Home | Legacy | Professional Experience | Speeches | Photo Gallery

Welcome to Gloria's Place

The Woman Behind The Name



Gloria M Guard, president of Families Forward Philadelphia and recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Philadelphia Award (2004), has devoted her life to social justice and the public interest. Guard is a relentless advocate for recognition of the problems faced by indigent inner city residents and for services needed to integrate them into the mainstream of our economic and social fabric. She believes that Philadelphia's most vulnerable citizens should have the best possible housing, education, jobs, social services, health care and technology. To this end, she builds partnerships, shares resources and provides leadership and encouragement to national political officials,  business leaders, neighborhood groups, and social service agencies, local and--perhaps most important to her--students and young people, who will embody the principles of equity, opportunity and social justice well beyond her lifetime.

Guard is one of the most respected champions of social justice citywide – “a major artery in this town’s heart,” Philadelphia Daily News columnist Dan Geringer once wrote.  Her relentless work on behalf of the city’s most vulnerable citizens earned her The 2004 Philadelphia Award, an honor reserved for the city’s most notable philanthropists, artists, political visionaries and social activists.  She has also received the Sower’s Seed Award from Trinity Washington University (2009), the Gold Coin Award from Inglis Foundation (2008), and was named one of the 75 Greatest Living Philadelphians by the Philadelphia Eagles and Dunkin Donuts (2007) and Citizen Volunteer of the Year Award from the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania (2001).

During her 26 years of leadership of  Pennsylvania’s oldest and most comprehensive agency serving homeless women and children, Guard has raised and overseen $90 million in revenue, transforming PEC from a volunteer-run homeless shelter into a service-rich nonprofit with a spinoff community development corporation and a workforce of 90. The end result is a tight-knit yet diverse complex of shelter and services, transitional housing, on-site case management, educational and vocational services, and affordable housing spread over several city blocks.  The cluster of PEC facilities is a cornerstone of West Philadelphia’s low-income Mantua/West Powelton neighborhood. The agency extends its reach even further every year with new projects for homeless families and additional affordable housing for the community.

Guard has transformed PEC into a nationally recognized model serving more than 400 homeless women and children each year with an annual budget of $8 million.  Over 90 percent of PEC’s shelter   and transitional housing residents remain self-sufficient after “graduating” from the agency’s programs. PEC’s community development arm has a growing inventory of properties and community programs, totaling almost 200 units of affordable and special needs housing.  Just as PEC in its social services programs has implemented many historic “firsts” in Pennsylvania (e.g. first on-site parenting education program for homeless families, first homeownership program for formerly homeless families), its community development activities are drawing national acclaim as pioneering efforts in bringing the benefits of new technologies to impoverished areas.  In conjunction with One Economy, PEC has launched Philadelphia’s first neighborhood-based Digital Inclusion Program, bringing computers, training and internet service to over 250 low-income households and creating the city’s first neighborhood-based wireless hotspot.

Guard believes that no social injustice can be effectively tackled without community-wide collaboration.   As a result she has a long history of serving on countless boards and advisory panels and shares her know-how with the next generation of policymakers through an adjunct professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, Fels School of Government and College of General Studies.  She Chairs the Regional Housing Legal Services Board and Co-Chairs the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, and serves on national, regional and local boards, including One Economy, the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, ING Direct Community Advisory Board.  Her many honors have included Trinity University’s “Sower’s Seed” Award (2009), the Professional Women’s Roundtable’s “PoWeR” Award (2009), the Philadelphia Eagles and Dunkin Donuts’ “75 Greatest Living Philadelphians” Award (2008), the United Way’s “Citizen of the Year” Award  (2001), and the Philadelphia Bar Foundation’s Louis D. Apothaker Award (2000).

Guard holds two Master’s degrees from Bryn Mawr College and received a Fannie Mae Fellowship to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (2001).  She lives in the Philadelphia area and has two children and four grandsons.



Families Forward Philadelphia

December 2011 – Present

Families Forward Philadelphia (FFP) was Travelers Aid in Philadelphia, founded in 1901 to assist immigrants, in particular women, arriving with no safe means to establish a home and livelihood. Today we primarily serve homeless families in our community. But the essential mission of helping those in poverty establish a home and become healthy, productive, and self-reliant remains the same.

We achieve this mission by providing a continuum of services: emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, intensive case management, and academic enrichment services for the children and young people that we serve. While our mission remains helping vulnerable populations achieve self-sufficiency, overthe last 110 years we have adapted to the changing needs of the community.

Responsibilities include governance, management, administration, program development and management, fund development, facility oversight, as well as advocacy and public policy work on behalf of the families we serve.

Regional Engagement Officer

One Economy

July 2010 to July 2011

One Economy (OE) is a global non-profit organization that leverages the power of technology and connects underserved communities around the world to vital information that will improve their lives.

Specifically, OE brings broadband into the homes of low-income people, employs youth to train their community members to use technology effectively, and provides public-purpose media properties that offer a wealth of information on education, jobs, health care and other vital issues.

