Our Staff

Individual Giving Officer
Community Renewal Society

Mary joined Community Renewal Society in June 2016. In her role as Individual Giving Officer, she seeks to merge issues of fundraising and faith. Mary has served as Development Director for Center for Independent Futures in Evanston, IL. She has also supported several organizations as a development consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Northwestern University and a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Mary hails from Minneapolis and now calls Chicago home. Mary and her family are members of Urban Village Church.

 

West Side Congregational Organizer
Community Renewal Society

Charles comes to CRS after 10 plus years at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, where he Co-Chaired their Re-Entry committee. That committee negotiated a Re-Entry Housing Pilot Program for ex-offenders with both the Chicago and Cook County Housing Authority.

Executive Coordinator
Community Renewal Society

Beth Babbitt Borst joined the staff of Community Renewal Society in 2006. As Executive Coordinator, Beth supports the Executive Director and the Board of Directors, in addition to working closely with the Finance and Administration unit. Prior to joining CRS, Beth served as the Director of Statistics for the General Council of Finance and Administration of the United Methodist Church.

Reporter
The Chicago Reporter

Kalyn Belsha writes about education for The Chicago Reporter — the same beat she covered at Catalyst Chicago before the two publications merged in 2016. Prior to that, Kalyn reported on schools in Chicago’s western suburbs for the Aurora Beacon-News and had a brief stint as a deputy press secretary for Chicago Public Schools. She received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and teaches at Loyola University Chicago.

Associate Director of City and County Policy
Community Renewal Society

Luis Carrizales, Associate Director of City and County Policy is passionate about working with community leaders to advocate for progressive criminal justice and education reform. Previously he worked at Enlace Chicago, a community-based organization in Chicago’s Southwest Side, where he convened the neighborhood-based Violence Prevention Collaborative.

Interim Executive Director
Community Renewal Society

Interim Executive Director, Rev. Robbie Craig, a retired Branch Manager of Citibank, with a career that spanned 40 years in the Financial Services Industry, is using her skills and experience in ministry at New Faith Baptist Church International in Matteson, IL, where she serves as the Director of Kingdom Financial Principles, helping congregants establish legacies, pass on generational wealth and become debt free using biblical principles. She also co-chairs the Justice Ministry at New Faith, as well as serving on the Matteson Business Association.

Executive Editor
The Chicago Reporter

Lorraine served as editor-in-chief of the Reporter’s sister publication Catalyst Chicago from 2004 to 2015 and as deputy editor prior to that. Her experience includes stints as a journalism instructor at Northwestern University and Columbia College; a writer and producer at WGN-TV; and reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Southtown. She received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from The Ohio State University.

Director of Organizing

Andrea  (Drea) Hall comes to Community Renewal Society with over ten years of organizing experience in the city of Chicago and a track record of building teams and coalitions for racial and economic justice, most recently as a senior manager at the Chicago Public Schools within the Office of Family and Community Engagement. Drea has always had a passion for working with people, especially those who she can help empower to help themselves and lead.

Associate Director of State Policy
Community Renewal Society

Lindsey Hammond, Associate Director of State Policy is passionate about mobilizing people of faith to advocate for economic and criminal justice policy changes.  As part of the policy team, she collaborates with organizing staff and CRS membership issue teams to explore community problems, research potential solutions, develop policy proposals, and build strategies for legislative and community campaigns.

Human Resources Administrator
Community Renewal Society

Jessica Hollie joined Community Renewal Society in May 2017. As the Human Resources Administrator, Ms. Hollie, among other things, manages employee relations, administers employee benefits, and oversees the company's policies and procedures. Prior to Community Renewal Society, Ms. Hollie worked for several not-for-profit organizations; she brings more than 15 years of human resources management experience to the organization. Ms. Hollie received her Master of Science in Human Resources Management from Roosevelt University.

Data Editor
The Chicago Reporter

Matt Kiefer is data editor at The Chicago Reporter. He spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and researcher for several Chicago-area newspapers — then took a sabbatical of sorts to do computer programming for a local software company. He learned a few new tricks during his stint in tech. Now, Matt helps the Reporter find needles in the haystacks of data concerning race and poverty in Chicago.

Reporter
The Chicago Reporter

A passion for community, enterprise and international reporting landed South Side native La Risa Lynch her dream job — a position at The Chicago Reporter. It is not her first stint at the investigative news organization, however. With her communications degree in hand from Alabama State University, La Risa interned at the Reporter many moons ago.

