Our Board of Directors

Rural Communities Rising (RCR) is a multigenerational, female, minority led organization established in the rural Central Valley aimed at cultivating an increased quality of life for rural Californians.

Elisa Rivera


Elisa Rivera has a background in education having taught children ages K-6. She has an extensive background in volunteer outreach and coordination, community organizing and communications. Elisa was raised as the daughter of two dedicated labor organizers, and lived in various cities throughout California. This upbringing has made Elisa passionate about advocating for the most vulnerable in our communities. She moved to the Central Valley during her time in high school and has chosen to raise her four children in the City of Kingsburg where she has resided since 1993.

Araceli Garcia Muñoz

Araceli is the daughter of immigrants and was raised in the rural Central San Joaquin Valley. She began her organizing career in the northern San Joaquin Valley at the age of 19. Her background includes leadership development,  public outreach and education, event planning, research, and campaign organizing.  She earned a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature with a minor in Sociology from the University of California, Merced. As a lifelong resident of the Central Valley Araceli is driven by love for her community and is dedicating to improving the lives of Valley families.

Jewel Hurtado

Jewel Hurtado was born and raised in the Central San Joaquin Valley. At the age of 22, Jewel already has a wealth of experience in community organizing, volunteer management, public speaking, and digital outreach. As the youngest elected official in the Central San Joaquin Valley, Jewel has become a powerful voice for young people in her community and beyond. She is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Sociology at Fresno City College. She has chosen to pursue her education locally with the desire of one day serving as a certified social worker in the community that saw her grow up. When not caring for her two year old son, Anthony, or studying Jewel can be found actively volunteering in Fresno County rural communities.

Magdalena Gomez

Magdalena Gomez has an expansive background in finance, organization development and strategy, community organizing, and non-profit operations. The daughter of dedicated community activist, she has maintained an interest in expanding opportunity for working class families throughout her life. It is this desire that led her to proudly earn her bachelors of science from Carleton College as a first generation college student. It is also what led Magdalena to leave a successful career in finance in the Bay Area for the opportunity to invest her talents back home in the rural Central San Joaquin Valley where she was raised.