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María DeCastro Blake 
Community Service Award
2007 Honoree

Eliu Rivera
Executive Director, Puerto Rican Association for Community Organization (PACO)

Eliu Rivera was born in Aibonitio, Puerto Rico. When he was 14 years old his family moved to New Jersey, where he graduated from Dickinson High School and subsequently continued his studies at Rutgers University and Saint Peter’s College.

In 1970, he joined the Puertorriqueños Asociados for Community Organization (P.A.C.O.) agency in Jersey City. Mr. Rivera brought to the organization his training in Housing, Economic Development, Health and Education, a background and expertise that has proven very useful in his position as executive director of the P.A.C.O. Agency.

During the last 35 years Eliu Rivera has dedicated his life to advocate for human rights and has been the bridge of communication between the people and the government. His work has been recognized by many community groups and by members of the Latino community.

He has been instrumental in organizing many community groups. Among them: Hispanic Merchants, Tenant Organizations, Roberto Clemente Little League, Adult Leagues, Boys and Girls Scout Troops, Voter Registration Drives. Mr. Rivera also has worked hard to help victims of natural disasters throughout the world.

He has made sure that minority citizens climb the ladder of success by helping them obtain a better education and become self-sufficient. He has organized college admission fairs and provided training for the police, firemen and postal examinations. He has taken thousands of individuals off welfare by helping them join the work force. Mr. Rivera has also distinguished himself in the political arena, providing a great deal of support to candidates that are running for office.

Besides being the Executive Director of the P.A.C.O. Agency, Mr. Rivera has been appointed Deputy Mayor of the city of Jersey City and presently represents the fourth district in the Board of Chosen Freeholders. He is also the founder and President of the Liberty Academy Community Charter School, President of Puerto Rican Lutheran Housing Corporation and Vice President of Paulus Hook Community Housing Corporation.

Mr. Rivera’s hard work and valuable contributions have been recognized by many New Jersey organizations over the years. He has been the recipient of awards and citations from the Jersey City Police Dept., the Hispanic Firefighters of Hudson County, The Hudson County Labor Council for Latin Advancement, the Jersey City Borinquen Lions Club, the Jersey City Board of Education, the Hispanic Merchants Association, the Roberto Clemente Little League, the Jersey City Medical Center, the Christopher Columbus Foundation, Save Latin America, the Hudson County Hispanic American Law Enforcement Association, and the Urban League of Hudson County among others.


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