Staff

Executive Staff

Executive Staff

Nilda Iris Ruiz, MBA
President and CEO
On March 15, 2005 Nilda Iris Ruiz took the helm of APM as only its second CEO since its inception in 1970…

On March 15, 2005 Nilda Iris Ruiz took the helm of APM as only its second CEO since its inception in 1970. Under Ms. Ruiz’s leadership, APM has soared to one of the most prominent Latino founded agencies in the nation, receiving awards for its transformative work helping thousands of families lift themselves from poverty, and bringing over a billion dollars of investments into Eastern North Philadelphia.

APM’s Paseo Verde, the hallmark of green buildings, was awarded triple LEED Platinum certification, including the first in the country to receive Platinum LEED Neighborhood Development certification. This $48-million, mixed-use Transit Oriented Development is the new headquarters for APM, and recently received U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes Project of the Year award, which is equivalent to the Academy Award for Best Picture of the year. APM has a rich history of award winning projects including; Sheridan Homes, its Gold-LEED-certified ‘green’ affordable housing development, National NACEY certification and PA Keystone 4 star rated Early Childhood Education Centers, to name a few. Today, APM stands strong with close to 300 staff serving the community, and a combined budget of over $45-million. Ms. Ruiz attributes her great success to wonderful supporters, staff that is from the community and has a real love and passion for the community they work in.

Nilda is known for building leadership and opportunities for community residents to thrive. She understands that long term success takes a village, together with collaboration of both the public and private sectors. She is a key community innovator in Philadelphia, respected for her multicultural leadership, nurturing and protecting children and education advocacy. Locally she serves on the board of the UAC, PNC Advisory Committee, and served as a mayoral appointee Commissioner on the Philadelphia Planning Commission, the Temple University Economic Opportunities Advisory Committee, PA Governor Tom Wolf’s Steering Committee and most recently asked by Mayor Jim Kenney to serve on a child welfare policy committee and the Vision Zero Taskforce.

In addition to being a power house in Philadelphia, Nilda also serves on many national boards including Local Initiative Support Corporation, National Puerto Rican Agenda as President, and just rotated off the Executive board of the National Council of La Raza, where she served for 6 years. She was recognized as one of the Top Power 100 in PA by City & State Pennsylvania News, and recognized by the PA Housing Finance Agency in their annual awards.

Nilda Ruiz practices what she preaches – born and raised in North Philadelphia, she spent her early years going through the public school system, followed by attending Temple University, where she earned a Bachelors and Eastern College for her MBA. Through her mom’s mantra of self-reliance and hard work Nilda lifted herself from poverty, and with the support of husband Sasha Singh, they adopted two beautiful children, Brian and Kimberly. These are the pillars of her strength and reasons for her love of family and community – and always recognizing and thanking God who is at the head of it all.

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Rasak Azeez
Senior Vice President of Administration & Finance / CFO
Mr. Azeez comes to APM in 2005 following seven years with the National Congress for Community Economic Development…

Mr. Azeez comes to APM in 2005 following seven years with the National Congress for Community Economic Development in Washington D.C., where he served as Vice President for Finance and Administration.

In this position, he managed all of the organization’s management operations including, finance, budgeting, accounting, human resources, Management Information Systems (MIS) and contract administration.

APM Board President Carlos Raul Rodriguez stated “The board of directors has been working closely with President & CEO Nilda I. Ruiz, on a new strategic plan that will bring stronger fiscal management to our organization. Azeez’s experience establishing budgeting and financial policies and his familiarity with the regulations of federal and private funding sources is critical. His role will be to monitor and improve APM’s organizational standards of performance, service delivery and quality.”

Prior to working in Washington, D.C. Azeez served for two years as director of finance at Bronx AIDS Services in New York. Azeez began his career as a staff accountant at the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Newark, New Jersey. In his 12 years with the commission, he rose through the ranks to become assistant administrator. In the position of Fiscal and Management Operations, he supervised the accounting and financial staff and managed, planned and monitored an agency budget and spending plans of $100 million and a payroll of over $60 million. He also monitored operations for cash management, collections and reconciliations, invested securities and prepared financial statements.

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Rose Gray
Senior Vice President of Community & Economic Development
Rose V. Gray is the Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development at Asociación Puertorriqueños En Marcha (APM)…

Rose V. Gray is the Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development at Asociación Puertorriqueños En Marcha (APM), a non-profit community development corporation in North Philadelphia.  Since joining the organization in 1990, Ms. Gray has been actively engaged in the revitalization of eastern North Philadelphia, a diverse community that has historically been comprised by Latinos and African Americans. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of APM’s community-based revitalization plan, from community organizing to planning and development. In addition to the physical redevelopment work, Ms. Gray manages APM’s rental and commercial portfolio, in addition to a housing counseling program which provides budgeting, pre- and post-mortgage counseling, credit repair, weatherization and basic system repair programs to persons of low and moderate income.

