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Nonprofit leader to deliver Commencement address

Gloria Perez will speak at St. Kate’s Dec. 20.
Gloria Perez will speak at St. Kate’s Dec. 20.
Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Program.

The Jeremiah Program is spreading its wings — and Gloria Perez, president and CEO since May 1998, is leading the Twin Cities-based nonprofit’s replication in several states across the nation.

Perez will deliver the winter Commencement address at St. Catherine University on December 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the O’Shaughnessy.

Under her watch, the Jeremiah Program has evolved from an experimental model in Minneapolis to a $4 million-dollar operation with multiple resources for low-income, single mothers and their children in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. These resources, meant “to transform families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time,” includes affordable housing, employment and educational opportunities, and child development centers.

Perez brings more than 20 years of management, supervision and leadership experience to her position. Prior to the Jeremiah Program — which she helped to design — Perez served as executive director of Casa de Esperanza, a domestic-violence prevention agency in St. Paul. She volunteered at this nonprofit while attending Macalester College. Perez holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the college.

Her community service, volunteer work and professional affiliations include the Allina Health Systems Board of Directors, The Minneapolis Foundation Board of Trustees, F.R. Bigelow Foundation Board of Trustees, the Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation Board of Directors, Minneapolis Rotary #9, and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.

Previously, Perez served on the governing boards for the College of Saint Benedict, the Convent of the Visitation School, Family Housing Fund of Minnesota, Ripley Memorial Foundation, Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, and several neighborhood organizations.

Perez is a recipient of several leadership awards, including the 2004 Catharine Lealtald Service to Society Award, the 2008–09 Citizen of the Year Award from the Minneapolis University Rotary Club, the 2009 Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts Council of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, and the 2009 Unsung Hero Award from WomenVenture.

Recently, she was selected to be a 2012 Ascend Fellow by the Aspen Institute. This Washington D.C.-based nonprofit supports organizations that are pioneering two-generation approaches to ending poverty. She will work with 20 other dynamic leaders nationwide to further help families achieve education success and economic security.

Commencement details are available on the St. Kate's website.

Related story:
Winter 2012 Commencement honorary doctorate recipient: Father Dennis Dease


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Dec. 12, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Leadership, Liberal Arts, Social Justice