Biography of Maria T. Bonilla-Giuriato


Maria T. Bonilla-Giuriato is a well-recognized leader throughout the state, nation and internationally. She has been involved in the community advocating for the disadvantaged for over thirty years. She has worked at empowering families, adults and youth by designing and creating programs that provide access to healthcare, employment, education, housing, financial, economic development and long-term self-sufficiency skills. She has also been a leader in creating ways to raise scholarship monies to provide low-income youth the opportunity to attend universities and colleges. She has raised several millions of dollars in local, state, national and bi-national education funds for students interested in pursuing their education.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato is President of Bonilla-Giuriato & Associates, Government & Public Affairs consulting services. She has been established for over 25 years as a consultant in the areas of health care, economic and business development, political advocacy and strategic planning, housing, education, public relations, government affairs, non-profit development and bi-national services. She established a business relations office in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in the areas of international trade and development, government affairs, economic development and corporate relations. She and her associates have created business and government projects in offices throughout Mexico such as Jalisco, Mexico City, DF. Yucatan, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Sinaloa and numerous other states. Projects range from community healthcare, microenterprise loan programs for women, housing, geriatric care, bio diesel plants, recycling, water systems, agriculture, import and export projects. She continuously works with a series of Fortune 500 companies on both a national and international level.

Currently, Ms. Giuriato is working as Principal Consultant with a group of established public affairs firms throughout the nation on various projects pertaining to business, government relations, health care, education, economic development and public policy issues in the state. She is also consulting a series of Federally Qualified Health Centers in the Central Coast, preparing them for the ongoing Affordable Care Act implementation. The clinics are a series of high-profile primary care facilities that provide outstanding healthcare services to patients in the most critical stages of need. She is directing all governmental, legislative, strategic planning, organizational development and safety-net healthcare delivery systems planning, while preparing for the new changes in healthcare reform and the onset of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act. She manages the series of consultants involved in the planning, data statistics collections, communications, legislation and coalition building and program delivery services. She leads the design of new human resources training, collaborative development, partner alliances and leads the grant development in state, federal, private and endowment funding opportunities. She guides the systems through Organizational Change training.

Previously, Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato was employed with the State of California as an Appointee of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In March 2010, she began her last assignment to serve as Deputy Secretary of External Affairs for his then newly-created by Executive Order, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato worked in partnership with Communications and International Trade units, due to her vast experience in communications, public relations and government affairs with large corporations, business and agriculture community as well as attendance both as former elected official and business member on trade missions throughout the world.

Governor Schwarzenegger honored Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato with her second appointment in January 2008 to serve in the State of California, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, Department of Real Estate (DRE) as the Real Estate Industry & Consumer Liaison. Due to her previous experience in the housing industry at both the development and policy levels, she was selected to coordinate with several state, federal and local departments and the Governor’s office. She worked directly with all real estate industry, banking industry, consumer groups, state and federal departments as well as lending institutions to find creative and innovative ways to provide foreclosure prevention efforts and help stimulate California’s economy by encouraging homeownership through special funding and partnerships.

One of her key focuses was gathering information, analyzing and providing community and industry input to the agency and Administration. She was a lead member of the Governor’s Foreclosure Prevention Task Force and assisted in developing housing policy recommendations to address the critical subprime lending issues. She was part of his legislative bill signing of major mortgage legislation that will protect homeowners in crisis and prevent the collection of loan modification advance fees.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato spent the last few years as the lead on coordinating the Project Homeowner Foreclosure Town Hall workshops being offered free to residents of California to help modify loans and keep them in their homes. This program was created by Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato and was funded through private sectors such as banking, title, insurance, etc. She also implemented the statewide DRE Media and Outreach Public Service Announcement (PSA) Plan that partnered with our national banks, federal government, private and non-profit agencies throughout the state to educate consumers on mortgage fraud, consumer complaints and homebuyer education opportunities. She is very instrumental in the creation of the Financial Literacy programs and continues to serve as advisor to numerous real estate and community non-profits who have developed programs in their regions.

Due to her extensive experience in numerous areas, the Former Governor’s Office also requested Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato to assist with key initiatives in housing, health, education and funding at the state level. She represented him as a surrogate when necessary at speaking engagements and is bilingual in Spanish and provided media interviews and has facilitated community dialogues on key issues. Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato worked with the Governor’s Office team in the planning, outreach and coordination efforts of the Binational Board of Governors Conference with Mexico in Hollywood years ago and chaired all his Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration events.

Her first appointment was serving as the Executive Director of the State of California Health Professions Education Foundation overseeing the Board of Trustees and department. She directed the programs that offer students the opportunity to enter the health professions and serve diverse underrepresented and economically disadvantaged communities. In return for this support, recipients agree to provide direct patient care in medically underserved areas of California. The majorities of these efforts are in the prime agricultural/ farm worker areas of the state. She coordinated directly with the major universities and colleges of the State of California such as our University of California and California State University systems of education excellence. During her tenure she raised over 12.5 million dollars for scholarships.

