Who We Are

SoBRO was founded in 1972 by a group of business executives and community leaders.  Our mission was urgent: reverse the flight of businesses and jobs from the South Bronx.  It was the first and most fundamental step toward rebuilding a community whose name evoked images of burned out buildings, crime, poverty, and drugs.  But as SoBRO began to evolve, it became clearer that community revitalization required a multifaceted effort.

Today we address all aspects of community development: assisting businesses to get started and grow, training residents according to the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses blight in the community.

Since our founding in 1972, SoBRO has served over 20,000 students, helped to create and retain more than 40,000 jobs for area residents, and created the climate for hundreds of million dollars of capital investment into the South Bronx.  Our success is exemplified by the following awards:

Executive Staff:

Lourdes Zapata

Lourdes Zapata President & CEO South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO)

Lourdes Zapata joined SoBRO in August of 2019 as its President/CEO – becoming the first woman and first Latina to lead this South Bronx economic development nonprofit corporation.

First established in 1972 to reverse the flight of businesses and jobs from the South Bronx, it has since evolved into a multifaceted organization addressing all aspects of community and economic development: assisting businesses to get started and grow, training residents according to the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses blight in the community.  Since its founding, SoBRO has served over 20,000 students, helped to create and retain more than 40,000 jobs for area residents, and created the climate for hundreds of million dollars of capital investment into the South Bronx.

Prior to joining SoBRO, Lourdes was appointed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo as Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York where she supported the Governor’s programs and initiatives to increase diversity within the State workforce and engaged in policy and program development to increase the participation of women and people of color in all areas of State government.

She also served the State as Executive Vice President of the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development at Empire State Development (ESD).  Her responsibilities included the development and oversight of statewide MWBE procurement policy as required by Article 15A of the Executive Law – reflective of New York State Governor Cuomo’s priority to promote equality of economic opportunities for Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and to eliminate barriers to their participation in obtaining State contracts.  She oversaw the Division’s certification, compliance and business development activities, and worked with State Commissioners and the Legislature on matters affecting the MWBE community.

Her public service also extends to her earlier tenure as Community Development Director for the City of Newburgh in Orange County, New York.

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Ms. Zapata received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from New York University and her Bachelor’s Degree from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.

Mission

SoBRO’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the South Bronx by strengthening businesses and creating innovative economic, housing, educational, and career development programs for youth and adults.

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Give

SoBRO is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in full or in part.

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Contact Us

  • 718-292-3113
  • info@sobro.org

Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.


© 2014 South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. SoBRO is registered trademark in the United States of America.
SoBRO is an equal opportunity employer/program.