2006 Inductee - Carol J. Ornelas

2006 Inductee - Carol J. Ornelas


Carol was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico to Isabel and Juan Lujan. She attended Our Lady of Guadalupe, and later Alvord Elementary School, and BF Junior High School for one year when her family moved to San Diego. She graduated from Morse High School in 1970 and went on to study at San Diego State University.

In 1970, Carol began her career in housing for a San Diego construction company who also developed affordable housing. In 1986, she began work with the ACLC, Association Campesino Lazaro Cardenas, a non-pr0pfit farm worker housing association, and began seeking ways to develop housing for low income families in the San Joaquin Valley. She has been instrumental in finding housing for over 900 families whose income is between @12,000 and $25,000 per year.

Moreover, she is the only San Joaquin County female non-profit developer in the past 20 years. Her labor and fine staff have been responsible for bringing in over $100 million in grants and private funding to further develop affordable housing in our valley. Thus, she has been a recipient of such prestigious awards as the 1999 Susan B. Anthony Achievement Award, the 2004 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year Award and the Affordable Housing Finance Magazine’s National Best Affordable Housing Project of the Year Award.

Carol has also been past president and is current member of the California Coalition for Rural Housing, past president of San Joaquin County Public Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, past member of St. Mary’s Dining Hall Board of Directors, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors of the Building Industry Association and Stockton’s Downtown Alliance.

In addition, Carol has begun construction on an additional 76 multi-family units, with 124 units pending and 300 single family units on the way! That she was never interested in playing with dolls, but with her big brother’s erector set is obvious. “It is because of the strength, courage and love that my mother gave to us…that I knew I wanted to make a difference.