Robert M. Coard
M. Coard, president and CEO of Action for Boston Community Development
Inc. (ABCD), recently received the Massachusetts Women’s Political
Caucus’ “Good Guy” Award at a ceremony held at Boston’s Park Plaza
The Good Guy Award is given to men who have
“demonstrated an ongoing commitment to achieving parity for women,”
according to the caucus.
Also among this year’s awardees were former Gov. Paul Cellucci; Peter
Meade, executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of
Massachusetts; and Louis M. Ciavarra, managing partner of Bowditch
& Dewey LLP.
Coard has served as president and CEO of ABCD — Boston’s official
antipoverty agency and the largest human services agency in New
England, with a budget of $125 million and almost 1,000 staff members —
since 1968. As the agency’s Community Action Program Director from 1965
to 1968, he created ABCD’s decentralized neighborhood network system,
which provides programs, services and opportunities that meet specific
needs in every city neighborhood effectively with major programs
administered from ABCD’s downtown offices.
Prior to joining ABCD, he held managerial positions with the Boston
Redevelopment Authority, the Urban League and in the private sector.
In the late 1960s, Coard was appointed by Judge W. Arthur Garrity to
the 15-member Citywide Coordinating Council to advise on school
desegregation during Boston’s school busing crisis. He also initiated
action that resulted in a successful federal lawsuit against President
Richard Nixon over the president’s efforts to destroy the federal
Office of Economic Opportunity, which funded all antipoverty programs
at the time.
During his tenure at ABCD, Coard has built many significant
institutions, including the National Community Action Foundation, which
provides leadership to impact legislation affecting the nation’s poor;
CAPLAW, a national program to provide legal support to the nation’s
1,000-plus community action programs and their low-income constituents;
and Urban College of Boston, a fully accredited two-year college that
provides higher education opportunities to low-income Boston-area
Coard holds degrees from Boston University and completed course work at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the Ph.D. program in city
and regional planning. He also attended Harvard University’s Littauer
School of Public Administration and has received honorary degrees from
Simmons College and Lesley University.