Celebrating Women in Leadership: Dr. Monette Ferguson

Mar 17, 2023

During Women’s History Month, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is profiling pioneering Women leaders who have made a mark on our community. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing stories of these important figures and showcasing their work to make Fairfield County and our state a stronger, more equitable community.

Dr. Monette Ferguson
Executive Director, Alliance for Community Empowerment

Born to humble beginnings, Dr. Monette Ferguson knew at a young age what it meant to grow up with the barriers of poverty.

Raised in Bridgeport by her mother and grandmother, the value of a good education was instilled in Monette and her five siblings from an early age.

“Education was always paramount in my household,” Dr. Ferguson said. “It was not only the great equalizer, but the great opportunity for us to attend a private school, go to college, and experience things that we wouldn’t normally do.”

Fueled by the goals her mother and grandmother established for her, Monette earned her undergraduate degree in general studies from the University of Bridgeport and then decided to further her education at the University of New Haven where she received her master’s degree in criminal justice. She later returned to the University of Bridgeport and received a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Today, as Executive Director of the Alliance for Community Empowerment, formerly Action for Bridgeport Community Development (ABCD, Inc.), Dr. Ferguson applies those valuable lessons from childhood along with her education and training in her tireless commitment to helping others rise out of poverty.

Since 2018, she has led the organization to fight against poverty, assisting more than 45,000 low-income individuals with vital resources that include energy assistance, housing, education, employment, and other basic needs such as food insecurities.

Her personal connection to Head Start programs – which promote school readiness among infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children from low-income families – plays a fundamental role in the work that she does.

And when she was a single mother raising a young son, he, too, was enrolled in Head Start and was even taught by the same teacher as his mother.

Dr. Ferguson’s lived experiences also drove home the importance of wraparound services for a family that is emerging out of poverty, an awareness that has not only helped her do this work, but to do it with passion and commitment.

“It’s not just about casework,” she said. “It’s really about understanding community needs, creating individual goals, and helping the people in this program take the necessary steps to achieve them.”

Executive Director
Alliance for Community Empowerment

“Personally, my experience as a Head Start child allows me to connect with moms in this program, and hopefully, I can be that reminder of hope and opportunity because it is possible.”

Dr. Ferguson began her career at ABCD in 2001, where she served as director of early learning, and in 2018, took on the role of chief compliance officer. Within that same year, she stepped into her current role as executive director.

She is most proud of the staff that she has had the pleasure of working with, some of whom she has worked with since she started 21 years ago.

And while she is the leader of the organization, the comradery, and familial atmosphere assures her that she does not lead alone.

“I am blessed to work each day with people who take this work just as seriously and passionately as I do.”

Love this story? Don’t miss Part 2 of our Women’s History Month series, spotlighting women who are shaping the future of Fairfield County. 

Join us in person at the Greenwich Hyatt or virtually via our live stream for our Fund for Women & Girls 2023 Luncheon! Get inspired by keynote speaker Misty Copeland, learn about our newest signature initiative, and support women and girls across Fairfield County in achieving their best lives. Learn more and get tickets.