James A. Montoya is the President & CEO of the Arizona Ivy League Project; a California based organization founded by Martin Mares in 1992 and expanded to Arizona by James in late 2008. The organization seeks to challenge the notion that Ivy League schools are not an option for low-income students and empower these students to apply and attend the leading institutions of higher education while committing time to giving back to their communities.
As a former inner city teacher James is a passionate advocate for underprivileged and underserved students and strives to expand their knowledge about educational opportunities through mentorship. He has more than 7 years of experience in working with non-profit organizations such as Friendly House. His involvement in organizations has aided in fostering partnerships and created more opportunities for the students he mentors. By way of his commitment James has aided in alleviating educational inequities in Arizona for the past several years.
James’ immense devotion and involvement to his community stems from his proximity to the students he mentors. He is an Arizona native that grew up in South Phoenix. He serves on the steering committee for Local First Arizona’s Fuerza Local. He is currently serving on Arizona State University’s Chavez Programs Advisory Committee and is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Generation Next Nonprofit Leadership Academy. He is also a recipient of the City of Phoenix: Friend of Phoenix. He was recently recognized for the inaugural 2015 Lideres Award from ASU's Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute for Alumni Achievement.
He graduated from Arizona State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English. James is also a devoted husband and proud father to his two young children that motivate much of his enthusiasm for the community they too are growing up in.