoys exploring Los Angeles while listening to his beloved Dodgers on the radio.

Aaron earned BAs and history and political science from UC Santa Barbara, and his JD/MBA from Loyola Law School.

board member
Sarah Yun)
Sarah Yun
California Community Foundation

Sarah Yun is a Program Officer with the Housing & Economic Opportunity team at the California Community Foundation. Previously, she served as a Grants Officer for the Cyber Initiative, Effective Philanthropy, and Economy & Society programs at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In that role, she led the foundation’s demographic data work, supporting the organization to surface and mitigate race and gender-related bias across its grantmaking.

Prior to this, Sarah worked as a management consultant to mission-driven leaders providing guidance with strategy, financial sustainability, and performance measurement. She’s also served as a Global Citizenship Fellow for the US Fund for UNICEF, where she built a network of support for the organization’s life-saving campaigns.

Sarah began her career as a Protection Officer for North Korean refugees in Southeast Asia. She channels her passion for promoting human rights in this country as the Co-Founder and Board Member of Lumen, a nonprofit focused on information access in North Korea.

Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a proud Angeleno, born and raised in the City of Angels.

Arnoldo Ulloa
Edgemoor Infrastructure
Arnoldo is a Boyle Heights native and has remained so since his childhood growing up in “the flats,” just blocks from Mariachi Plaza. In his professional work investing and developing infrastructure projects at Edgemoor Infrastructure, he uses the perspective informed by his experience as an ELACC board member to guide his work.

He has been fortunate to get a broad range of experience in his career working in community development finance, tax-credit equity, and infrastructure, and is committed to contributing the skills he has acquired because of this good fortune to ELACC’s work as an affordable housing developer. It is his core belief that how we build and develop our cities is at the heart of addressing our society’s most pressing challenges related to housing affordability, economic inequality, and reducing carbon emissions.

Arnoldo graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and has an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received certificates in Finance and Sustainability.

board member
Orson Aguilar

Orson has dedicated his career to bringing accessible and affordable financial services to communities of color in an effort to build wealth in underserved communities. He is an expert on economic and racial justice issues, especially as they relate to financial services. He has served on several financial advisory boards including the San Francisco Federal Reserve Consumer Advisory Board, and the Bank of America Consumer Advisory Board. In the last two decades, Orson has successfully advocated for policies and programs that address racial disparities in the financial services sector.

board member
Roberto V headshot
Roberto Viramontes

Roberto currently works for UNITE-LA as Director of College Access and Success.
Immediately prior to joining UNITE-LA, Roberto served as a Senior Policy Adviser at the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). At LPI, he co-led the Early Care and Education (ECE) team and represented LPI in Sacramento on ECE as well as K-12 policy and budget matters.

However, Roberto first began his work in education as a high school social science teacher for Green Dot Public Schools in Inglewood. In addition, he also served as the Children’s Deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, as a policy analyst and program officer for First 5 LA, and as Senior Director of Education Policy for First Focus (a bipartisan advocacy organization focused on making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions).

He received a Master of Public Policy from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in Education from Loyola Marymount University, a Secondary Bilingual, Cross-cultural, Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) teaching credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University. He received his B.A. in History from California State University, Fullerton.

Roberto grew up in East Los Angeles and attended LAUSD schools all the way through high school. Roberto now lives in with his wife and their two sons: Sebastian and Joaquin, who also attend LAUSD schools.

board member
Danielle Guillen
As a first-generation college student, Danielle realized her family was not alone in their struggle to access equitable educational opportunities.
Her desire to extend equitable opportunities to families, like her own, led her to become a secondary teacher in the Navajo Nation where she experienced first-hand the barriers low-income rural families face to accessing high-quality education. These experiences catalyzed her desire to build equitable human-centered systems.
board member
Jose Orozco Pelico
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
board member
Rigoberto Lopez
Cesar Chavez Foundation
Inspired by Dolores Huerta’s “Si se puede” slogan, and as first-generation to attend college grad school, I strongly believe housing is important as a basic necessity. As a current Cesar Chavez Foundation employee, I am proud to be part of an organization that offers housing as a basic necessity to low income latino families.
With a background in Finance, I offer support in financial management to make housing projects a reality. By working directly with banks and investors I bring in monthly funding for our Housing and Economic Development Fund.
board member
Victor Lopez
board member
Yami Villanueva
Communities in Schools of Los Angeles
board member
Rolando Cruz