Gloria Perez Jordan ’88

2004 Catharine Lealtad
Service to Society Award

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Gloria Perez Jordan is executive director of The Jeremiah Program in Minneapolis, which provides affordable housing and services to help low-income, single-parent women achieve economic self-suf.ciency. One of its first staff members, she helped design the program, which so far has helped 76 women to create more stable lives for themselves and their children.

Perez Jordan came to the program from Casa de Esperanza, an organization devoted to ending domestic violence in Latino families. She began working there as a volunteer children’s advocate during her college years, and continued to volunteer in various capacities while she owned and operated St. Paul’s New Westside and Eastside Cafes. In 1995, Perez Jordan became executive director of Casa de Esperanza, serving for three years before joining The Jeremiah Program.

In her six years at Jeremiah, it has grown from 18 residential units to 39, and its budget, once $650,000, is now $1.6 million. Star Tribune columnist Leonard Inskip wrote of the program: "Mothers gain a better sense of their own strengths in the marketplace and in raising their children. And that produces a better community."

Although her career has focused on culturally specific organizations, Perez Jordan has also been active in the wider community. She has served two terms on the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, which licenses physicians and upholds professional standards. She has also served on the boards of the Visitation School, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Neighborhood Development Alliance (chair), and the District 3 Planning Council, and as an adviser to The Children’s Defense Fund. Perez Jordan lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children.