Prior to the Governor’s appointments, Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato worked for the County of Monterey for over 25 years and was the Community & Government Relations Director with the Monterey County Department of Social & Employment Services. She was responsible for the governmental policy, public and community relations, affordable housing, community health, agricultural/farm worker needs, economic development, education and strategic planning components of the department and county. She previously served as the Chief Aide to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. Prior to her role as Chief Aide, she was the former Administrator of the Monterey County Private Industry Council Programs now known as the Workforce Investment Board.

In 2002, Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato was elected to the Salinas City Council, representing District 5. She has served on several states, regional and local boards and was elected President of the California League of Cities, Monterey Bay Division representing over eighteen cities. The Board is comprised of elected officials from the Tri-County areas of Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato former and current work experience has a large percentage of her time dedicated to working with elected bodies of government at the city, county, state and federal levels. She has gained extensive experience in lobbying and advocacy on various issues and maintains strong relationships with these institutions. She has worked on many political campaigns, building community coalitions around political agendas and headed many campaigns besides her own.

One of her many accomplishments has been opening of a Housing Opportunity Center that has assisted over 9,000 families in obtaining home ownership through education and housing counseling services. Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato served as Chair of the Board and Advisor of the Monterey County Housing Alliance, and was instrumental in obtaining funding for the project from the City of Salinas, County of Monterey and private lending institutions throughout California and the United States. She was influential in spearheading efforts to address the predatory lending abuse that affected many communities by working closely with several State, Assembly and Congressional members on legislation.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato completed several critical projects that prioritized the needs of Monterey County’s low- income agricultural/farm worker families. She spearheaded the first Farmworker Housing and Health Needs Assessment that surveyed the housing and health conditions of farmworkers and their families. She engaged several partners including the private, public and national foundations in understanding the need for critical services and education in these communities. These efforts enhanced more effective health outcomes as well as promoted personal advocacy and leadership for the families. She believes that through education and training the community can have a voice and become advocates in addressing their individual and community needs.

Through these efforts, Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato has expanded the funding capacity for several projects and brought local, state, national and international attention to the needs of many. Several years ago she coordinated with the California-Mexico Health Initiative office based at UC Berkeley, Office of the President on the implementation of Binational Health Week. Due to her efforts, Monterey County received recognition for being one of the top counties to implement this new initiative. Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato served as the Binational Health Coordinator for Monterey County for the seven years. She also assisted many counties and states in establishing their first Binational Health activities.

Ms. Bonilla- Giuriato served as Chief Staff to the Four County Agricultural Worker Task Force which was a representation of the four counties of Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara. Her role was the coordination and implementation of a housing platform for Agricultural/Farm Worker communities and collaborative efforts on leveraging funding sources for development and construction of homes.

These efforts captured the attention of Mexico and Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato was invited to attend meetings with former President Vicente Fox and his Cabinet members regarding binational efforts. She met with him and his Directors of International and Community Relations to discuss the continued fostering of developing partnerships for the regions from which Mexican immigrants migrate to California. She attended several ten-day health, cultural and educational seminars in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Chihuahua and Oaxaca. Many of these tours focus on agricultural/farm worker issues, health policy, bicultural training, clinic design and planning with Mexico’s highest-ranking health and policy officials.

In May 2007, in collaboration with the Consul General of Mexico, she finalized the establishment of a binational social services protocol agreement to enhance services for American children born of undocumented immigrant parents. This effort ensured that under the Vienna Convention the children are protected under the protocol in both countries in critical situations that merits dual country support. This effort has served as a model for other counties and states in the nation.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato served as the county homeless services and was a key member of the FORA-Fort Ord Reuse Authority and working closely with all cities, county, federal government and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as his Education & Housing Co-Chair. She was able to advocate for funding efforts which brought in over 11 million dollars alone for the building and redevelopment of transitional and homeless housing units. She was instrumental in the creation and coordination of the Local Homeless Assistance Committee and managed the completion of Monterey County’s Community-Based Homeless Services Plan.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato was recently honored in August 2013 as LATINA Style Magazine “Entrepreneur of the Year” as a small business owner. In the past she has received numerous commendations and awards for her efforts from the Governor, Senate and Assembly members for her dedication in developing leadership and empowering youth and families. She was honored as Outstanding Woman of Monterey County and received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Hartnell Community College. She was selected as a Distinguished Fellow for the California State University Monterey Bay in 2002. She also received a Post Doctoral Recognition from the California State University system for her research and presentation on the “Plight of Farm Worker Communities”. Most recently, the Mexican Consulate honored her with its highest “Tequio” award in recognition of Outstanding Service to Mexican communities.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato is very active in leadership development and taught a course at the California State University Monterey Bay titled “Leadership in a Multicultural Society”. She has facilitated and been a speaker at several conferences, workshops, trainings and classes in the area of international trade, business development, political strategies, campaign management, real estate, health care, economic development, building corporate relations, social responsibility, education, affordable housing, agricultural/farm worker needs, home ownership opportunities, binational and migrant needs, community health, diversity, community assessment, strategic planning, building collaborative and leadership development for all ages.

Ms. Bonilla-Giuriato is very proud of her son, Armand, daughter Bianca and husband Ron and enjoys spending time at their educational, community and professional activities. She also enjoys reading and traveling to other countries throughout the world and learning about their history and cultures.

Maria T. Bonilla-Giuriato
745 Potrero Way
Salinas, California 93907
(831) 444-2907-cell
(831) 758-2744-fax