Guadagno named executive director of Mercy Center

Kim Guadagno has been named executive director of Mercy Center, an Asbury Park-based nonprofit that aims to help underserved communities — especially women and children.

The Mercy Center, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, provides programs and services that empower, enrich and educate people facing socioeconomic challenges to realize their full potential, with a special emphasis on women and children.

Guadagno succeeds Sister Carol Ann Henry, who retired this summer after 39 years of service.

Mercy Center board of trustees Chair Mary Beth Radke said Guadagno moved to the top of a large candidate pool.

“Our search for a new executive director allowed us to consider a number of excellent candidates from many walks of life and, after careful consideration, we are so pleased to welcome Kim Guadagno into this critical role,” she said. “Guadagno is passionate about our vision and will help to ensure that Mercy Center continues to grow and serve the greater Asbury Park community for many more years to come.”

Mercy Center offers the following programs:

  • Emergency services: It distributes food, clothing and utilities assistance to help sustain families facing financial difficulties;
  • The Family Resource Center: A “one-stop-shop” for resources, referrals, advocacy, counseling and behavior modification services available to families so they can maintain healthier lives and relationships;
  • Sisters Academy of New Jersey: A middle school for girls from economically challenged families, providing an education of excellence, life skills and the necessary tools so they become confident, self-sufficient and successful in competitive high schools.

Guadagno, who previously served as head of Fulfill, a Shore-area food pantry, said she aims to bring a voice to our neighbors in need.

“By addressing the needs of the entire family and providing a quality education to women at a very young age, Mercy Center truly attacks the very root of systemic poverty in our community,” she said. “Moving forward, as the state still suffers from the pandemic, I will strive to ensure that those hardest-hit in Asbury Park and surrounding areas are not forgotten and that they get the resources they need to build back stronger than ever before.

“Mercy Center is unique in that it holistically addresses the circumstances and needs of the individual through its various wrap-around services and program offerings. Additionally, through its strategic community collaborations, it can also offer access to other partner agencies that address the issues that contribute to family issues/hardships.”

Guadagno has been a Monmouth County resident for more than 30 years. In that time, she has raised her family in Monmouth County, been a town commissioner, the first female Monmouth County sheriff, the state’s first lieutenant governor and New Jersey’s 33rd secretary of state.