I’m David Morales.
Growing up in a poor, mountainous region of Puerto Rico, I had no idea I would end up where I am today: an executive shaping the future of health care and public policy in America and a father dedicated to faith, family, and community.
My story is also about empowerment. Faith and resilience brought me off the streets and out of poverty and shaped who I am today. I strongly believe these same principles of faith and resilience can empower young men and women to transcend poverty, violence, and despair, just like I did.
I passionately encourage discounted youth—many who cannot see beyond their day-to-day lives—to dream big and have hope.
I am a living example that they can achieve more, be more, and become more. That they can attain prosperity and be a light to others if they dare to embrace self-reliance and personal responsibility.
As a health care executive, I get to see hopes and dreams lived out in the lives of members every day as I work to advance improvements in health care quality, access, and affordability.
In addition to leading a health plan, I have served as a senior executive for a multinational health care company, founded my own consulting company, and enjoyed a rewarding career in public service.
I served as Massachusetts Commissioner of Health Care Finance and Policy (now Center for Health Information and Analysis) and advised two governors (Republican and Democrat), a Senate president, and a Speaker of the House of Representatives. At 24 years old, I implemented the first-ever insurance-based prescription drug pilot for seniors, which became a model for Medicare Part D.
While my career has been built on determination, creativity, and innovation, my life has been defined by God, family, and service. That’s why my wife, Samanda, and I founded Ahora Inc., a not-for-profit dedicated to empowering working class families and low-income individuals, especially Latinos, to build self-reliance through budgeting, money management, and wealth building.
Samanda and I started our life together with very little money, and we’ve seen the power of personal responsibility, resilience, and discipline. We’ve changed the financial trajectory of our family, forever.
We want to empower more families to do the same.
I also take joy in being an athlete and a music junkie. Back in my younger days, I was a scholar athlete at Lynn Classical High School and a lead singer for Grupo Yagua. I also played middle linebacker at Bowdoin College, a place that forced me out of my comfort zone and opened my eyes to possibilities beyond my wildest imagination.
My interest in history and family drove me to become a collector of Puerto Rican recordings and to cofound the Puerto Rican Cuatro Project.
Today, I hold one of the largest collections of such music in the world. Puerto Rico’s narrative is chronicled in those records, and someday I will use them to tell the island’s story.
My proudest accomplishment?
Raising two strong, God-fearing boys and getting them started on their own journeys toward self-reliance and prosperity. They are my greatest legacy.
Co-Founder of Ahora Inc.
My wife, Samanda, and I founded Ahora Inc. along with other families who have a deep passion for advancing wealth building, self-reliance, and economic mobility. As a 501c3 not-for-profit, Ahora Inc. is dedicated to empowering socially and economically disadvantaged families to build wealth and advance a culture of saving and investing. Ahora Inc. provides financial education and coaching, and access to money management services to individuals and families who desire to build a better future for themselves.
The Cuatro Project is a nonprofit organization based in Northampton, Massachusetts, and Moca, Puerto Rico. Since 1992, volunteers—including me—have been dedicated to studying, preserving, and promoting the artisan-musical traditions that surround our national instrument, el cuatro. We also focus on the family of musical instruments created since the eighteenth century in the central mountainous region of the island by the Puerto Rican jíbaros. I hold one of the largest collections of Puerto Rican records in the world, and have spent thousands of hours cataloging Puerto Rican traditional music and recordings.
Cofounder of The Cuatro Project
Guitarist and Singer
I’m a lifelong musician, singer, and old soul when it comes to music taste. In high school and college, a guitar was one of my best companions, and I still have a guitar prominently displayed in a main room of my house. It’s not hard to talk me into singing a song . . . or seven. Just ask my wife and boys! As the former lead singer of Grupo Yagua, I sang Puerto Rican aguinaldos to promote traditional Puerto Rican music. Today, I still play and sing regularly to feed my musician’s soul.