Accountant
Community Renewal Society

Cassandra McClendon joined the Community Renewal Society in June 2003 as a Financial Secretary. Aside from performing the day to day accounting functions you may also find her performing other tasks such as office services, reception duty, and some HR related tasks.

Prior to coming to CRS Cassandra worked for Neomedica Inc./Fresenius Medical Care NA a Nephrology Practice and Dialysis Clinic network where she gained worked experience in the areas of Office Services, Medical Billing, Purchasing, Administration, Accounting and Human Resources all promotions within the company.

Digital Editor
The Chicago Reporter

Asraa Mustufa is digital editor at The Chicago Reporter.  A Chicago transplant by way of New Jersey, Asraa has worked with various community organizations in the Chicago area, and has written and reported on national security, immigration, and police issues for Colorlines.com.  She studied journalism, political science, and south Asian studies at Rutgers University.

Database Reporter
The Chicago Reporter

Jonah Newman joined The Chicago Reporter in October 2014, after two years at The Chronicle of Higher Education, in Washington, D.C. He is a database reporter, which means he uses data of all kinds to tell stories that investigate, explore and, ultimately, complicate our understanding of the world. He loves few things as much as a good public-records fight and he is dogmatic about holding powerful institutions accountable. He received a 2013 National Award for Education Reporting for data journalism.

Deputy Director
Community Renewal Society

Deputy Director Delia Ramirez comes to Community Renewal Society from Common Cause Illinois, where she served as Campaign Manager, staffed their voting rights work and oversaw development and communications. Born and raised in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, she was involved with her local church from a very young age, which provided her with leadership and travel opportunities to Russia, Palestine, Bolivia and Grenada. These experiences inspired a strong commitment to community development and built a skill-set which equipped her to act upon that commitment.

Director of Policy
Community Renewal Society

Rev. Saeed Richardson was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1999, serving parishes and communities in North Carolina, Virginia, and Illinois since. Pastoring in the Washington Park community, Rev. Richardson currently serves in the Metro Chicago Region of the American Baptist Churches. As a bi-vocational pastor, he also served as a senior administrator at Duke University School of Medicine and The University of Chicago Medical Center. 

Editor & Publisher
The Chicago Reporter

Susan Smith Richardson is editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter. She’s been a crusading journalist for more years than she cares to remember, most of the time with daily newspapers. Her columns about gentrification helped her land a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, where she also earned a Master in Public Administration.

Director of Development
Community Renewal Society

Kris joined Community Renewal Society in 2002 as the Development Officer of Corporate and Major Giving. In 2016, Kris was promoted to Director of Development. As the Director of Development, Kris is responsible for the planning, implementation, and direction of all Community Renewal Society’s fundraising efforts, including the major gifts program, annual fund, planned giving, and special events.

Communications: Web and Data Specialist
Community Renewal Society

Meghan manages the website and contact management system for Community Renewal Society.  She joined CRS through the merger with Protestants for the Common Good.  She also works for Faith in Place as a consultant.  She is the Artistic Director of Local Infinities Visual theater and a performer with Mucca Pazza.

South Side Congregational Organizer
Community Renewal Society

Rishona came to CRS in 2017 and is an alumna of DePaul University, obtaining a B.S. in Commerce and a M.S. in Public Service Management. During her time at DePaul, Rishona fully embraced the Vincentian mission to make a difference, focus on social justice, and serve others by taking meaningful action. She was active in leadership roles with multiple campus groups, participated in the annual Vincentian Service Day events, and served as an International Summer Missions Team Leader for five years.

Associate Director of Technology
Community Renewal Society

Jim Trapp joined the Community Renewal Society in 1995.  Jim provides technology support that includes computers, computer networking  and telephone services.  Prior to joining CRS, Jim worked for IBM 24 years.  Jim enjoys family, politics and cooking.

Director of Finance & Administration
Community Renewal Society

Jawania Williams joined Community Renewal Society in May 2003. As Director of Finance and Administration, Ms. Williams, among other things, manages the organization's budgeting process, prepares financial statements, provides benefits administration and office management. Prior to Community Renewal, Ms. Williams worked for Plante & Moran, LLP, a public accounting firm; she brings eight years of accounting experience to the organization. Ms. Williams received her MBA in Non-Profit Management from Roosevelt University and her BA in Accounting from Western Michigan University.

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