Dr. Nelson I. Colon is the President and CEO of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation since 2000. Under his leadership, the Foundation has initiated the following programs: the Middle Schools Renewal Initiative; the Community Housing Development Organizations Program; the Institute for the Development of Philanthropy, the Economic Development Consortium, and Educational Transformation 2014. Dr. Colon has served as an international consultant on five different continents. He was the leader and spokesperson of the Multi-sector Movement for a World Class Education in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Colon’s past accomplishments include: leading the first international meeting of community foundations in Bellagio, Italy, in 1995 and first International Community Philanthropy Conference in 1997 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He directed and founded the Caribbean Project for Peace and Justice of the American Friends Service Committee. Also he directed the Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation in Boston. His writings have been published in international magazines, at Harvard’s University “La Revista”; and local newspapers.
Dr. Colon was named Emeritus Chair of Hispanics in Philanthropy in 2018. He also serves on the following board of directors: the Northeast and Island Regional Education Laboratory; CF Leads and the Foundation for a Better Country. He is also member of the following award selection panels: Tina Hills Award, Citi Award to Microenterprise (PREMIC) and Solidarity Award. In 2015. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico designated Dr. Colón as member of the Access to Justice Advisory Committee.
He has received numerous recognitions, including the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in the category of social responsibility; the “Distinguished Faculty” recognition at the 2002 University for a Night seminar at the United Nations; and the Archibald Hopkins Medal. He was a “Senior Fellow” of the Synergos Institute in New York. In 2014, Dr. Colon was awarded the Martin Luther King Award for his commitment to human rights. He was also a participant in the “White House Convening on Community Foundations” in Washington DC. In 2016 Dr. Colón on behalf of the PRCF received the Patiño Moore Legacy Award, given by Marguerite Casey Foundation in partnership with the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) and Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP). In 2018 Dr. Colón was honored as a HIP Giver “Leadership in Philanthropy” by Hispanics in Philanthropy.
Under his leadership, the PRCF became the main philanthropic force on the recovery of grass-root and afro-descendant communities in PR. After María, PRCF mantains an unwavering commitment towards equitable and sustainable access – by under-resourced communities – to food, water, electricity, housing and jobs.
Recently, Dr. Nelson Colon was invited by the Federal Reserve Bank of NY to join a panel on: “Update from Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands Philanthropy”.
Dr. Colon holds an BA in Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico; MA in Cultural Anthropology from the State University of New York and a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University.