After 51 years, Chicago’s Casa Central Prepares for New Leadership
Chicago, IL – After more than 50 years with the Alvarez family at the helm, Casa Central, the Humboldt Park-based social service agency, is preparing to transition to new leadership. Together, Ann R. Alvarez, President and CEO of Casa Central and her husband, Rev. Daniel Alvarez, President Emeritus, will support the agency’s board in their national search for Casa Central’s next president and CEO.
“The legacy of Dan and Ann’s service to the community will never dim, because of their personal dedication to the organization and the strong board and staff they put in place,” said Susan L. Labun, a board member.
Under Alvarez’s 26-year tenure at Casa Central, the agency has nearly tripled its programs and resources. “Initially, the challenge was to advocate on behalf of the Latino community and to educate private and government agencies. We wanted to keep the mission and stay faithful to supporting families and to help them transform their lives,” said Alvarez, preparing for her retirement. Today, the agency serves more than 20,000 individuals a year.
As one of the foremost Hispanic social service organizations in the nation, Casa Central provides comprehensive, wrap-around services for low-income families – from early learning and youth development, to services for homeless families, and a continuum of care for older adults.
“Ann is well known in the Hispanic and non-profit world as a leader, mentor, and advocate,” said Casa Central Deputy Director of Children, Youth and Employment Training Programs Amanda McMillen. “She is evidence that someone that leads with heart, a strong mission, and a commitment to providing the highest quality services can transform a community.”
Before coming to Casa Central Alvarez served the Humboldt Park and West Town communities as a licensed clinical social worker in the Chicago Public Schools, working to ensure that the needs of the residents were met. Today, her leadership has allowed Casa Central to do the same.
“Her leadership has consistently been guided by her faith and her values, including compassion and advocacy for the individuals and communities we serve,” said Casa Central Deputy Director of Senior and Community Programs Illeana Gomez. “It has been a privilege and pleasure to work under the leadership of a Latina professional who is not only an amazing administrator, but who is also educated and trained as a social worker as well.”
Alvarez has garnered broad recognition as an inspirational leader throughout Chicago and the nation. In 2014 she was named in Today’s Chicago Woman as one of Chicago’s top “100 Women of Influence” and was also recognized in Ethisphere Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics” for leading Casa Central through agency-wide accreditation in 1997. In May of this year, Alvarez received the “Mujeres Destacadas 2015 Legacy Award” by ImpreMedia, one of the nation’s largest Spanish language media companies, for her years of dedication to Chicago’s Latino communities.
“My work here has allowed me to have a greater impact on the lives of those who need Casa Central’s services,” Alvarez said. “Casa Central will always be here to serve.”