Who is COFEM?
Get to know us.
The Council of Mexican Federations in North America (COFEM) is a non-profit organization aimed at creating opportunities for Latino Immigrants in North America, with a special focus in California. We are a community-based umbrella organization established by a league of federations or groups of people who share ideas and have continually participated in efforts to improve educational, health, social, and political conditions for our communities.
COFEM has defined specific themes, priorities, and the needs of greatest impact and interest to the Latino immigrant community, including binational economic development, civic participation, education, health, and organizational development.
Bi-national Economic Development
COFEM's bi-national economic development programs provide immigrants with the necessary tools to work and prosper within the context of America's complex financial and banking system. The bi-national economic programs also assist COFEM's member organizations with technical assistance to facilitate economic development projects in Mexico.
COFEM's civic participation programs are aimed at strengthening the Latino community's role in the political process and ensuring that the Latino immigrant's voice is included in decision-making forums at state and federal levels in both the United States and Mexico.
COFEM's educational programs are intended to increase educational opportunities for children and adults in the Latino immigrant community. A critical aspect of children's academic success is parent involvement. In recognition of this, COFEM's educational programs target the high drop-out rate of Latino students by involving parents in the educational process. COFEM also promotes early childhood education programs and initiatives.
COFEM's health initiatives focus on wellness and disease prevention. The objective of these programs is to foster a culture of health and wellness and, at the same time, address the economic, educational, linguistic, and cultural barriers that affect the distribution of health services.
COFEM's organizational development programs are aimed at strengthening COFEM's internal organizational structure, processes, and overall functioning. This emphasis on organizational development ensures a vibrant, resilient, and enduring organization, which in turn places COFEM in a powerful position to assist the Latino community through current and future service offerings. Moreover, as COFEM embraces additional Clubs and Mexican Federations, COFEM can play an even stronger role and wield more significant political influence on behalf of the Latino community.
Meet the Team
Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, Francisco has resided in Los Angeles for 36 years and has 22 years of experience as a community leader and activist. He studied law at the University of Guadalajara and television production in Mexico City. Francisco became COFEM's third Executive Director in 2020.
Programs Manager - Coachella Valley Office
Vanessa migrated from Michoacán, Mexico to the United States with her family at the age of eight. She has lived in the Coachella Valley for over seventeen years where she attended College of the Desert and later transferred to California State University, Fullerton to study Sociology.
Sendy Hernández Orellana Barrows
Conservation Program Manager - Coachella Valley Office
Originally from Jalisco, Mexico, Sendy grew up in the Coachella Valley and is a passionate advocate for land conservation, diversity, and inclusion in the outdoors. She helps to lead the expansion of the Conservation Program by overseeing land conservation advocacy efforts and creating and implementing educational and recreational opportunities for the community.
Program Manager, Immigrant Integration - Los Angeles Office
Leticia is a DACA recipient who works to empower individuals socially, politically, economically and culturally. She completed her studies at California State University, Long Beach where she studied Child Development and Family Studies as well as in Family Life Education. Leticia has also maintained the Department of Justice (DOJ) accreditation since 2016.
Program Coordinator, Community Networks - Los Angeles Office
Oscar is the proud son of immigrant parents from El Salvador and a true believer in the American Dream. He earned his Political Science B.S. at Northern Arizona University in 2019 and joined COFEM in 2020. Oscar assists the team in various projects and programs including immigration, civic, and environmental advocacy.
Rafael Fabian, D.V.M.
Program Assistant, Immigrant Integration - Los Angeles Office
Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, Rafael graduated from U.M.S.N.H., School of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics in 1990. He migrated to the United States in 1992. Before joining COFEM and obtaining accreditation with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Rafael was a representative for the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles.
Communications Coordinator - Los Angeles Office
As an individual with a passion for social justice and public affairs, Daniel works to maintain optimal communication with the organization’s affiliates. He joined the team in February of 2022 and oversees the Enroll LA and Immigrants are Los Angeles campaigns. Daniel graduated from Bates College in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Politics and Spanish.
Program Assistant, Immigrant Integration - Coachella Valley Office
Lupita joined the team in 2021 and is the immigration services lead in the Coachella Valley office. She supports the community by informing members about DACA and citizenship requirements and eligibility. Lupita attended College of the Desert and later transferred to UC Berkeley, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Education.
Jose Francisco Manzo
Conservation Fellow - Coachella Valley Office
Jose attended Humboldt State University in Arcata, California where he graduated with a B.A. in Native American Studies and Liberal Studies Elementary Education. Studying in the heart of the redwoods, his passion for nature and land conservation grew quickly. He assists COFEM in creating conservation advocacy through education and outdoor recreation.
Program Assistant, Immigrant Integration - Los Angeles Office
Ianai joined the team in March of 2017 and is a former volunteer at COFEM. She is accredited with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and helps the community to renew their green cards, apply for citizenship, and helps DACA recipients to renew their work permits. Ianai attended Glendale Community College and is currently seeking a Paralegal Certificate.
Board of Directors
Carlos Iván González, Federación de Nayaritas en Estados Unidos
Dr. Ilan Shapiro Strygler, AltaMed
Idelfonso Gastelum, Fraternidad Sinaloense de California
Xóchitl Castañeda, Ph.D., UC Berkeley
Regina Vega, Federación de Guanajuatenses
Jaime Lucero, Mi Casa es Puebla (NY)
Luis Escalera, Federación de Michoacán
Maria Elena Serrano, 24 Hour Real Estate
Imelda Beltran, Fraternidad Sinaloense de California
Francisco Moreno, Council of Mexican Federations in North America (COFEM)