In her current capacity, Dr. Nina Moreno promotes equity for low-income communities by conducting research and developing strategies that sustain and scale Safe Passages’ Early Childhood, School Linked Services, Economic and Social Justice, and Career Pathways and Community Development initiatives.
In 1998, Dr. Moreno’s career began as the Director of the Family Group Decision Making Project and then later as the Executive Director of the Bushwick Community Development Unit, both projects of Agenda for Children Tomorrow in New York, NY, where she advanced equity for systems-involved families by reforming municipal service systems, policies, and procedures, thus increasing cross-systems collaboration. Between 2004 and 2010, Nina worked on state and national policy research and reform in the areas of health and education as the Regional Director of the Safe Haven Initiative at the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University and then as the Interim Executive Director at the Children’s Defense Fund- California.
Dr. Moreno is also the Founder and Principal of Moreno & Associates, a research and strategy group that advances equity by using evaluation to change cultures, institutions and policies. Some of Nina’s past and present clients include the University of California at Berkeley’s Latinx Center on Excellency in Behavioral Health, Seed Collaborative, the California Mental Health Services Authority, and the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas.
Nina, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, was born and raised between Brooklyn and The Bronx, New York City and is the daughter of a single-parent educator. She holds a Ph.D. in social welfare from The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Cornell University. When Nina is not conducting research and developing strategy, Nina may be found exploring the world with her partner.
Legislative and Community Development Director Alicia Perez comes to Safe Passages with an array of experience in the areas of community outreach, social service program implementation and public policy. Alicia oversees advocacy and communications efforts for the organization as well as serving as liaison with government officials. In addition, Alicia oversees the implementation of the Safe Passages Early Childhood Initiative. Prior to Safe Passages, Alicia Perez worked in the Office of the Superintendent for Oakland Unified District. She oversaw the district’s outreach efforts for opening of schools and student registration, the district’s state and federal advocacy efforts, and the implementation of several social service programs for students. In the legislative realm, Ms. Perez has been a policy advisor for former Assembly Member Delaine Eastin and to Oakland Councilmember Nancy J. Nadel. She has worked in the creation and implementation of social programs for children and families in Oakland and Chicago, and internationally in El Salvador, Colombia and Spain. Alicia E. Perez holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She earned her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Social Welfare and Comparative Literature.
Josefina Alvarado Mena was awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1996 after finishing her J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Josefina used her Echoing Green Fellowship to create the Educational Empowerment Program to provide free legal education and services to low income students in Oakland, California. In 1999, Josefina was recruited by an incoming Superintendent of Oakland Unified School District to head the Department of Student, Family, and Community Services. She was the youngest member of the Executive Cabinet in the history of the organization. During her tenure she helped expand after-school programs, violence prevention programs, parent engagement and mental health programs throughout the school district. As director of the department, she also led the effort to develop the Safe Passage Middle School Strategy that has resulted in a 72% decrease in suspensions for violence at target high need middle schools in Oakland. Josefina was then recruited to lead Safe Passages, a city-wide initiative designed to reduce violence among the children and youth of Oakland. Josefina was one of only 5 employees when she arrived at Safe Passages. Currently the organization has a staff of 125. As the Chief Executive Officer for Safe Passages, Josefina has grown the organization from a foundation funded initiative to a leading independent 501(c)(3) Multi-service Nonprofit Organization that implements a continuum of programs that serve children and youth, from birth through college and career. A native of Oakland, Josefina grew up in one of the neighborhoods served by Safe Passages. She received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 1993, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in May 1996. She is also a recipient of the following honors and awards: Echoing Green Global Fellowship 1996-1998, Education Advocacy Award 2003, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Alameda County; Outstanding Education Advocate 1999, People United for a Better Oakland (PUEBLO); Advocacy Award, California Latino Civil Rights Network 1998, and James Irvine Foundation California Leadership Award 2009.