Whether it’s her work as chief program officer for the North Shore Community Development Coalition, establishing ministry and liturgical circles to support women at her church, serving on countless boards, or becoming a foster parent, Felicia Pierce is tirelessly devoted to her community.
“My life’s work has always been committed to community, even outside of work,” she says.
That’s been true since she was growing up in New York as a “camp counselor” kind of kid, working for the New York City Housing Authority as early as her teen years and learning how people’s stories can help mobilize and catalyze change. That only became clearer after earning her master’s in social work, which was focused on community organization and planning, as well as her work at a community development organization in Harlem.
“My career has always led me to [ask] how do you support communities at a larger level, but also utilize their voices to leverage opportunities for growth,” she says.
As chief program officer at the North Shore CDC, she’s helped countless young people find their footing during personal hardships and set them up to achieve long-term success.
She points to programs like Harbor Crossing, an apartment building that prioritizes young people ages 18 to 24 who are aging out of foster care or currently experiencing homelessness, and also includes on-site support services.
In developing such programs, Pierce has also been laser-focused on building partnerships, both within the organization and outside it, to ensure their long-term success and viability.
“One of my primary roles is really to think strategically about how we continue to invest in community, provide support, and the long-term sustainability of those programs,” she says, to ensure that funding and assistance continue far beyond the initial investment.
Just as Pierce is thinking about the bigger picture at work, she’s also committed to the bigger picture of her own role within the community. The North Shore transplant has put down major roots here in her dedication to volunteering in the region, from serving on the board of directors for Root North Shore to serving a successful term as president of the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition.
Pierce also recently become a foster mother, giving her another way to share some of the resources and blessings that she and her husband have, she says.
“When I think about God’s purpose for me on this earth, I do feel like part of it is to be a support and a helper to people,” Pierce says. “I know that I’m walking in my calling.”