As the Executive Director of Community Independence Initiative (CII), Mauricio works closely with Root Change to implement CII around the world. CII is a peer-driven change model that invests in the talents, strengths, and ingenuity of people living in low-income communities. He authored The Alternative, a book which challenges the basic assumption that low-income families are lazy or victims in need of saving and lays out an evidenced-based alternative solution to poverty. Mauricio founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in 2001, with a mission to support and accelerate families’ own efforts to improve their social and economic mobility. In recognition of his unconventional approach to generating economic mobility, Mauricio was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2012, was appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions, is an Ashoka Fellow, and more. A first-generation immigrant, Mauricio’s personal history deeply informs his life’s work.