Celina Miranda takes on leadership of HSTF

Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) is having a busy year, including celebrating its 25th anniversary and hopefully finishing the renovation of its Cheverus Building. Entering that fold is the new executive director of Hyde Square Task Force, Celina Miranda, who is optimistic about the next 25 years for the organization.

Miranda boasts a productive history. Born in El Salvador and raised in Orange County, California, she moved to the Boston area to attend Smith College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Latin American literature and Latin American studies.

Miranda continued her studies at Boston University, gaining her master’s in social work and education, and most recently her doctorate in social work and sociology.

Miranda spent much of her career working in philanthropy. As a program associate at the Hyams Foundation, she managed youth development grants and initiatives. She has also served as the vice president and charitable giving manager for BNY Mellon Public Affairs, where she helped develop an initiative focused on youth aging out of foster care. Until recently, Miranda was senior program officer at the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, where she managed grants in education and economic mobility since 2012.

Celina also teaches at Boston University School of Social Work, and is a trustee of the Rutland Corner Foundation, which supports girl-serving programs throughout Greater Boston. She was also named a “Boston Latino on the Move” by the Boston Business Journal.

After working in philanthropy for over 10 years, Miranda realized that she missed working with youth and wanted to get closer to that.

“I felt like it was a great move (to this new position) for me,” Miranda said. “It seemed like a natural fit because it combines all of my passions very nicely.”

The organization and neighborhood have been familiar with Miranda for a while, as well. She was on HSTF’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2014. Jamaica Plain was the first neighborhood Miranda lived in when she first moved to Boston, and she’s known it professionally as a funder by supporting some organizations in the area.

Miranda says that the main project that HSTF is working on this year is the renovation of the Cheverus Building, the youth community development center behind Blessed Sacrament Church. She hopes that the project will be completed by the end of 2016.

“Right now, our programs are scattered in different sites,” Miranda said. “I’m looking forward to having everything in one building.”

Miranda reports that the project is going well, but they still need additional funding of $250,000 for its completion.

“We’re hoping to generate a lot of excitement around the [Cheverus renovation] project to generate and attract new donors,” she said.

Speaking of Blessed Sacrament Church, there is still no final answer as to what the fate of the building will be.

“We’re still weighing our options,” Miranda said.

She said HSTF aims to remain true to why the organization bought the church, which was to have the space be accessible to the community. But, Miranda said, HSTF has prioritized the Cheverus restoration for now.

As for the future of HSTF, the organization will be embarking on strategic planning next year. Miranda says they are also excited about the movement to redefine Hyde and Jackson square as Boston’s Latin Quarter.

“We [HSTF] will continue to strive to be leaders in the Latin Quarter, making sure our vision aligns with the residents and our youth,” Miranda said.

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