The Welcoming Center announces Anuj Gupta as its new President & CEO
Gupta played a key role in helping the organization get off the ground. Two decades later, he returns as its new lead executive.
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The Welcoming Center has announced that Anuj Gupta will serve as its next President and CEO.
He will be the 20-year-old organization’s third CEO, succeeding Peter Gonzales, who announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down from the role in June 2023 after 11 years at the helm.
Gonzales, however, will be staying on as a senior advisor for several months to assist Gupta in transitioning to his new role.
“It is an honor to serve the organization that has meant so much to immigrant communities and the city for over 20 years,” said Gupta is a statement.
“The potential of the Welcoming Center for enriching our city are limitless, and I am deeply grateful to the Board of Directors for entrusting me to continue the work that is so important for so many of our newest residents,” he added.
As the child of two immigrants from India, Gupta saw firsthand the impact that newcomers have to our society and will be tasked with building on that for other newcomers in his newest role.
Gupta has carved out a longstanding career in public service.
Most recently, he served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Dwight Evans. In the role, he oversaw the Congressman’s legislative and policy agenda, the communications strategy, and constituent service delivery, while managing staff in the Philadelphia and Washington offices.
He joined the Congressman’s cabinet in May 2020 after serving over 5 years as General Manager of Reading Terminal Market. His tenure at the helm of Reading Terminal Market was guided by a mission to open the Market’s doors to benefit newer Philadelphians.
In 2017, Gupta spearheaded the Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers project, which identified immigrant communities around the city that resided next to one another, then brought those neighbors together at the Market to share a meal and gain a better understanding of one another.
Since its launch, the project has connected 12 diverse communities across Philadelphia, and has been replicated four other times in Philadelphia and other American cities.
Other prior roles for Gupta include serving as executive director of Mt. Airy USA, where he created the Philadelphia Immigrant Innovation Hub in partnership with the Welcoming Center and FINANTA to bring immigrant entrepreneurs to northwest Philadelphia to provide them with subsidized co-working space, wrap-around technical services, and access to capital; and deputy managing director with the City of Philadelphia, where he oversaw the City’s language access program and led the effort to add 16 flags to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, organized the first naturalization ceremony in City Hall, and convened an immigrant integration workgroup, which became the precursor to the Office of Immigrant Affairs.
He also spent nearly four years as a real estate attorney at Ballard Spahr.
“Anuj Gupta is a proven leader in Philadelphia’s government, non-profit, and private sector communities,” said Welcoming Center board chair Hao-Li Tai Loh.
“Looking across his career, it’s easy to see an unwavering commitment to promoting inclusivity. He has built an impressive track record empowering the immigrant community and fostering their integration into Philadelphia,” she added.
Gupta’s latest role as the new President & CEO of The Welcoming Center marks a homecoming for him.
Over two decades ago as a graduate student, he wrote a report titled, “Immigration in Philadelphia: A Call to Action,” which went a long way toward helping Welcoming Center founder and inaugural President & CEO Anne O’Callaghan raise the initial seed capital to launch the organization.
Gupta served as one of the members of the organization’s first Board of Directors, and earlier this year was honored by The Welcoming Center as one of the 2023 Solas Award recipients for his work in helping the organization during its initial years.
“I’ve been committed to connecting our newest residents to the resources they need to get jobs, start businesses, and start on the path to a better life in America,” said Gupta.
“It’s a privilege to continue this work again at The Welcoming Center,” he concluded.