FPU leader wins $50,000 2024 Locke Innovative Leader Award

Executive director of the Fresno Pacific Center for Community Transformation recognized with award

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Carlos Huerta, right, at Reedley LaunchPad Pitch Fest, an activity for young entrepreneurs sponsored by FPU's Center for Community Transformation. At left is CCT Associate Director Bryan Feil. (FPU photo by Carolina Mueller)

A leader at Fresno Pacific University is among the winners of the 2024 Locke Innovative Leader Awards.

Carlos Huerta, executive director of the Fresno Pacific Center for Community Transformation, is one of five people nationally to receive the award, sponsored by Wesleyan Impact Partners. The CCT offers programs in social entrepreneurship, financial literacy, ministry leadership training and soft-skills job training.

“Huerta embodies loving your neighbor as yourself and is dedicated to teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurship courses through a theological lens in Spanish,” according to the January 23, 2024, announcement. Huerta earned two degrees from FPU: his bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2013 and his MBA in 2019.

Each Locke Innovative Leader Award honoree receives a $50,000 stipend and becomes part of a learning community to nurture their spirit and mission. To date, Wesleyan Impact Partners has invested nearly $1 million in Locke Innovative Leaders.

“These five spiritual innovators are creating new ways to transform lives and neighborhoods through asset-based community development, creative partnerships, social entrepreneurship and capacity building,” the Wesleyan Impact Partners statement says.

Wesleyan Impact Partners describes itself as “a national nonprofit dedicated to investing in growing the church’s impact and nourishing the communities it serves.”

Other 2024 winners are:

  • Jonathan Brooks, lead pastor at Lawndale Community Church in Chicago.
  • Rev. Heber Brown, III, founder of the Black Church Food Security Network in Baltimore.
  • Moy Mendez, executive director of Hope Center in Blue Island, Il.
  • Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean, Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton.

“The Locke Innovative Leader Award was created to honor and embolden innovators across the Wesleyan ecosystem who create new practices and ministries that help more people experience God’s love,” says Rev. Lisa Greenwood, president and CEO of Wesleyan Impact Partners. “This year’s honorees deeply embody that innovative spirit, demonstrating what it means to engage our neighborhoods and change systems at the grassroots level.”

“Each Locke Innovative Leader is both rooted and reaching. Rooted in their communities, traditions, the church and Wesleyan values, and reaching for a better life for everyone by gathering the imaginations, assets, and innovations of their local communities,” says Rev. Dr. Blair Thompson, chief learning and innovation officer for Wesleyan Impact Partners. “We are excited to have them join our growing cohort of Locke Innovative Leaders and learn from them to multiply our collective impact on the Wesleyan movement.”

The 2024 Locke Innovative Leader Award honorees will be recognized at Gathering Imaginations March 4-5, 2024, in Houston.

About the Center for Community Transformation
The Center for Community Transformation (CCT), part of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, encourages the social, economic, physical and spiritual welfare of the San Joaquin Valley. The center collaborates with people and organizations on initiatives including social enterprise, financial literacy and education for Latino pastors.

About Wesleyan Impact Partners
For more than 55 years, Austin-based Wesleyan Impact Partners has made thousands of loans totaling over half a billion dollars, empowering churches across the United States to pursue their God-sized dreams while also lifting up the work of courageous spiritual entrepreneurs. Learn more at wesleyanimpactpartners.org.

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