Community & Government Affairs
Marcos Vilar was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He moved to the United States at the age of 14. Vilar has worked in Washington, D.C. in government, labor and non-profit settings. In Chicago, Illinois he worked as a High School teacher and in Florida, as a consultant for several non-profit and political entities. He currently runs a public relations consulting practice in Orlando Florida. Serving his clients in strategic planning, legislative and advocacy campaigns, issue campaigns, electoral campaigns, as well as, non-for-profit organizational development and management.
Marcos Vilar worked as a teacher in Chicago in the 1990’s. During his tenure at Roberto Community Academy he was best known for working with at risk youth, and integrating arts and cultural programming into after school programs. He was also advisor for the Student Government body and a leader of the local reform movement at the school.
In January of 2002, he moved to Washington D.C. and there held several national leadership posts including:
- National Field Director for Que Nada Nos Detenga, a voter registration campaign of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, that was implemented in over 10 cities in the United States.
- Executive Director for America’s Families United, a national voter registration campaign that resulted in more than 1 million new registered voters in more than 25 states in 2004; his work at America’s Families United was fundamental to the emergence of Catalist, the standard voter file database that is used today by progressive organizations from coast to coast. He was also a member of the first Catalist Board of Managers along with Laura Quinn and Harold Ickes.
- National Political Director for the Service Employees International Union where he developed a program that doubled member PAC contributions from 2005 to 2007; As Political Director of SEIU, including national campaign work and managing political relations for the two-million member union, Vilar focused on improving member databases and was responsible for aggressively growing the COPE Fund, SEIU’s Political Action Committee (PAC). During his two year tenure, the PAC doubled its annual income and became the largest PAC in the country, surpassing EMILY’s List.
- National Field Director for Mi Familia Vota Education Fund.
Vilar led mayor efforts to activate Latinos in the 2012 election cycle as National Field Director for Mi Familia Vota. In this role he was instrumental in the development and success of the National Latino Civic Engagement Table in Washington, DC, a coalition of national organizations working together to increase Latino civic participation in key states. The Table partners included NCLR, Center for Community Change, Voto Latino, Presente.org, LULAC, LCLAA, Hispanic Federation and others. In addition, he managed Mi Familia Vota’s start ups in Houston, Texas and Tampa, Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Vilar relocated to Florida in 2013, serving as statewide coordinator for the Alliance for Citizenship, a nationally coordinated campaign seeking to win comprehensive immigration reform for 11 million undocumented residents of the United States. He also worked for Florida New Majority as Statewide Field Director, working on various issues and electoral campaigns statewide. He is currently operating as a consultant for various campaigns, and organizations.
In 2017, Vilar served as the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Association of Realtors. With the Realtors, he led an increase in membership, produced recommendations for property tax reform, among other improvements to the day to day operations of the Association. He experienced the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and María first hand immediately leading fundraising efforts to rebuild the Association’s facilities after the storms and provide relief for hundreds of families who suffered losses after the hurricane.
Currently he runs his own consulting firm, Vilar Strategy Group. He offers a range of legislative, organizational and political services and advice to his clients. Some of his clients have included The New Florida Majority, The Orange County Democratic Party, TargetSmart, The National Association of Realtors, Open Society Foundations and Hispanic Federation.
Vilar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He currently resides in Orlando, Florida.