During her tenure at APM, Ms. Gray has successfully leveraged over $200 million in investments to implement a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy. She has developed over 350 units of affordable housing, which include low-income housing tax credit projects and the successful Pradera home development, a 153-unit homeownership zone within walking distance of Borinquen Plaza, a 44,000 square foot retail center (also developed by APM) that includes a supermarket, Laundromat and a credit union. In addition, Ms. Rose was responsible for the Paseo Verde Transit Oriented Development mixed-use development, which houses 120 units of market/affordable rental units and 30,000 square feet of retail/office space that consist of a Federally Qualified Health Center, a pharmacy, fitness gym, community center, and APM headquarters. The Paseo Verde TOD received triple LEED Platinum status in 2014 and is the first LEED Platinum Neighborhood Development in the Nation and second in the World.

Most recently, APM’s Preservation project managed by Ms. Gray received 2018 LIHTC and construction was completed in September 2018. This effort will ensure that 80 units of rental housing will remain affordable for the next 35 years.

Ms. Gray is a civic leader. She was one of seven delegates appointed by Governor Ridge to the “Summit for America’s Future”. She is a member of the Governor’s Advisory Board on Community and Economic Development, and serves on various boards and committees, TRF New Market Advisory Board, the Urban Land Institute, the Design Collaborative and was re-elected as the Board President for the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations. Ms. Gray was appointed to the Commission on Aging by Mayor Michael Nutter in 2011 and was re-appointed in 2016 by Mayor Jim Kenny.

Ms. Gray is a Guest Lecturer at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College and Rutgers New Brunswick Campus.

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Cheryl V. Pope, Ph.D.
Vice President of Health
Cheryl V. Pope, Ph. D., is APM’s Vice President of Health. Cheryl grew up in an area of North Philadelphia…

Cheryl V. Pope, Ph. D., is APM’s Vice President of Health. Cheryl grew up in an area of North Philadelphia where she experienced the highly negative effect poverty, drugs, alcohol and violence can have on a community. Despite that, even as a child, her interest was always ‘do better and make things better for others.’ After working in the Job Corps and getting her high school diploma there, she worked in the retail sector and then joined the United States Navy. Following seven years of service, she began working in the human services field as a support counselor for women and families at the Saint Barnabas Women’s Shelter, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She also worked in other social service systems, notably Northwestern Human Services and Resources for Human Development, providing behavioral modification support services to clients in community living arrangements and case management services for severely mentally ill adults living at home. While at Northwestern, she worked as the Supervisor for Targeted Case Management, pioneering a “behind the walls” initiative to give parolees accelerated state services.

She worked as a clinical supervisor of the Goldman Methadone Maintenance Clinic, an outpatient and inpatient substance abuse counselor, and as a psychotherapist at the Girard Medical Center.

She has a Master’s Degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, a Ph. D. in Addictions Psychology from Capella University and in 2011, Cheryl graduated from the Bryn Mawr College Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute.

Cheryl started her career with APM in 2009 as a Quality Assurance Coordinator.

Throughout her clinical and academic work, Cheryl felt the systems and theories affecting patients could be streamlined. Once she achieved her doctorate degree, it seemed natural that she move into program operations. When APM offered, she welcomed the opportunity to put her thoughts into action as Deputy Vice President of Health and Human Services for APM, where she manages DHS, OAS and HUD contracts while looking for opportunities to increase service availability to the population at large.

All of this was accomplished while raising a daughter, Nikiya, who is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Cheryl and her husband, Ronald are both passionate community service leaders.

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Donald E. Price, DTh
Vice President of Education, Training & Supportive Housing
Donald E. Price, DTh has provided strategic leadership to nonprofits for over twenty years, primarily serving urban communities…

Donald E. Price, DTh has provided strategic leadership to nonprofits for over twenty years, primarily serving urban communities in Latin America and the United States. Prior to joining APM, Price served as the Executive Director of Chester County Community Dental Center. Community Dental tripled its patient visits in the first three years of his tenure, and won the GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT Award for nonprofit excellence in his fourth year there.

Price led APM’s Health Services department for three years after coming to APM, and was responsible for writing the proposal that led to CBH approval for APM to open a third, model, clinic. As VP of Education, Training, and Supportive Housing, Dr. Price is responsible for Early Childhood Education, Workforce Development, and Homeless programs, in addition to spearheading APM’s project to start a Charter School.

Dr. Price also lived in Brazil for twenty years, where he taught the social sciences at both the Bachelor’s and Graduate levels, built his department and the school’s graduate program; and assisted with recovery projects in Angola and Mozambique during and following those countries’ civil wars. Further, he helped found a Brazilian NGO that started a series of orphanages in Indonesia and aided in tsunami relief and recovery in Banda Aceh, in addition to helping East Timor rebuild itself as a nation when it won its independence from Indonesia.

