New Member: Cecilia Polanco – Innovation Fellow

Please introduce yourself and welcome new member Ceci Polanco, one of this years class of Innovation Fellows.

At 25, Cecilia Polanco owns and manages So Good Pupusas, a social justice food truck serving Salvadoran pupusas, and their partner non-profit Pupusas for Education, which awards college scholarships for undocumented students.

Born in California to Salvadoran immigrant parents, and raised in Durham, Polanco was the second student to graduate from Durham’s Northern High School as a UNC Chapel Hill Morehead-Cain Scholar in twenty years.

As a recipient in the first class of Global Gap Year Fellowship, Cecilia took a gap year between high school and college to volunteer and travel abroad as a global citizen. Her passions lie within access to higher education, business as a force for good, and advancing racial equity.

Since graduating Carolina in 2016, Cecilia has been a HPJ Fellow with the social justice consulting firm Frontline Solutions, a Smith Fellow for the Southern Foodways Alliance, and a Fellow with the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation.

She is on the board of the Helius Foundation (small business consulting for need-based and entrepreneurs of color), NC SLI (high school honors and college prep program for Latinx youth), the Gap Year Association (national gap year accreditation organization) and serves on the City of Durham Women’s Commission.

Recently she was recognized as a Local Food Hero by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and also works as a facilitator on their Committee on Racial Equity in food systems team.

She hopes to one day open a second truck or restaurant as a platform for community culinary entrepreneurs to start their businesses, and to return to school to obtain a Masters in Business Administration or Education.

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