Maryland Nonprofits and Maryland Latinos Unidos Celebrate Community Spirit and Leadership at Festive Holiday Gathering

December 11, 2023

[Oxon Hill, MD | December 7, 2023] – Maryland Nonprofits and Maryland Latinos Unidos welcomed a diverse and esteemed group of more than 200 individuals, including nonprofit leaders, government legislators, and community members, to a joyous end-of-year celebration on December 5, 2023. The event, held at Oxon Hill Manor, was a testament to the spirit of unity and collaboration within the community.

The evening was marked by heartfelt recognition as Maryland Latinos Unidos honored five remarkable individuals for their exceptional service and leadership. Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk was honored for co-founding Maryland Latinos Unidos and for her tremendous contributions to equity for all Marylanders.

(From left to right) Emmett Jordan, Jordan Communications & Professionals Services Group (JCPSG), Walter Simmons, Employ Prince George’s & Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, House of Delegates
Photo courtesy of Pictures of Us

Among those celebrated were distinguished members of the Maryland Latinos Unidos steering committee, whose unwavering dedication and commitment have significantly contributed to the betterment of our community.

  • Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates
  • Elda Devarie, President, EMD Sales, Inc.
  • Alberto Grosmark, Retired & Community Advocate
  • Luis Gutierrez, President & CEO, Dream Management, Inc.
  • Inez Stewart, SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Johns Hopkins Medicine

“At Maryland Latinos Unidos, we believe in the power of collaboration to drive meaningful change. By strategically aligning with Maryland Nonprofits and our esteemed allies, we are taking a bold step towards addressing disparities and fostering empowerment within the vibrant Latino community of Maryland,” said Veronica Cool, co-founder and current chair of the Maryland Latinos Unidos steering committee. “Together, we have accomplished much, including the creation of the Latino Health Equity Alliance, and the capacity building of more than 50 Hispanic-serving organizations. Yet the work is far from finished, and we will continue to not only bridge gaps but also pave the way for sustainable growth and inclusivity.”

Maryland Nonprofits honored Tonia Wellons, President & CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, for her remarkable leadership in Nonprofit Equity.

“We are immensely proud to recognize the invaluable contributions of these individuals, whose passion and tireless efforts have made a profound impact across the entire state of Maryland,” said Walter Simmons, the President & CEO of Employ Prince George’s and the Board Chair of Maryland Nonprofits. “Their leadership serves as an inspiration, embodying the values of service and community-building at the core of our association.”

The event provided a platform for attendees to connect, share experiences, and foster new partnerships aimed at addressing communal challenges and fostering greater inclusivity and support within the nonprofit sector.

“Our shared dedication to collaboration and empowerment reinforces the importance of working together toward a brighter future for all Marylanders,” said Gabriela Lemus, the Executive Director of Maryland Latinos Unidos.

The festive gathering not only celebrated the holiday season but also reinforced the spirit of unity and cooperation essential for building a stronger, more resilient Maryland.

Maryland Nonprofits and Maryland Latinos Unidos extend gratitude to all attendees, supporters, sponsors, and partners whose presence and contributions made the event a resounding success.

The event was presented in partnership with the Standards for Excellence Institute, the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Nonprofit Prince George’s County, and Nonprofit Montgomery.

For more information about Maryland Nonprofits, its initiatives, and future events, please visit

For more information about Maryland Latino Unidos, please visit

For more information, please contact:

Imany Dye
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Maryland Nonprofits

Gabriela Lemus
Executive Director
Maryland Latinos Unidos

About Maryland Nonprofits
For 30 years, Maryland Nonprofits has worked to promote a thriving and effective nonprofit sector in Maryland and nationally through our Standards for Excellence Institute. With our 1,600 members, we coordinate advocacy with nonprofit leaders to advance equity and public policy that supports vibrant community organizations and civil society. Maryland Nonprofits’ capacity-building services include the state’s largest nonprofit consulting group, training, an annual conference, and accreditation through the Standards for Excellence® program. We are the home of the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth (MARFY), Maryland Latinos Unidos, and the Charge-Up Collaborative. Maryland Nonprofits is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization with a mission to strengthen organizations for greater quality of life and equity. Visit for more information.

About Maryland Latinos Unidos

Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU) exists to call attention to the disparities and inequities faced by Latino and immigrant communities, to find solutions, and to address these problems with coordinated action. Our vision is a world where your zip code does not determine your lifespan. For more information about Maryland Latinos Unidos, please visit