The Director of Family Improvement Initiative (FII), Jesús Gerena, has been awarded a fellowship from the Barr Foundation in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Greater Boston’s children and families in need.
FII is the Jamaica Plain-based Boston branch of a national nonprofit that aims to help people help themselves by organizing families into self-sustaining support groups.
Fellows are selected for their outstanding contribution to Boston and their potential to drive positive change for years to come. Before FII, he was the deputy director of the Hyde Square Task Force.
“I am honored that the Barr Foundation has chosen to include me among such an amazing group of leaders and I look forward to the learning journey ahead,” Gerena told the Gazette. “The recognition speaks not just to my own accomplishments, but to the strength of our whole team and the families with whom we partner. It will be incredibly valuable to share with this distinguished group of Fellows the many things FII has learned over the last five years.”
Founded in 2010, FII-Boston is the local branch of a national nonprofit based in California. Its mission is to empower people to pull themselves out of poverty. Its models include the townships of African-American former slaves after the Civil War, and American immigrant communities such as the Irish, Italians and Chinese.
The Barr Fellowship includes a three-month sabbatical, the opportunity for global travel, and leadership retreats over three years. Fellows’ organizations also receive financial support to ensure effective interim management during a Fellow’s sabbatical, to promote organizational development, and for mentoring of emerging leadership.
For more information about FII, see fii.org.