Friendly House Appoints New President & CEO

Friendly House, one of Arizona’s pioneer social service agencies, announced that Avein Saaty-Tafoya has been appointed the new president & CEO. An experienced nonprofit leader, Saaty-Tafoya has more than 25 years of leadership experience, with a specific focus on providing integrated healthcare to underrepresented populations.

Most recently, Saaty-Tafoya served as executive director for the Institute for Mental Health Research and was president & CEO of Adelante Healthcare for 13 years. Saaty-Tafoya holds an MBA in healthcare management from the University of Phoenix, and a B.A. in biology from Capital University.

Friendly House was established in 1920 as part of a local initiative to help immigrants acquire the citizenship, education and literacy skills needed to acculturate into the United States. Saaty-Tafoya’s family were refugees, moving from Kurdistan to the U.S. after spending time in a refugee camp and a brief time in Germany. She identifies strongly with the mission of Friendly House to empower Arizona communities through education and human services, possessing a deep understanding and experience working to improve the lives of underrepresented populations.

Saaty-Tafoya succeeds Jerry Mendoza, who is retiring after five years as president & CEO of the 103-year-old nonprofit. “It has been an honor working with the team at Friendly House and I am thankful for the opportunity to give back to an organization that helped my family over 50 years ago. My tenure as CEO has been the highlight of my career working for the community,” Mendoza said.

Friendly House board chair Linda Mascari added, “We are beyond grateful for Jerry’s strong leadership and guidance, particularly during the pandemic. His commitment to and understanding of Friendly House’s 100+ year impact in the community was evident and not only helped keep this organization stable amidst turbulent times, but also inspired hope to thrive in our next century of service.”

In 100+ years, Friendly House has evolved into a multi-service organization with wide-ranging programs aimed at addressing the pressing needs of our diverse community: education, workforce development, family support, basic needs and immigration.

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