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Felix Torres-Colon named new director of NKCDC

New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) enthusiastically announces Felix Torres-Colon as its new executive director.

Torres-Colon is a veteran leader in the community development field with diverse experience in three metropolitan regions-—New England, Baltimore, and greater Philadelphia and New Jersey. He brings a lifelong commitment to community development, deep familiarity with the Philadelphia region, and warm relationships with many of NKCDC's partners, including the congressionally chartered NeighborWorks America organization, of which NKCDC is a member.

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"Felix is a kind and generous people person and I believe that the NKCDC staff and community members will come to appreciate his caring and calm nature as much as I have"

—Sandy Salzman, former NKCDC executive director


"I was delighted to learn of Felix's appointment as NKCDC's executive director," said Joan Straussman, interim regional vice-president of NeighborWorks America Northeast Region.

"Felix is a true champion of community development and fully understands what it takes to lead a successful organization. I have known Felix for many years working at NeighborWorks organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland and New Jersey. I look forward to continuing to support the exciting work of New Kensington Community Development Corporation, and to working with Felix in his new role," Straussman said.

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"Felix is a true champion of community development and fully understands what it takes to lead a successful organization."

—Joan Straussman, interim regional vice-president of NeighborWorks America Northeast Region


Until recently, Torres-Colon served as Director of Program Development at Saint Joseph's Carpenter Society (SJCS), a nonprofit devoted to improving quality of life and creating safe neighborhoods through homeownership in Camden, New Jersey. While at SJCS, he acted as a senior advisor to the executive director and as asset manager for over 300 rental units. He also supervised the organization's expansion into three surrounding municipalities and helped start several new programs.

Previously, from 2006 to 2011, Torres-Colon was executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore where he helped develop a foreclosure prevention program, chaired the Homeownership Preservation Coalition of Baltimore and pioneered a new payday lending program to compete with predatory payday lenders.

From 1996 to 2005, Torres-Colon served as executive director of Manchester Neighborhood Housing Services in Manchester, New Hampshire-—now NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire. The organization became a NeighborWorks Homeownership Center under his leadership, developing 140 units of rental housing and 20 units of homeownership, establishing a rehab program and providing homeownership counseling to over 1,900 families.

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"Along with the staff, the Philadelphia communities NKCDC works with are engaged and actively transforming themselves, which is a critical part of their success. Working with communities is the best job in community development"

—Felix Torres-Colon, NKCDC executive director


At NKCDC, Torres-Colon takes the place of longtime executive director, Sandy Salzman, who announced her retirement in October.

"I can't believe how happy I am that the board hired Felix Torres-Colon as my replacement," Salzman said. "I have known Felix many years through NeighborWorks America. With executive leadership experience in several dynamic NeighborWorks organizations, Felix brings exactly the skills we need to make a seamless transition and forge ahead with NKCDC's work."

"Felix is a kind and generous people person and I believe that the NKCDC staff and community members will come to appreciate his caring and calm nature as much as I have," Salzman said.

"I am very familiar with NKCDC having enjoyed Sandy Salzman's contribution during many NeighborWorks meetings over the years," Torres-Colon said. "I know that Sandy, her staff and the board have built one of the best CDCs in the country. I'm honored to be able to join them and contribute to this legacy."

"Along with the staff, the Philadelphia communities NKCDC works with are engaged and actively transforming themselves, which is a critical part of their success. Working with communities is the best job in community development," he said.

Torres-Colon was selected through a rigorous five-month national search led by NKCDC board president Wesley Cascone, vice president Timothy Lederer, and board members Deborah McColloch, Marilyn Pitt and Maura Shenker. Frontline Solutions (www.frontlinesol.com), a Philadelphia-based consulting firm, provided assistance. NKCDC staff were engaged throughout the process. Out of nearly 60 applicants, three finalists received interviews, fielded staff questions and toured the community.

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"The excitement around the hiring of Felix is not only with his breadth of knowledge and experience within our service lines or his calm leadership presence, but also his passion to push NKCDC forward to expand its recognition as a leading and innovative CDC in the Northeast."

—Wesley Cascone, NKCDC board president


"The excitement around the hiring of Felix is not only with his breadth of knowledge and experience within our service lines or his calm leadership presence," Cascone said, "but also his passion to push NKCDC forward to expand its recognition as a leading and innovative CDC in the Northeast."

Torres-Colon holds a bachelor's degree in History from Harvard University and completed graduate coursework in City Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He speaks fluent Spanish. Currently he serves as Board President for the Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey, creating partnerships of community development organizations and public health entities to improve healthcare and social services for southern New Jersey residents.

Torres-Colon lives in Willingboro, New Jersey, with his wife, Sharon Anderson, and several rescue dogs. His first day at NKCDC will be March 16.


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New Kensington Community Development Corporation
2515 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125
P: (215) 427-0350  |  F: (215) 427-1302  |  info@nkcdc.org
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