Born: Santiago de Las Vegas, Cuba
Education: Juris Doctorate, University of Miami
Personal: Married, 4 Children
Just days after the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, 10-year-old Carlos, his younger sister, and mother fled Cuba to come to the U.S. His mother opted to go back to Cuba after an emotionally draining job of working with Cuban refugees in Miami. She contracted hepatitis and was unable to leave. When she could no longer afford the U.S. boarding school where the siblings were enrolled, the pair went to live with their 17-year-old cousin, Roberto Perez, in Harlem (NY) during a period of great civil unrest. As riots imperiled their safety, the 3 took shelter in a nearby United Methodist Church and remained there for 6 months. Later, after living in Baltimore (MD) for 14 years, Carlos returned to Miami. While enrolled at Florida International University as a psychology major to earn a bachelor’s degree, Carlos started a shoe import business. He also worked at several other companies in various roles.
Carlos became involved with Alfalit when his cousin Roberto, now a pastor in Miami, became Board president. In the early 2000’s, Reverend Perez asked him to consider joining the Board to fill the vacant officer role of Secretary. Because Carlos felt an obligation to this man who “saved [his] life,” he agreed. Carlos credits Roberto with teaching him how to put Christianity in motion and the important distinction between financially supporting a cause and developing a true commitment to meaningful philanthropy. About 15 years ago, Carlos visited the affiliate program in the Dominican Republic. There he met a husband and wife who had moved into a tiny house with 5 other family members to free up space for Alfalit classes. The woman asked Carlos for more funding to move the classes into a larger building so that Alfalit could serve more people. Her selflessness, something he has repeatedly witnessed while with Alfalit, left an indelible imprint on Carlos.