Leading by Example
Doreen Ruggiero is an unsung hero in our community who is leading by example.
An Assistant Division Chief in the Juvenile Court Division for Miami-Dade County and a juris doctor, Doreen first learned of United Way of Miami-Dade almost 30 years ago when she started her career as a clerk in the office of Clerk of the Courts.
Since then, her involvement increased through the years and she was invited to be a member of United Way's Health Impact Council - a group key in identifying community needs and issues in the area of health, and in the decision-making of where and how to best allocate resources in order to achieve the greatest results.
"That really changed the way I felt about United Way. I've been to so many social service agencies and I've seen how the programs that are funded by United Way are changing lives," Doreen said. "More people would give if they knew of all of the outstanding work that United Way does."
Struggling to make ends meet, Doreen and her family came to Miami from New York in the early 70s, where she grew up and attended school. She received her bachelor's in public administration from Florida International University (FIU) and her Juris Doctorate from University of Miami. In addition to her position in the Juvenile Court Division, she has served as an adjunct professor of criminal justice at FIU for the past 14 years.
A breast cancer survivor, Doreen views giving back to the community an integral part of her life. She serves as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society, is a co-chair for Making Strides Against Cancer and has a leadership role in her church.
But what sets Doreen apart from others in the community is her desire to leave United Way a legacy gift through its Endowment Fund.
"I didn't want my participation with United Way to ever end. That's why I agreed to give United Way a percentage of my estate. The best thing I can do for my community, after I'm gone, is to have my contribution continue to help fund vital social services for the people of Miami-Dade County," Doreen concluded.