Nuestra Inspiración Ambassadors
Sonia Manzano inspired, educated, and delighted children and families as "Maria" on Sesame Street for over 40 years. Named among the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever” by Latina Magazine, Manzano has contributed to enriching diversity on the stage, the educational realm and on television – garnering her a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in “recognition as a pioneer in the representation of Latinos on television…” Manzano has won 15 Emmys as part of the Sesame Street writing team, written picture books, novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and memoir Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. A first generation Puerto Rican, raised in the South Bronx, Manzano’s tale is one of perseverance and courage as she overcame countless obstacles to become one of the most influential Latinas in television.
Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas has been Program Director for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's Pivotal Place: New York City and the Culpeper Arts & Culture programs since 1995. He started his career in philanthropy nearly 30 years ago at the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. His grantmaking expertise includes education organizing and policy, immigration affairs, community development, international development, sustainable development, urban planning, and arts and culture. Throughout Rodriguez-Cubeñas’ long and distinguished career in philanthropy, he has been a champion of artists and the arts and an advocate for equity and justice for Latinos and underrepresented communities. He continues to play an important leadership role in New York City’s civic and cultural life as vice chair of the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Cultural Advisory Commission and chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Cultural Plan for New York City. In addition, he is vice chair of the board of Casita Maria in the Bronx, New York; chair of Ballet Hispánico’s Leadership Council; on the advisory board of New York Foundation for the Arts’ Leadership Council; and a founding member of the 2015 Lincoln Center Global Exchange. In 1998, he co-founded the Cuban Artists Fund, an organization dedicated to helping individual artists and promoting mutual understanding and relationship building with Cuban artists and arts professionals, and he currently serves as the chair of the board. For the last two decades, Rodriguez-Cubeñas has been a cultural ambassador to Cuba, promoting cultural exchanges, Cuban culture and artists, and interaction between Cubans and Americans.
Sergio Trujillo is an internationally recognized choreographer and the recipient of the 2015 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreography for Memphis – The Musical and a 2016 Tony Award nominee for choreography in the Broadway Musical On Your Feet!. In 2011, Trujillo had the honor of having four shows simultaneously running on Broadway; Tony Award winning Best Musical Memphis (Olivier Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations), Tony and Olivier Award winning Best Musical Jersey Boys (Greenroom Award, Olivier, Drama Desk, Dora, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), The Addams Family, and Next to Normal, the recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. Currently, Trujillo is the choreographer of the Broadway production Summer (Chita Rivera Award). Other Broadway choreography credits include A Bronx Tale (Chita Rivera Award nomination), Hands on a Hardbody (Drama Desk nomination), Leap of Faith (Drama Desk nomination), Addams Family, Guys and Dolls (Astaire Awards nomination) and All Shook Up. In December 2012, Trujillo was distinguished as one of the Top 100 Colombians in the world by President Juan Manuel Santos.