Throughout his career, Dr. Price has emphasized serving the whole person, not just one part, as well as developing organizational systems that communicate well with their environments. In this he echoes APM’s emphasis on providing a wide array of services that meet its clients’ needs. This way, both the client and the organization grow.

Dr. Price holds a Master and a Doctor of Theology in Missiology from the University of South Africa, as well as a Master of Arts in Christian Education and a Master of Divinity from Trinity International University. He is also an ordained teaching elder in the PC (USA).

Don has three adult daughters who consider themselves Brazilian-Americans. Two, in fact, were born in Brazil and hold dual citizenship, while the third wishes she did!

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Hector Colon-Rivera MD, CMRO
Medical Director
Dr. Colón-Rivera is a distinguished general, adolescent, and addiction psychiatrist of the Pennsylvania medical community. He has a broad experience…

Dr. Colón-Rivera is a distinguished general, adolescent, and addiction psychiatrist of the Pennsylvania medical community. He has a broad experience in community-based programs, with an emphasis on those that help to increase access to assisted medical treatments for patients with substance use disorder.

He is the Medical Director of the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Inc Behavioral Health Program (APM), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of Hispanic communities through direct behavior and substance use disorder services in the Philadelphia region. APM has functions related to education, health, human services, and community, foster homes, & economic development.

Dr. Colon Rivera is also an attending telemedicine physician and a participant in a grant funded by the NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) initiative at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). At UPMC, he is part of a team working on an emerging community program to increase rural access to medication-assisted treatments (MATs) for patients with substance use disorders.

Dr. Colon-Rivera serves as a clinical advisor for the Advisory on Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee for the State of Pennsylvania under the Governor Wolf administration and the senior advisor for the Opioid State Targeted Response Technical Assistance for Puerto Rico.

He is currently a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Einstein Medical Center where he teaches. He also gives didactics and serves as a mentor at the University of Pennsylvania and for Nurse Practitioners and medical students at the Drexel University both in Philadelphia.

He has participated in over 40 national and international presentations, workshops, and seminars on topics related to substance use and related disorders, social determinants, and mental health in adolescents. He is the recipient of a dozen of awards and merits including the 2019 Bruno Lima Award in Disaster Psychiatry, a national award that recognizes outstanding contributions of APA members in the care and understanding of the victims of disaster. He has over nine editorials and is currently working on his first author book.

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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with APM!

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with APM!

Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15)

During Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), we celebrate the rich histories, varied cultures, and important contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.  There is a lot to see and do in the city through the month, and..

Posted by Andrea Keliher
Effort to Alleviate Pain Now Causing Pain for Millions

Effort to Alleviate Pain Now Causing Pain for Millions

It Started As an Effort to Alleviate Pain…And Now It’s Causing Pain for Millions

If you’ve been in a doctor’s office in the last twenty years, you’ve probably seen it. It’s a chart of cartoon faces ranging from big smiles to frowns and grimaces. It first debuted in the mid-1990s,..

Posted by Andrea Keliher
Gift of Love Children’s Benefit: November 21, 2019

Gift of Love Children’s Benefit: November 21, 2019

Save the Date!

2019 Gift of Love
Thursday, November 21, 2019
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Union Trust, 717 Spring Garden Street

The APM Gift of Love Children’s Benefit is an annual gathering that celebrates bringing love, hope, and happiness..

Posted by Andrea Keliher
APM and Aetna Partner for a Day of Service

APM and Aetna Partner for a Day of Service

July 30, 2019, Philadelphia – Partnerships between the business and non-profit sectors continue to enhance communities.  A great example of such a partnership was the recent Day of Service co-hosted by Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Inc. (APM) and Aetna. The two groups..

Posted by Andrea Keliher
APM Celebrates Our “CFO of the Year” Rasak Azeez

APM Celebrates Our “CFO of the Year” Rasak Azeez

Photo courtesy Philadelphia Business Journal – Paul Coker

We are proud to celebrate APM’s CFO Rasak Azeez! The Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Rasak in its July 2019 feature article, “CFO of the Year: Saluting the Leading Chief Financial Officers in..

Posted by Andrea Keliher
Battling the Opioid Crisis to Create a Healthy Community

Battling the Opioid Crisis to Create a Healthy Community

City officials have stated clearly that “Philadelphia is facing the greatest health crisis in a century. Every neighborhood is being hit hard by an epidemic of opioid use and overdose.” But, you don’t have to tell that to Nilda Ruiz, CEO of Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Inc. (APM)…

Posted by Andrea Keliher
Ensuring a Future for Philadelphia’s Children – All of Them

Ensuring a Future for Philadelphia’s Children – All of Them

May is National Foster Care Month – a time to acknowledge and celebrate the foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors and professionals who help youth and children find permanent homes and connections. This is a special time for Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM), a Philadelphia-based..

Posted by Andrea Keliher