Crescentera has worked for over 25 years with other nonprofits establishing collaborations and relationships for fundraising and strategic vision, producing events, concerts, conferences, festivals, museum exhibits, performances, and films. The missions and causes have ranged from indigenous affairs to homelessness, peace and interfaith understanding, the environment, arts education, and community building, and have been presented in cathedrals, churches, museums, parks, public spaces, art centers and civic buildings. Crescentera has collaborated with private and public foundations, local governments, cultural institutes, NGO’s, and international organizations.
Crescentera is a California 501(c)(3) non profit corporation, founded in 1993 by Carina Courtright, who serves as its President and Managing Director.
Born in Los Angeles to a multicultural and international family, Carina was raised between California and Mexico and educated in both the US and Europe. She has traveled extensively, has lived in several cities internationally, and maintains strong personal and professional bonds around the world.
Carina received a BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California, with a minor in German, and completed the Cornell School of Hotel Administration professional program. Her hands-on experience in design and hotel management came at an early age through her family association with the legendary Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where she grew up and worked for several years. Carina held management positions in the hotel and design industries, including at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC and with Regent International Hotels. She was a partner and creator of the Hotel & Restaurant division of the design firm Swid Powell & Associates, whose work has been called “arguably the most important American design undertaking of the 1980s,” and also opened the NYC branch of Executive Search International, a five star hospitality search firm.
In New York, Carina became actively involved with the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, organizing major fundraising and cultural events, including its annual gala, the Giving of Thanks to the First Peoples, and the Sacred Arts Festival, and then started working with Amazonian leaders to bring their environmental message to the world. Inspired, she started to focus on bringing the concept of sustainability to the luxury hospitality market as a management and development consultant. Confronted with the enormous challenges presented by bridging this gap at a time when sustainability was barely a part of public discourse, she realized there was a critical need for broader social change, and decided to leave the hospitality industry to found Crescentera and concentrate on this mission full-time.
Over the years some of Carina’s and Crescentera’s accomplishments include bringing North American Indigenous and Spiritual Elders to the UN for the first time in history to deliver their prophecies and warnings regarding the environment. Also at the UN, she collaborated in the organization of two of the largest interfaith gatherings ever, which at the start of the new millennium brought together over 1000 leaders of the world’s diverse faith traditions in NYC, and later, 500 women religious and spiritual leaders from 75 countries to the UN in Geneva. She created and produced awards events honoring luminaries such as HH the XIII Dalai Lama, HM Queen Noor of Jordan, Sri Swami Satchidananda, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and Maestro Ravi Shankar.
Returning to Southern California, she led the complete strategic and business turnaround of the California Center for the Arts in San Diego County, a $95 million art center that was facing bankruptcy, by taking on the duties of interim CEO while serving as Board Chair. During and since that transformation, Crescentera has actively produced several of its large scale museum exhibits, festivals, and events.
Most recently Crescentera presented celebrations in honor of the 100th anniversary of Gregory Peck in association with the Rome Film Festival and the Italian Ministry of Culture, including an outdoor red carpet screening of Roman Holiday at the Spanish Steps in the famed Piazza di Spagna. In California Crescentera continues to present an annual Day of the Dead festival, now nearing its 25th anniversary, which attracts thousands of members of the community every year. And in collaboration with the City of Milan and the Vatican Museums, Crescentera produced the installation of The Last Supper: The Living Tableau, a short film bringing to life the renaissance masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci, at the Palazzo Reale in Milan’s renowned cathedral square.
Carina lives in both Rome and San Diego, from where she leads Crescentera’s projects and events, including the co-production of an independent feature film. She serves on several Boards and represents the Interfaith Center of NY in Europe by participating in international gatherings related to the global climate emergency and to peace through interfaith understanding.