NEWARK, NJ — La Casa de Don Pedro, a nonprofit organization that serves the greater Newark region through social services and community development work, has appointed former Ocean County YMCA President and CEO Peter T. Rosario as its first president and CEO. As New Jersey’s largest Latinx nonprofit organization, La Casa serves upward of 50,000 people per year with its 280 employees.
La Casa was formed in 1972 following a period of social unrest in the late 1960s in Newark. With its comprehensive offering of programs and services, La Casa aims to reverse the trajectory of social, racial, political and economic dislocations and marginalization of children and families. Its mission is to foster self-sufficiency, empowerment and neighborhood revitalization through advocacy, education and support.
“We welcome Peter Rosario to La Casa de Don Pedro. Rosario will be a great asset as the organization’s new leader, having worked for some of the region’s leading nonprofit organizations for nearly three decades,” said Arcelio Aponte, president of La Casa’s board of directors. “His success in the field, passion for La Casa’s mission and focus on what matters in people’s lives made him the unanimous choice for the role. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank La Casa’s staff for their efforts in managing the leadership transition. We welcome Rosario as our new president and CEO.”
“I am humbled and excited to join the amazing team at La Casa de Don Pedro,” Rosario said. “I want to thank the board of directors for placing its trust in me to lead the organization into its next chapter of service to the communities that we serve. I am also grateful for the warm welcome that the staff, donors, community partners and others have provided me.”
Rosario will succeed former Executive Director Raymond Ocasio, who led La Casa for 23 years, during which the organization’s annual operating budget grew from $3 million to $26 million. Statewide, Ocasio is recognized for his leadership and advocacy, as evidenced by La Casa’s community development, affordable housing and early childhood education programs.
“I am pleased to be handing the reins to such a capable, visionary leader in Peter Rosario,” Ocasio said. “With his decades of service to communities across the state, he is an ideal person to lead La Casa as we celebrate our 50th anniversary next year and beyond.”
Growing up in the South Bronx, N.Y., Rosario’s interest and passion for community activism and service began at a young age through his church and as a Boy Scout. Rosario attended Fordham University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications while also volunteering for the Scout Reach program.
Throughout his nonprofit career, Rosario distinguished himself in multiple operational, fundraising and executive leadership roles. As president and CEO of the Ocean County YMCA in Toms River, Rosario led a turnaround effort, attracting more than 10,000 members and ultimately serving as the county’s leading provider of childcare, aquatics and wellness programs.
“We established the first-ever Summer Meals Program, where we served 700 to 900 meals a day in a community where many residents didn’t even recognize they had a food-insecurity problem,” Rosario said.
Prior to the Ocean County YMCA, Rosario served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for the YMCA of Newark and Vicinity. Rosario resides in Passaic, where he served two terms on the Passaic City Board of Education and served as president, vice president and chairperson of five committees during his tenure.
“Racial and social justice is our No. 1 priority across the board,” Rosario said. “As the go-to organization for the Latinx community serving black and brown residents, we must take diversity and inclusion to the next level. We’re trying to create an ecosystem of care for our community, focusing on wealth building, not just social services.”