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Popular to spin off Echar Pa’Lante program into new nonprofit

Gloria Viscasillas, who worked at Banco Popular and served as integrative leader of the Echar Pa’Lante initiatives, will direct the new entity.

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico announced that the Echar Pa’Lante initiative, a multi-sector alliance it has promoted since 2012, will transition into a “separate and distinct” nonprofit organization starting May 10. 

Gloria Viscasillas, who worked at Banco Popular and served as the integrative leader of Echar Pa’Lante initiatives, will lead the new entity as its executive director, the financial institution confirmed.

“The time has come for Echar Pa’Lante to formally become an independent nonprofit organization. This will help ensure that the work agenda progresses with the flexibility and agility that an effective, healthy, and innovative entrepreneurial culture deserves,” stated Ignacio Álvarez, CEO of Popular Inc.

“Gloria has been a key player in the milestones and important changes that have allowed Echar Pa’Lante to evolve into what it is today,” he added. “We have no doubt that she has the knowledge and commitment to assume the role of guiding the organization at the beginning of its second decade, now as an independent entity.”

Promoted by Banco Popular, Echar Pa’Lante was created as a strategic effort to stimulate economic growth and accelerate the development of entrepreneurial culture in Puerto Rico.

During its 12 years of existence, it has reached and integrated tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans of all ages and backgrounds in initiatives centered around innovation, socioeconomic development and education.

The initiative has earned recognition from institutions such as Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Clinton Global Initiatives, American Bankers Association, International Council for Small Business, the Puerto Rico Products Association, and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce.

Those accolades reflect the collaboration of hundreds of organizations and thousands of volunteers, including national and international experts who have helped design and implement programs promoting entrepreneurship at the school, university and community levels in Puerto Rico.

“I appreciate the trust that Banco Popular gave me from day one to lead Echar Pa’Lante. What began as a small effort aimed at promoting economic development from educational foundations, quickly became a project that has managed to be a model and basis for integrating entrepreneurship and innovation into academic curricula for all ages, strengthening the support ecosystem and stimulating entrepreneurship throughout Puerto Rico,” Viscasillas said.

“It fills me with pride to be able to continue building, from this new position and entity, and contributing to the progress of Puerto Rico through collaboration,” she added.

Banco Popular confirmed it will provide initial funding to the new nonprofit for the first three years. Meanwhile, the organization said it will be “actively raising funds to continue current projects, ensure the evolution and growth of the initiative, as well as expand its impact in the future.”

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