Princeton, New Jersey -- At the Princeton Family YMCA's Annual Meeting in December, the Board of Directors made history by electing Merilyn Rovira of Princeton to lead them as the Y's first female chair. Ms. Rovira has been a member of the Y's board of directors since May 2011. At the time, she was a board member with the Princeton Young Achievers (PYA), and when PYA was "adopted" by the YMCA that year, she enthusiastically joined the Y's board.
As a member of the YMCA board of directors, Merilyn has served in a variety of leadership roles, including First Vice Chair, as a key member of the executive and board development committees, and as a YMCA representative with the Princeton YMCA-YWCA Joint Trustees. During her tenure, she contributed significantly to the successful reorganization of the YMCA-YWCA campus which was completed in September 2016.
Since becoming a volunteer at the board level, Ms. Rovira has also become a very devoted Y member and energetic class participant. "Until I got involved with the Y, I had no idea what an amazing community treasure we have right here in the center of town. I started taking group exercise classes on Saturday mornings, and now I set my alarm so I don't miss my standing appointment with Coach Steve. As importantly as the workout, I've met and made friends with neighbors. As a result, I feel even more connected to my community – which isn't always easy with a commuter's life." She added, "I think that what makes the Y so meaningful is that every dollar the Y receives – membership dues, class fees or donations – is reinvested back into our programs and activities that benefit our community. That is very powerful for me. I am continuously blown away by how much impact is made, every day, by the Y. We're so proud of our recently completed renovations. I hope people will come see for themselves and take full advantage of this robust community resource."
Professionally, Ms. Rovira has more than 30 years' experience and accomplishment in housing finance and community development with broad-based skills in real estate finance, housing policy, capital raising, strategy government and industry relations. She is Senior Vice President – Capital/Strategic Initiatives with the Community Development Trust (CDT), a national investor in affordable housing based in New York City, where she was a founding officer. Prior to CDT, Ms. Rovira was a Director in the Housing and Community Development Group at Fannie Mae, leading community development initiatives in the Mid-Atlantic, a Senior Vice President at the Local Initiatives Managed Assets Corporation, a predecessor organization to CDT and a Senior Mortgage Officer at NYC's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Ms. Rovira has a BA in Economics from the University of Colorado and a MS in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mr. Rovira lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband Carlos Rodrigues, an urban planner, where together they raised their adult children, Tomaz and Natalia. She succeeds Paul Biondi of Skillman who served as chair for a two year term. Mr. Biondi will remain as a member of the board of directors, having served since 2011.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofit strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. www.princetonymca.org
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