LEDC’s Chief of Strategy & Development Marjorie Nemes-Galarza to Serve as Interim Executive Director
WASHINGTON - The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) announced today that its Executive Director & CEO Marla Bilonick will step down from her role on April 16, 2021, after nearly 10 years with the organization. Bilonick will go on to lead the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) as its new president and CEO. Marjorie Nemes-Galarza, LEDC’s chief strategy & development officer, has been appointed as interim executive director, effective April 19, 2021.
“This moment is bittersweet since LEDC has been such a huge part of my life for a very long time. In 1999, I joined LEDC as a microloan officer and then went on to have professional experiences that ultimately led me back to where it all started—LEDC,” stated Marla Bilonick. “It has been the honor of my career to lead and grow this organization and I will miss the staff, our partners, and our community dearly. I look forward to watching LEDC continue to shine in this new chapter and am so glad I will remain connected in my new role leading NALCAB. Marjorie will step into the role of interim ED easily and I feel confident and secure leaving the organization in her capable hands.”
Under Bilonick’s leadership, the organization has enjoyed many advances, which include significant organizational growth in the Washington metropolitan area and beyond. During her tenure, LEDC grew from two locations in two sites to six locations in five sites; the staff size grew from 19 to over 60 full-time staff; and the organization was able to purchase and renovate a permanent headquarters in the District after years of holding no fixed assets. Most importantly, under her leadership, LEDC was able to serve thousands more families and individuals with housing counseling, foreclosure prevention, tenant organizing, financial capability, small business consulting, small business training; and business and consumer lending services. She also developed and championed the organization’s innovative work in the small business preservation space that laid the foundation for LEDC’s COVID-19 response work.
LEDC Board Chair Darryl Maxwell expressed his appreciation for Bilonick’s years of service and his confidence in Ms. Nemes-Galarza leading the organization: “I am sad to lose Marla. She has been a stalwart in the DC community over the past decade. Hundreds of small businesses and thousands of families have been positively impacted as a direct result of her leadership and strategic thinking, but I take a great deal of comfort in having Marjorie lead the organization in the near term.”
Ms. Nemes-Galarza joined LEDC over nine years ago and brings almost 20 years of community and economic development experience to the organization. Since joining LEDC, Ms. Nemes-Galarza has played a pivotal role in the organization’s growth and development. As a longstanding member of LEDC’s leadership team, she provided critical input into LEDC’s growth strategies, programming, and operations. In her role leading LEDC’s fundraising and development efforts, she successfully helped triple our operating budget and secure new, large-scale, and highly competitive grants that fueled LEDC’s significant expansion. A native of Ponce, Marjorie was key to LEDC expanding our lending operations into Puerto Rico. She is a recognized leader of LEDC with deep institutional relationships in the philanthropic, governmental, and nonprofit sectors that will be very important for continuing LEDC’s upward trajectory.
Prior to joining LEDC, Ms. Nemes-Galarza spent almost 10 years as a for-profit consultant to private and public funders focused on designing innovative social justice, public health, and community change interventions for underserved communities throughout the United States. Ms. Nemes-Galarza received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park and a Master of Science in Cross-Cultural Psychology from Brunel University in London, England.
“I am excited for Marla and the new opportunities that await her,” said Marjorie Nemes-Galarza. “I know that we will continue to work with her and the NALCAB team to bring economic opportunities to Latinos and other underserved communities in our region. I am honored to have been selected to serve as LEDC’s interim executive director and look forward to guiding the organization through this transition period.”
LEDC's Board of Directors will be launching a formal search to identify the organization's permanent executive director. Details to follow.
About The Latino Economic Development Center
Working families deserve to live in affordable homes and own successful small businesses, but too many are unable to turn those dreams into a reality. The Latino Economic Development Center equips Latinos and other underserved communities in DC, MD, VA, and Puerto Rico with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities. Participants in our programs learn how to buy and stay in their homes, join with their neighbors to keep their rental housing affordable, and start or expand small businesses.