Staff

Executive Staff/Board of Directors

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 hard work Nilda lifted herself from poverty, and with the support of husband Sasha Singh, they adopted two beautiful children, Brian and Kimberly. Ruiz is proud to also have her mother (her hero) Brunilda Seguinot, living with the family. 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
Since 1990, Rose V. Gray has served as Director for Development for Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)…

Since 1990, Rose V. Gray has served as Director for Development for Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), a not-for-profit community development corporation in Philadelphia. In her capacity she oversees the implementation of the CDC’s strategic plan, developed in 1989 and re-tooled in 2002, designed to meet the ever-changing landscape of the community.

During her 15-year tenure, Ms. Gray has successfully developed 220 units of affordable rental housing; a day care center/head start program; Borinquen Plaza retail center, which houses a 44,000 square foot supermarket/Laundromat; and a pad site for future development. In 2003, she completed 58 units of single family housing targeting first time homebuyers. Currently, she is engaged in the development of 53 units of single family homeownership, a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the Temple Rail Station, and the development of APM’s new headquarters building.

Ms. Gray is responsible for all aspects of the CDC’s revitalization plan, which includes community organizing, strategic planning, feasibility assessment, site selection, finance packaging, construction and final disposition. She oversees the management of the CDC’s rental and commercial portfolio, and manages a housing counseling program that provides budgeting, pre- and post-mortgage counseling, credit repair, weatherization and basic system repair programs to those with low and/or moderate incomes. All housing services are coordinated and complimented with APM’s social service network.

Under Ms. Gray’s leadership, $86 million dollars has been secured for APM’s revitalization plan. A strong advocate of public/private partnerships, over the years she has established strong relationships with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, local foundations and banks. The City of Philadelphia Office of Neighborhood Transformation and the Redevelopment Authority have partnered with Ms. Gray on many of her affordable housing programs and currently are partnering on a 53-unit homeownership development.

Former Governor Tom Ridge appointed Ms. Gray to serve as one of the five State delegates to the “Summit for America’s Future”. Currently, she is a member of Governor Ed Rendell’s Advisory Board for Community and Economic Development. In addition, she is a member of The Reinvestment Community Lending Institute and serves on numerous boards, including the Pre-School Project, Hope Partnership for Education, Siloam, and the Bucks County Board for Community and Economic Development. In 2002, Ms. Gray was appointed as one of six Inner City Advisors for the Urban Land Institute.

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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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Elizabeth Colón
Vice President of Organizational Integration
Elizabeth Colón is an APM board alumni and success story, and is now the Vice President of Organizational Integration…

Elizabeth Colón is an APM board alumni and success story, and is now the Vice President of Organizational Integration.

Elizabeth Colón has dedicated her career to caring for the employee experience. Early on she unofficially liaised between the executive staff and employees and found her passion was educating employees at all levels on how to realize their personal and professional potential and how that ultimately impacts the company in a positive manner.

Liz comes to the APM with both non-profit and corporate experience in Payroll, Talent Management and Development, Communications and Event Planning. Her most recent experience with Comcast had her leading a cross functional team of over 30 employees to develop a new approach to performance management and a system implementation to support it.

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Rick Olmos
Director of Communications & External Affairs
Mr. Rick Olmos has worked for in the public relations and marketing field for over fifteen years…

Mr. Rick Olmos has worked for in the public relations and marketing field for over fifteen years. Prior to joining Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), Olmos served as Director of Communications for E3 Alliance, overseeing all design and public relations for the Central Texas education non-profit.

While at E3 Alliance, Olmos worked overseeing all design, public relations and translation. During his tenure, Mr. Olmos spearheaded a complete redesign of the public face of the E3 Alliance, including print, web and branding identities. His awards include two Addys while working for the Art Museum of South Texas and “Friend of the Arts” award from his volunteer work at Wynn Seale Academy of Fine Arts.

Olmos’ involvement in education stretches back over 25 years. He has taught ESL courses, using theatre and performance skills to teach literacy, mathematics and art. In an effort to give back to the educational community that encouraged his life, Olmos served as a longtime volunteer for Corpus Christi ISD, as an advisor for the Theatre Department of Wynn Seale Academy as well as a UIL one-act play festival judge for the region.

Mr. Olmos’ other career adventure is in the television/film industry where he works both in front of the camera as an actor and behind the camera as a casting director/extras casting director. Olmos has worked on such films as Selena, The Postman, Pearl Harbor and Dig. He has also been involved with the television series Friday Night Lights.

Mr. Olmos holds BA in Communications in the fields of Technical Theatre and Public Relations from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. A native Texan, Mr. Olmos is married to Wendy Bable, independent director and writer for Theatre for Young Audiences.

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Board of Directors

Douglas K Jenkins, Esq.
Board Chair

Tucker Law Group

Alberto Rivera-Rivera, Ed.D
1st Vice Chair

School District of Philadelphia

Pelayo Coll, Esq.
2nd Vice Chair

Blank Rome, LLP

Inspector Michael Cram
Secretary

Philadelphia Police Dept.

Reynaldo Jimenez
Treasurer

Rey’s Tax and Accounting Services

Ramon A. Arreola, Esq.

Golkow Hessel, LLC

Donald L. Haskin

Retired

Miriam Hernandez, Ed.D.

School District of Philadelphia

Jonathan Hood

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Mark L. Kirszner, DSW

Retired

Maria Montero

PA Convention Center Authority

Arturo Perez-Perez

General Service Administration

Claudia P. Roemer

Self Employed

Raymond A. Yabor

Owner, 503 Corp.

Donald R. Levesque

Self Employed

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