For nearly two decades, Adriana Murrietta has been a tireless leader in improving education outcomes for Arizona students. Her passion stems from her own experience being told as a teen that as an undocumented immigrant from Colombia, higher education was out of her reach. Adriana’s determination to attend university propelled her graduation from college and, eventually, her career improving the education experience for others.
In her work as a philanthropist, Adriana’s genius lies in identifying and nurturing talented change makers in Arizona’s education space. As the executive director of the Pharos Foundation, Adriana has awarded more than $15 million to organizations in Arizona. In this position, she spearheaded the organization’s work funding and implementing systemic changes to improve access to quality educational opportunities for all students, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Adriana has worked with nonprofit, government and education partners to fund innovative education strategies and identify key education leaders. In an innovative move to address Arizona’s teacher shortage, Adriana was a key partner in the creation of trailblazing of PXU City and Phoenix Educator Preparatory: an early-college, early-service high school that provides students opportunities to concurrently earn high school credit, early college credit and early teaching experiences.
Recognizing that Arizona Latinos are critical to Arizona’s future and must have power, influence and authority at all levels of education, Adriana was a key supporter of All in Education. In addition to funding, she contributes her time and expertise by serving on the board of All in Education to create access to opportunity and justice for Latino students and families. Adriana is also a founding board member of the Isac Amaya Foundation, which provides scholarships to higher education for all students, regardless of immigration status. Her work has been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal and Valle del Sol with the coveted 40 Under 40 and Exemplary Leadership awards.
Prior to her work with the Pharos Foundation, Adriana was the director of multicultural community engagement at Expect More Arizona. There, she led the organization’s statewide outreach and mobilization efforts within the Hispanic and Native American communities, and served as the liaison and Spanish spokesperson for media. Adriana had previously expanded her role in education advocacy and policy as the operations and development manager at Stand for Children Arizona. She began her career in education as a board member of the Unitarian Universalist Early Education Cooperative Preschool in Paradise Valley, which she later managed as interim director.
As an active and engaged member of her community, Adriana serves as an advisory board member for ALL in Education, Arizona Leads, the Desert Botanical Garden, and The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation. She is a Pahara Fellow and a graduate of the Hispanic Leadership Institute and Valley Leadership. Adriana resides in Phoenix with her husband, two daughters and three adorable pets.