Nilda Iris Ruiz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Inc. (APM). Founded in 1970, APM is a Latino-based health, human services and community development organization committed to helping Philadelphia area families achieve their full potential. …READ MORE
Nilda Iris Ruiz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Inc. (APM). Founded in 1970, APM is a Latino-based health, human services and community development organization committed to helping Philadelphia area families achieve their full potential. With a staff of 140, a $20 million budget, and more than $25 million in real estate development projects, APM impacts the lives of more than 40,000 individuals a year as it works with public-private partners to help improve the quality of life of the people it serves.
Since Ms. Ruiz’s arrival in March 2005, APM has embarked on a dynamic, new course which includes a full agency restructuring that maximizes the full potential of the agency’s human and capital resources while building on its nearly 40 years of service to the City’s Eastern North Philadelphia community.
This ambitious and successful agenda has repositioned APM to usher in a new era of progress for its community. In 2009, the agency was called upon twice by the Obama administration for APM’s expertise in education and housing, was named Hispanic Business Magazine’s ‘Top 25 Hispanic Non-Profits in the Nation’ for the third consecutive year as well as ‘Top 10 Health Care Organization’, again won accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), received the prestigious Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in Community Development, completed a total of 125 new, affordable homes for first-time homeowners, constructed a building for TruMark Financial Credit Union, and was selected by the National Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) to be the lead agency for its Sustainable Community Initiative. In 2010 APM will break ground on an award-winning, LEED-certified green affordable housing project as well as begin implementing a Transit Oriented Development in Eastern North Philadelphia.
Ms. Ruiz is a Mayoral Appointee to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and in 2008 served as Co-Chair of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s Transition Team. From October 1999 to March 2005, Ms. Ruiz was the Senior Community Development Director for the East Coast at National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national constituency-based Hispanic organization. She managed NCLR’s community development activities from Maine to Puerto Rico; provided training and technical assistance in real estate development finance and organizational management; and originated and underwrote revolving loans for the Raza Development Fund (NCLR’s subsidiary CDFI). In November 2009, Ms. Ruiz was appointed to the NCLR Board of Directors.
Her passion for the community comes from her childhood upbringing. She understands the issues and needs of Hispanics and understands the rigors of the disadvantaged. Her parents migrated from Puerto Rico to the US mainland not knowing any English. She was raised in genteel poverty in North Philadelphia. The family’s finances were constantly stressed, often to the limit, so to properly raise her family, her mother worked in a factory full-time and would take any part time selling position to help them survive. Ms. Ruiz credits her mother with instilling in her, her tremendous drive and ‘can-do’ attitude.
She has also been honored with a number of distinguished awards, including the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2009 Women of Distinction Award, Girls Inc. 2008 Strong, Smart and Bold Award, El Sol Latino Newspaper’s 2008 Crystal Award, the 2008 Hispanic Choice Award for Favorite Community Advocate, the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress and Impacto Latin Newspaper’s 2008 and 2009 Most Influential Latinos Award.
Ms. Ruiz has an undergraduate degree from Temple University and a Masters in Business Administration from Eastern College. She and her husband Sasha, a distinguished Iraq war veteran, live with their two children.