MCCJ, the non-profit organization that was founded in 1935 to spread inclusivity and more tolerance towards diversity, is now saying goodbye to long-time executive director Roberta D. Shevin and ushering a new era with the hiring of Nestor Rodriguez, a veteran in the nonprofit industry.
Since Roberta joined nine years ago, MCCJ has expanded significantly and received numerous accolades. MetroTown, one of its signature programs, has provided youth with the tools to identify prejudice and recognize their own privileges, rights, and responsibilities.
The Emerging Leaders program has given young professionals an opportunity to meet community leaders in a dinner setting. The public forum called “Can we Talk. Really, Can We Talk?” was created to give the community an opportunity to have a voice and interact in a civil conversation about the issues that concern and/or affect South Florida.
The Hank Meyer Headliner Award, which honors a national journalist, was revived during Shevin’s tenure and to date has honored notable journalists who mirror MCCJ’s mission of creating an inclusive community, such as Michelle Martin, Joy Reid, Chuck Todd, John Quiñones, Joshua Johnson, Charles M. Blow and Leonard Pitts Jr.
Because of these efforts, MCCJ has received the Essie Silva Award from the United Way and Community Partner Award from Barry University.
The non-profit organization, which was previously known as the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews, eventually stopped using its full name to simply go with the acronym of MCCJ because of its outreach and inclusion of all religious backgrounds, groups, races and cultures. As a testament to that, MCCJ was honored by the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations (COSMOS) for its outreach and inclusion of the Muslim community, and BMe (Black Male Engagement) honored MCCJ with the Vanguard Award. The recently created, South Florida initiative, #ConnectMiami, grew out of an idea that Shevin had and shared with the Miami Herald, Children’s Trust, United Way and Miami Foundation.
“It was a personal cherry on the top of the work I do for my hometown,” she said.
Her reason for stepping down was to concentrate on the work she loves to do, rather than spend so much time with the administrative side of things. She also is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren who live out of state. Shevin still will maintain a close relationship with MCCJ, but she hopes to continue her passion for inclusion as a consultant to local organizations and corporations.
As a seasoned nonprofit executive who has 30 years of nonprofit management and philanthropic development experience, Nestor Rodriguez will succeed Shevin as of May. Rodriguez is a longtime Miamian, and he is well respected in the nonprofit world.
“The MCCJ Board is confident that Nestor will be a strong leader. We look forward to his vision of the future of MCCJ, building on the legacy of success from nine years of Roberta Shevin’s leadership,” said Sherry Tropin, MCCJ Board chair.
Rodriguez brings a new perspective and ability to reach out to new areas of the community and has expertise in expanding the financial resources of the organization.
“I am honored to join MCCJ as executive director to build on their 83 years of successful community building through diversity and inclusion, while facilitating dialogue among people from different cultures and faiths,” he said. “As a Cuban immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, I have seen how Miami has grown during the past five decades, becoming a rich and dynamic, multi-cultural destination. I commend Roberta Shevin for her many contributions to MCCJ and look forward to bringing the organization to newer heights of success.”
Most recently, Rodriguez served as founding executive director of the Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County, a public-private partnership dedicated to providing citizenship classes and workshops, as well as financial inclusion and civics instruction to legal permanent residents pursuing naturalization in Miami-Dade.
For more information, visit www.miamiccj.org.