Eduardo Carrera Morales, CEO of the non-profit organization Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR) received the Thomas G. Garth Character and Courage Award, the most important recognition given to a professional from Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), organization to which BGCPR is affiliated.
The honor was officially presented at the Annual National Conference of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, in its 115th edition, held on May 4, 2020, in Philadelphia.
Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, highlighted the merits that Eduardo Carrera Morales, who was a participant of BGCPR during his childhood and youth, has to receive this high honor.
“In the midst of the difficulties and challenges brought by the pandemic, Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico maintained its operations so that children and youth get the academic support they need to achieve success, among other essential services such as hot meals delivery. Likewise, BGCPR extended its support to families and communities in their worst moments. This is not possible without a committed and dedicated work team. But, neither, without a strong, passionate, energetic and visionary leader who is always focused on the well-being and improvement of the children, youth, families and communities of Puerto Rico, and that leader is Eduardo Carrera Morales," the executive said on a recent visit to Puerto Rico, where he surprised Carrera Morales with the recognition, along with employees and members of the BGCPR Board of Directors who attended the ceremony virtually.
“Thomas Garth dedicated 40 years of his life to America’s childhood and was president of BGCA. I did not know him personally, but all the stories I hear about him speak of a legacy. The most important thing about Thomas Garth was that he led by his example, something that Eduardo does too. Thomas never hesitated to take charge of difficult situations, and this is something I admire about Eduardo; he is always oriented and focused on problem solving. Thomas demonstrated character, courage and conviction, and when I think of all of our professionals and these three qualities, Eduardo is one of the first people that comes to mind. For this reason, it is an honor that he is the one to receive this recognition this year,” Clark added.
Eduardo Carrera’s experience with Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico began when he was eight years old, when he became a member of the Boys & Girls Club at Las Margaritas Public Housing Project. There, he developed his basketball skills, which allowed him to obtain a scholarship at Colegio de Diego. In 1993, at the age of 18, he received the highest recognition given to a BGCPR participant for academic achievement, leadership and community service: being selected Youth of the Year. Later, also thanks to basketball, he obtained a scholarship at Washington & Jefferson College where he completed a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Studies and a minor in Philosophy.
In 2000, Eduardo joined the BGCPR family as Director of Operations. Since then, he has held different positions within the organization – executive vice president, president and chief executive officer (CEO) -, always focused on making it a benchmark within the third sector.
In this direction, he applied his business knowledge and used his expertise as a “Certified Balanced Scorecard Professional” to guide BGCPR to its induction into the 2010 Palladium Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for its excellence in the strategy execution. Other recognitions obtained by BGCPR thanks to his vision include: the Texas Award for Performance Excellence Achievement Level (in 2013, for management practices) and Puerto Rico’s Best Employers (from 2014 to 2018).
Eduardo Carrera’s leadership led him to be chosen as a presenter at the Mission Driven Management Summit for two consecutive years (2012 and 2013), as a curricular advisor to the Master Level of Boys & Girls Club University, and as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee. from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The legacy of this visionary leader has transcended the Clubs where the organization offers services. His conviction that it is possible to achieve an equitable and fair society has led him to lead proposals for the eradication of child poverty in local and federal forums, in collaboration with BGCPR’s partner organizations, the Institute for Youth Development and Vimenti.
“There are times when one is speechless and this is one of them. Time is very short when one meets the purpose one was set for one in this life. I thank God for having found my purpose, for having a supportive family, friends who follow it, and an army of people who believe in that very purpose. I am grateful to receive the award. But, the emotion is not for the award ”, expressed Eduardo Carrera upon receiving the Thomas G. Garth Character and Courage Award.
“Purpose doesn’t always come with footlights, with good things. When you find your real purpose, it hurts. There is something here in your stomach that makes you move, and for me, that is my family that is not next to me today because they did not have the same opportunities, the young people that I have had in my hands throughout these years and who are not here today, because they did not have the same opportunities, and those who now, today, are going to stop being here because they still do not have those opportunities. That is constant and permanent pain. So when you feel it, grab it because at the same time it is what gives you the strength to get up the next day … There is a lot of work to do and until the last of us has the same opportunities, that will continue to be manifested in that way,” he continued before receiving applause from his colleagues and mission allies, who admire the sense of innovation and the utopia that Eduardo has left as a legacy in Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico and its communities.