SAVE news release:
Miami, Florida -Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE) has named Miami fund-raiser and business executive Carlos "CJ" Ortuño as its new executive director.
Ortuño's selection follows an intensive, nationwide search involving more than 120 individuals in Miami-Dade and beyond.
CJ Ortuno was the Director of Development for Hands On Miami, a nonprofit social entrepreneurial organization engaging citizens in over 100 monthly volunteer action projects. There he was responsible for raising Hands On Miami's 2 million dollar budget. By developing sustainable partnerships with individuals, corporations, government agencies, and foundations, CJ helped create synergistic solutions to community problems in the form of cash contributions. The first to achieve a college degree in his family, he graduated from Florida International University with a BA in History.
Raised in Miami, Florida, CJ now lives on South Beach with his wife Charlene and four-month-old daughter, Amalia. Recently, CJ graduated from Leadership Miami class of 2008. His passion and dedication to the public sector has benefited children, the environment, and the disadvantaged.
"CJ is just the person we need to build on our successes of these last 15 years," SAVE Board Chairman Juan B. Talavera said. "With his experience, reputation and know-how, we're well positioned to meet our most pressing challenges: defeating Amendment 2 to the Florida Constitution on Nov. 4th and securing more protections for all Miami-Dade County citizens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Ortuño succeeds Interim Executive Director Orlando Gonzales, who chaired the search committee.
"I am thankful these wonderfully dedicated professionals were willing to participate in an intensive grassroots approach to identifying and recruiting qualified candidates," Gonzales said. "The committee represented the talent and diversity of the greater community of Miami-Dade County."
Committee members included community leaders Leslie Bowe, Cindy Brown, Dennis Edwards, Liebe Gadinsky, Hemly Gonzalez, Juan del Hierro, Lorenzo Lebrija, Steve Leidner, Eddie Padilla, Damian Pardo, Sheldon Roy. Mark Steinberg, Elizabeth Schwartz, Juan Talavera, and Jose Vilanova.
Gonzales will resume his post on the board of directors and will transition day-to-day operations to Ortuño in the coming weeks.
"The next few months are critical as SAVE remains focused on defeating Amendment 2," Ortuño said. "The deceptively named 'marriage protection' amendment to the Florida constitution threatens hard-won protections for gay and heterosexual couples in communities across the state. This is a threat to all Floridians, and I am proud and determined to lead SAVE in helping defeat it. Beyond this, I'm looking forward to advocating for systemic change for the LGBT community, making Miami-Dade County a national model of advocacy for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation."
SAVE is spearheading the get-out-the-vote drive in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, working closely with Florida Red and Blue and other organizations to persuade voters to "Say No to Amendment 2."
SAVE is Miami-Dade County's premier organization dedicated to protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals from discrimination on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.