About us



Mercy Center creates opportunities for women, men and families in the South Bronx to grow and thrive through education, family, civic, social and economic programs. We build community with a spirit of hospitality, respect and equity in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy.




1990 – Mercy Center was founded

Founded in 1990, Mercy Center has grown from a volunteer counseling service operating out of a single classroom located in a Mott Haven school into a respected, community-based resource offering comprehensive, holistic services and programs that support our participants’ efforts to improve their lives.

1995 – Mercy Center was incorporated

We incorporated in 1995 and received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in 1996.

2003 – Mercy Center’s new building

In 2003 we constructed a two story building on East 145th Street to house our growing organization.

2015 – A new location

In 2015, with demand for our services increasing, we expanded to include a second location nearby on East 149th Street.

2020 – Mercy Center’s response to COVID-19

During the pandemic, we continued to be a valuable community resource.

About us

Our People, Our Neighborhood

Over the past thirty years, Mercy Center has developed into a trusted community resource for the predominantly low-income, immigrant residents of our Mott Haven neighborhood and other areas of the Bronx. Through our programs, we partner with women, men, and families as they address challenges faced by low-income immigrants, including their need for English language skills, adult education, financial coaching, affordable child care, family strengthening, and immigration assistance.

Through our core programs and a full complement of support services, Mercy Center addresses four critical challenges facing people who live in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx:

  • successful employment while escaping economic poverty
  • violent and oppressive behaviors in families and the community
  • overburdened and underperforming schools
  • helping immigrants escape feelings of isolation by recognizing the power they have to change their lives as a vital part of their community.


Mercy Center Staff Members

Stephen J. Stritch, III

Executive Director

Paula Sarro

Associate Executive Director

Archie Crawford

Director of Development

Linda Simmons

Chief Finance and Operations Director

Judit Criado Fiuza

Senior Director of Adult Education, Workforce & Immigration Programs

Debbie Panek, LMSW, MPH

Senior Director of Social Services, Family & Youth Programs

Julia M. Ponce-Vega, Esq.

Director of Immigrant Services

Catherine Loredo

Adult Education and Workforce Development Program Coordinator

Amalia Ruiz

Adult Education and Workforce Development Program Coordinator

Alma Osorio Alvarado

Senior Program Manager, Adult Education and Workforce Development

Ayesha S. Harrison

Program Manager Adult Education and Workforce Development

Nathalie Soto

Manager of Youth Programs

Lucia Lopez

Youth Program Associate

Fabiola Benitez

Youth Program Assistant

Maria Hernandez

Youth Program Assistant

Stacey Portoviejo

Youth Program Assistant

Carolyn Franco

Youth Program Assistant

Ron Zak

Director of Institutional Giving

Silvia Gonzalez

Office Manager/Development Associate

Marianne Sheridan

Manager for Special Projects

Jeremy Torres

Development Associate for Grants & Communications

Jonathan Acosta

Operations Manager

Lianis Vargas

NYC Benefits Project Coordinator

Richard Sanchez

Case Manager/Community Educator

Irma Carlos


Maria Calixto


Marta Guzman


Cristina Alejandro


Bridget Splain

Director of Asylum Seeker Initiatives

Jessica Tenesaca

Asylum Seeker Case Manager

Noemie Gerreth

Asylum Seekers DOJ Accredited Representative

Magalys Collado

Family Worker

Adrianny Vicente

Family Worker

Maritza Franklin-Porras


Jhensy Urbaez


Kristal Perez


Veronica Martinez


Thelma Guity


Stephanie Ruiz


Kelly Rothwell

HR Generalist

Beverly Heath

Accounting Associate/Bookkeeper

Fady Gattas

Grants Manager and Payroll Administrator

Tammy Huang


Mayra Sanchez-Estupiñan

Community Worker

Carolina Lobeto

Community Aide

Silvia Simon

Community Aide

Robert Guchinov

Immigrant Services Paralegal

Melina Rosa De Dios

Immigrant Services Legal Administrative Assistant

Jelani Spencer-Joe

Adult Education Teacher

Jake Lim

Adult Education Teacher

Griselda Ramos Marjolejo

Adult Education Teacher

Board of Directors

Sean Adcroft

Beth Beranbaum

Maria Brinkmann

Susana Camarena

Elizabeth Cassino

Stephen S. Coats, Treasurer

Blanca Cofino

Ana Collado

Beth Finnerty

Mary Galeone, RSM

Nancy Gallin

Sinead Keegan, Chairperson

Kathryne Lyons, Vice Chairperson

Eileen McDonnell, RSM

Robin McKenna

Nicole Perez, Secretary

Jeannette Pina

Daria Pizzetta

Michael Termini

Eileen Trainor, RSM

Stephen J. Stritch III – ex officio

Our Financials


Financial Statements


Form 990





Thanks to our supporters!

We are very grateful for the generosity of the individuals, groups, businesses, foundations, and friends that partner with us to provide education, family, civic, social, and economic programs to the residents of the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. Together, we’re making a difference in the lives of the women, men and families that reside in our community. 

Citizenship Project logo
Vinik Family Foundation logo
Sisters of Mercy Logo
Hispanic Federation Logo
O'neil Foundation logo
Mother Cabrini Health Foundation logo