Maria Dominguez Gray Named Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award Winner

December 10, 2020

Campus Compact is pleased to announce the recipient of this year’s Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award. The award celebrates the ethical leadership and advocacy demonstrated by Community Engagement Professionals. Recipients have demonstrated collaboration with communities focused on transformative change; a commitment to justice-oriented work; and an impact on the larger movement to build ethical and effective community engagement locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

The recipient of the Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award is Maria Dominguez Gray, Class of 1955 executive director of the Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard College. Dominguez Gray has had a profound impact on the way Harvard College fulfills its public service mission. She has developed deep and sustained community programs, including the Public Service Academy and the Y2Y Homeless Youth Program, which create environments where justice, equity, and community needs are centered, with community members serving as co-educators, co-facilitators, and co-learners. Dominguez Gray’s work has focused on ensuring that community engagement at Harvard College is guided by an equity lens. She has implemented numerous programs, including the Chan Stride Service Program, that offer students from marginalized backgrounds greater access to civic and community engagement opportunities. In doing so, she has helped build a new generation of justice-focused, engaged leaders at Harvard College who reflect the diversity of our society.

“Maria believes that the best student leaders are the ones who put the needs of the community first, and she has taught hundreds of students over the years this important lesson in humility and grace,” says Sarah Rosenkrantz, co-founder of the Y2Y Network. “She has pushed the university to view their commitment to public service not as perfunctory, but as an obligation to the Cambridge community and to the students who will become future leaders. She has raised the right type of student leaders; ones who create rather than take space; ones who will do what’s extraordinarily hard (such as not returning home during a pandemic) to do what is right; and ones who believe that the world can be made more just. She has convinced a diverse and widespread group of stakeholders to prioritize the needs of youth experiencing homelessness. And she has taught each of us what it means to lead with courage and compassion.”

The Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award is presented as part of Campus Compact’s Impact Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of individuals and institutions in pursuit of the public purposes of higher education. Read more about the other awards and this year’s recipients at compact.org/2020-impact-award-recipients.

All award winners will be recognized at a virtual Awards Celebration in the spring of 2021.

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