Rev. Luis A. Cortés Jr.

Cortés--Luis for webHispanic Clergy of Philadelphia
4261 N. 5th St.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19140

Work Phone: 215.324.0746

The Rev. Luis Cortés Jr. is founder, president and CEO of Esperanza, the premiere Hispanic faith-based Evangelical network in the United States. Driven by the biblical mandate to serve and advocate for “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40), Cortés founded Esperanza in 1986, with support from the Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia.

Under Cortés’ leadership, Esperanza has grown from a small 20-person operation to an organization of more than 350 employees and a $35 million annual operating budget. With a national network of more than 13,000 Hispanic faith and community-based organizations, Esperanza is one of the leading voices for Latinos in America today.

Sought by national and international leaders regarding issues of economic and workforce development, housing, immigration and education, Cortés has appeared in several media outlets, including “Washington Week,” “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” La Opinion, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Cortés was listed as one of Time magazine’s 50 “Most Influential Evangelicals” in 2005. He presented the invocation prayer at the luncheon for Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration and was a featured speaker at the National Prayer Service the morning after President George W. Bush’s 2005 inauguration.

In 2014, at the request of The White House, Cortés led a delegation of faith leaders to Central America to engage in dialogue regarding the influx of unaccompanied children to the United States. Since 2001, Esperanza has hosted the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, which gathers more than 700 Latino faith and community leaders in Washington, D.C.

Cortes has been chosen as a partner and Esperanza as a model for the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty. A senior non-resident fellow for the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania, Cortés has authored five books.

He and his wife, Damaris, have two adult children and five grandchildren.


  • Honorary Doctorate, Divinity, Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pa.
  • Honorary Doctorate, Divinity, Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa.
  • Honorary Doctorate, Humane Letters, Eastern University, St. Davids, Pa.
  • M.Div., Urban Theology Fellow, Union Theological Seminary, New York City
  • M.S., Economic Development, Southern New Hampshire University
  • Graduate with honors, City College of New York


  • Associate executive minister, Philadelphia Baptist Association
  • Founder and director, Eastern School of Christian Ministry, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wynnewood
  • Faculty member, Urban Ministry, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Program Director, Inter-Religious Foundation for Community Organization, New York City
  • Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.


  • Became executive director of Hispanic Clergy of Philadelphia and president of Esperanza: 1988
  • Commissioned as an American Baptist home missionary: 1988
  • Ordained: Oct. 1981
  • Birthday: Dec. 16