Rita Cortés

Rita Cortes
Executive Director, Menorah Heritage Foundation

Rita serves as the Executive Director of the Menorah Heritage Foundation. Her role is to guide the Foundation, in partnership with the Foundation Board, toward achieving its vision through grantmaking and resource stewardship. That vision reflects the Foundation’s Jewish communal and health care roots: “The Menorah Heritage Foundation, inspired by Jewish values, strategically supports organizations and initiatives that significantly improve the health and well-being of the greater Kansas City community.”  Rita and her team at the Foundation support the grantmaking, investment, finance and other functions of the organization.

Long active in the community, Rita brought deep experience to her current role in working with tax-exempt organizations and their board members. She currently serves on the boards of Nonprofit Connect, the Pembroke Hill School, Madam President Camp and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. In addition, she currently serves on the advisory boards of two local entrepreneurial companies and as a mentor in the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP). Prior to joining the Foundation, Rita served in volunteer leadership roles with a diverse group of community organizations including Truman Medical Centers, Kansas City CARE Health Center (formerly the KC Free Health Clinic), the Builder’s Association of Greater Kansas City, the Midwest Innocence Project, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Notre Dame de Sion School, the Human Rights Commission of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and Congregation Beth Shalom, among others. She also spent many years coaching high- school and youth girls’ basketball in Kansas City and the Washington D.C. area. In April 2019, Rita was elected as the Sub-district 1 representative to the Kansas City Public Schools Board and currently chairs the Finance Committee of the Board. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2015, Rita was a shareholder with Seigfreid Bingham, P.C. Her practice encompassed all aspects of general business law including business formations, business succession planning, contractual matters, estate planning, tax planning, real estate and construction law.  As a practicing attorney and former business owner, she brought experience on both sides of the table to issues faced by owners of closely-held businesses.

Earlier in her career, Rita spent nearly 20 years as the chief executive officer of Hoffman Cortes Contracting Company, a mid-size Kansas City-based commercial contractor with general contracting and masonry/masonry restoration operations. Prior to returning to Kansas City to join Hoffman Cortes, Rita practiced law in the Washington, D.C. area and, prior to attending law school, worked on the legislative staff of U.S. Senator John C. (Jack) Danforth. Rita’s education includes a B.A. (Political Science) from Rice University; a J.D. (with honors) from the George Washington University Law School; and an LL.M. in Taxation from UMKC.