In 2010, OE was the recipient of a multi-million dollar Stimulus Award and is charged with expanding broadband in states and localities from coast-to-coast. There are four Engagement Officers at OE who are tasked with being the voice and face of OE, of engaging civic leadership, and expanding broadband adoption among the most needy of our citizens.


People's Emergency Center (PEC), Philadelphia, PA,

June 1983 to June 2010

Manage the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's oldest and most comprehensive organization for homeless women, children, and teenage girls. Raise and administer a $ 7 million annual operating budget, supervise salaried staff of over 90, work closely with the agency’s community board of directors. Play leading role in development of federal, state and local policy and legislation in the areas of affordable housing & community development, welfare reform, family services, and homelessness.

Obtained and overseen the expenditure of $125 million in revenue from 1983 to 2010, with an expansion strategy that included enrichment of program offerings, creation of an affiliated neighborhood development corporation, and the establishment of a diverse fund-raising strategy aimed toward private giving, development partnerships and public funding. Annual income of agency grew exponentially from 1983, when total revenue was $200,000. Transformed PEC from a volunteer-run emergency shelter in West Philadelphia into a nationally-recognized model of comprehensive services for more than 400 homeless women and children annually.

Developed numerous program "firsts" in Pennsylvania's homeless-service and non-profit sector: parent-child education program for homeless mothers; on-site case management for homeless families; homeless family homeownership program; "one-stop" service center to help low-income mothers move from welfare to work; digital connector program; digitized legal library for administration; and created "PEC Bike-Share." Created PEC Community Playground; founded PEC Community Development Corporation to revitalize its low-income host neighborhood; established The PEC Foundation.


People's Emergency Center Community Development Corporation (PEC-CDC), Philadelphia

January 1993 - 2010

Supervise the daily operations of the facility-development and neighborhood-revitalization affiliate of PEC. Expanded the CDC into a nonprofit corporation spearheading diverse real estate development projects, commercial corridor programs and community outreach initiatives in West Philadelphia's Mantua-West Powelton neighborhood.

Attracted over $40 million in capital investments by converting 92 vacant properties into 200 units of affordable housing, recreation space, and four social service facilities.

Implemented programs offering a wide range of social services, referrals, and technical assistance to community members. Oversaw the creation of a home-repair and facade-improvement program that has subsidized critical repairs to nearly 50 neighborhood homeowners. Created a commercial corridor program for the revitalization of Lancaster Avenue, an historic neighborhood artery.

In conjunction with One Economy, launched Philadelphia's first neighborhood-based Digital Inclusion Program, bringing computers, training and internet service to over 200 low-income neighborhood families and creating the city's first neighborhood-based wireless hotspot.

Spearheaded neighborhood planning and feasibility studies for new projects, including an artist live-work development and a cultural center/artist studio on Lancaster Avenue.

Spearheaded the Sustainable Communities Initiative effort in West Philadelphia to help build strong, sustainable communities by nurturing the health, safety, social, environmental, and economic welfare of its citizens.

State Coordinator for Refugees

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Harrisburg, PA

February 1981 - June 1983

Oversaw policy, program management, State Plan, and regulation development for Pennsylvania's refugee assistance program. Disseminated $7 million in federal funds each year, negotiating grant awards with providers statewide whose agencies assisted refugees granted entry by the U.S. Department of State. Supervised statewide staff. Worked in concert with other states with large refugee populations, the U.S. DHHS, APWA members, and other national public interest groups.

Federal Liaison, Secretary's Office

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Harrisburg, PA

June 1978 - February 1981

Represented the Department's interests with legislative and administrative branches of the federal government, including the then-Title XX program, child welfare, public assistance and Medicaid. Lobbied for expansion of food stamp program. Successfully influenced the then-U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now DHHS) to open U.S. borders and the child welfare system to Indochinese refugee children.

Various direct service positions in the fields of hunger advocacy, substance abuse and family counseling

1970 - 1978

Development Staff, Nutritional Development Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

November 1977 - June 1978

Community Organizer, International Alcohol and Mental Health Associates.

September 1976 - October 1977

Judicial Coordinator, Philadelphia Alcohol-Highway Safety Program.

August 1973 - September 1976

Crisis Counselor, Choice.

1970 - 1973


1995 - present

Contracted by the City to mentor the leadership of a brand new non-profit, Overington House, that received a large grant to develop and operate an agency that has had a 12+ year long history of success.

Conducted a thorough assessment of a failing agency which resulted in a detailed report outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the organization along with practical steps to move forward.

Contracted by consultants to the City of New York to study their homeless programs, study the problem, and come up with a strategy and solution.

The sole representative of Philadelphia invited to Boston to participate in a large research project conducted by Tufts.  The study included homeless experts, housing developers, academic types, and social workers.  It compared place-based agencies, people/consumer based agencies, and agencies started by a county or city to solve a problem.

Ongoing volunteer consultant to dozens of start-up non-profits as well as leaders in the fields of homelessness, civic work, corporate and foundation decision makers, social workers, low-income housing, and technology. 


Adjunct Professor

University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government (2005)' School of Design/City Planning (2004) and College of General Studies/Urban Studies Division, Philadelphia 2002 to present.

