Estela Ortega

The Unifier:

Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union is proud to be a Seattle institution. We have been a part of this community for more than 80 years and are reminded every day how lucky we are to be able to serve the people of this great city. That’s why we are excited to present the Seattle Original series, a tribute to this place and some of the unique people who make it what it is. If you are looking for a new place to do your banking, we would love to talk to you. Click here to learn more about SMCU.

Estela Ortega is committed to change. As a young woman in East Texas, she learned the importance of community and the power of working together to solve common problems and create better conditions.

As the Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza, Estela has brought the understanding she developed in her youth to making sure the people of the Beacon Hill community of all races have a place to go and have someone to watch out for them.

Estela knows that the power to make change comes from the relationships she builds with the people in the neighborhood, as well as the people in Olympia. Without understanding the needs of both groups, helping either becomes much more difficult.

That knowledge was essential to Estela in both founding El Centro de la Raza and developing Plaza Roberto Maestas, a low-income housing community named after her late husband and co-founder of El Centro de la Raza. Only after listening to the community was she able to determine what they really needed, and she used that knowledge to inform the design of the "Beloved Community" location.

SMCU is proud to partner with EL Centro de la Raza and Plaza Roberto Maestas, with a branch coming to the location soon.

Watch the video