Jesús Gerena is the Managing Partner of the Family Independence Initiative (FII-National), a national organization who does away with the traditional top-down approach to helping people struggling with poverty. Rather than promoting a new program, service or intervention, families are the change agents, and their model is to invest in them as well as the solutions they discover. Jesús started with FII initially launching it's site in Boston in 2010 and growing it from an initial 35 households to over 600 households representing over 2,400 adults and children. In that time families have had impressive results with many purchasing homes, starting or growing businesses, improving their health, or furthering their and their children’s education. These families are demonstrating, over and over again, the abilities of low income and working class families to achieve their goals once they have choice to seek their goals, access to capital, and strong connections to support them.
Jesús is a board member of The Community Builders and English for New Bostonians Prior to joining FII, he served as the Deputy Director of the Hyde Square Task Force, a program dedicated to empowering and engaging youth in Boston. In 2015, Jesús named as a Barr Foundation Fellow, class of 2015.