Founder's Story: Manos Unidas International
Celeste is the visionary for MUI’s newest program “Ayllu”, inspired by her participation in a “Women Leaders of the World” program (2018) and executed via University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Certificate program of Social Impact Studies (2020).
Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Celeste landed in Cusco, Peru as a volunteer while traveling through Latin America in 2004. She spent her first 2 years in Peru working for an NGO with children with disabilities before starting Manos Unidas Peru in 2007 with a local Peruvian school teacher. She has a psychology degree from the University of Washington (2003) with an emphasis in child development and has worked with children with autism and behavior disorders since 1999.
Celeste founded Manos Unidas International in 2014 as a primary fundraising arm and oversight organization for Manos Unidas Peru. Together with her father David Marion and colleague Lawson Baker, MUI flourished into a professional board of directors leading the way for the future of Manos Unidas Peru and beyond. Celeste has served as MUI’s Executive Director since its inception.
Celeste resided in Cusco, Peru for 15 years running Manos Unidas Peru on the ground and traveling yearly to different destinations in the U.S. to raise funds and support for MUP. In 2019, Celeste returned to the Greater Seattle Area with her husband and children to be closer to family and build out the next phase of her social impact.
Celeste’s vision has brought Manos Unidas and now project Ayllu into the lives of hundreds of families, children and educators over the past two decades. She will boldly continue to improve the lives of children with disabilities in the future.