Adjunct Professor

Chestnut Hill College, Masters in Human Services Administration, Graduate Division, Philadelphia, 2002-2004.


Bryn Mawr College, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Columbia University undergraduate and graduate schools, 1985 - present


Community College of Philadelphia, September 1982 - March 1983

Numerous Presentations

at national, state and local conferences, 1982 - present


Gloria Guard, "Homeless Children in Philadelphia; Promising Approaches & Recommendations," 2004, People's Emergency Center.

Gloria Guard, "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: People's Emergency Center," Housing America, 1993, Jess Lederman, Ed., pp. 317 - 330.


Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government

Summer Program for Senior Executives in State & Local Government, 2001

Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow

Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work

Master of Law and Social Policy (MLSP) 1980

Master of Social Service (MSS) 1978

Alumnae Scholar throughout both degrees

Marietta College, Ohio

Bachelor of Arts (BA) 1967

Trinity University, Washington, D.C.

1963 - 1966, Sociology Major


2011 - Sr. Kathryn Etchells, CSR Award

2010 - PEC Named Facility "Gloria's Place"

2010 - PEC Imprint Award

2010 - Keystone Leadership Award, UWSEPA campain, for eight + years

2010 – Nominated for the “Citizen of the Year Award” – Philadelphia Inquirer

2009 – PoWeR Award – Professional Women’s Roundtable

2009 - Sower's Seed Award - Trinity University

2008 - Gold Coin Award - Inglis Foundation

2008 - Distinguished Leadership Award - Community College of Philadelphia

2007 - 75 Greatest Living Philadelphians by Philadelphia Eagles and Dunkin' Donuts

2006 - Delaware Valley Housing Counseling Agency

2005 - The 2004 Philadelphia Award

2005 - Community Champion Award - NAHRO

2005 - Community Service Award,Sen. Vincent Hughes

2004 - Great Friends of Kids Award, Please Touch Museum

2002 - Tikun Olam - Congregation Kol Ami

2001 - Citizen Volunteer of the Year, United Way

2001 - Take the Lead Award, Girl Scouts SEPA

2000 - Louis D. Apothaker Award, Philadelphia Bar Foundation

2000 - Real Life Award U. S. Senator Rick Santorum

1998 - Women of Distinction, Forum of Executive Women

1996 - Voices of Vision, Women's Way Award

1995 - Homeless Relief Efforts Award, Wharton School of Business

1994 - Non-Profit Award

1993 - Good Neighbor Award, Mellon Bank Corp.

1993 - Philly 100, Philadelphia Business Journal

1991 - Woman of Distinction, Soroptimist International of Philadelphia

1990 - Outstanding Service Award Lutheran Women's Program, Philadelphia

1989 - Executive Director of the Year, (Inaugural Award) United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Gloria is one of five BMC accomplished alumnae (from undergraduate and graduate fields of study) featured in the video to be aired at the 125th Anniversary Scholarship Benefit in New York on April 27 2011


Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work Advisory Board

Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Affordable Housing Advisory Council

Regional Housing Legal Services, Board President


American Red Cross, Strategic Planning Committee

Associacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha, Advisory Board Member

Blueprint to End Homelessness, Co-Chair

Bryn Mawr College, Alumnae Scholarship Committee

Calcutta House, Board President

Community Affairs Task Force, Rick Santorum, United States Senate

Governor's Commission on Children and Families (Rendell)

Governor's Conference on Women, Statewide Steering Committee (Rendell)

Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange, Atlanta Leadership Program

Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, Co-Chair

Hands Across America, Regional and Statewide Boards

Homeless Advocacy Project of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Board

Homeless Assistance Fund, Inc. (HAFI), Board Member

Inglis Foundation, Board Member

Inglis Housing Corporation, Board Member

Junior League of Philadelphia, Community Advisory Board

MANNA, Metropolitan AIDS Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, Board

Mayor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Children's Behavioral Health (Mayor Street)

Mayor's Child Welfare Advisory Committee Member

Mayor's Domestic Violence Task Force, Member

Mayor's Public-Private Task Force on the Homeless, Co-Chair (Goode, Rendell)

Mayoral Transition Teams on Housing/Homelessness - (Nutter, Street, Goode, & Rendell)

MENSA of America

National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, Board

One Economy, Washington, D.C., National Board Member

Pennsylvania Low-Income Housing Coalition, Founding Board & Officer

Philadelphia 2016 Olympic Advisory Committee

Philadelphia Child Guidance Center, Board

Philadelphia Housing Policy Board (Rendell)

Philadelphia Task Force on Children at Risk (Rendell)

Philadelphia Writing Project, Advisory Board Member

Rainbow Endowment (national foundation) Board

Steering Committee, City Strategic Plan for Supportive Housing (Mayor Street)

United Way of Southeastern PA, Board, Executive Committee

United Way of Southeastern PA, Chair, Professional Advisory Committee

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Public Policy Committee

Women Organized Against Rape, Board & Officer

Copyright 2006 - 2014 Gloria Guard.info All rights reserved.

Powered By: GuardAndGoodman.com