Monica Ruiz, the Executive Director of Casa San José, was born in Cleveland, Ohio and has Latino roots from Guatemala and Puerto Rico. Monica has been working at Casa since 2014 when she started as an
intern, then moved to service coordinator and then to community organizer. Prior to that, Monica worked for Catholic Charities as a case manager. Monica holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on Community Organizing and Social Action. She also earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in Psychology. She completed the Lead Now Pittsburgh fellowship, a transformational leadership program for the civic sector in 2019. Monica is a powerful advocate for Latinos on legal, housing, development, and educational issues. She fights for those facing deportation proceedings and launches projects to assist women, children and youth. In addition, she partners with political, labor, religious, and law enforcement leadership to make Pittsburgh stronger and more welcoming to all. Monica has received numerous awards during her tenure at Casa, and has been actively engaged in the community through her extensive board service. She is a proud mother of one daughter and four sons. She loves cooking and enjoys playing soccer with her children.
●2021 Women and Business Award from Pittsburgh Magazine
●2021 Dr. Cyril Wecht Western PA Humanitarian Award
●2019 Women of Influence Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times
●2019 César Chávez Community Heroes Award.
●2018 New Person of the Year from the Thomas Merton Center
●2018 Rising Star from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work.
Monica serves on the following boards:
● ACLU Pennsylvania
● Jewish Family and Community Services, Legal Services for Immigrants and Internationals
● Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
● National Puerto Rican Agenda
● NeighborWorks of Western Pennsylvania (NWWPA)
● Pittsburgh Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (PEIDC)
● Pittsburgh United
● State of Pennsylvania Department of Health, Office of Health Equity Latino Advisory
● State of Pennsylvania Welcoming Caucus
● University of Pittsburgh Center for Migration, Displacement, and Community Studies
● University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work, Field Advisory Board
Monica is the co-chair of the Gainey Transition Committee on Equitable Development, Commissioner for the City of Pittsburgh on the Equal Opportunity Review Commission (EORC)
Commissioner for Governor Wolf on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA).