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.

 

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.

Policy Associate
Community Renewal Society

Luis Carrizales is a Policy Associate at Community Renewal Society. He 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.

FORCE Organizer
Community Renewal Society

Marlon Chamberlain was released from Federal Prison on May 29, 2012 after serving 10 years. Following his release,  he began working with FORCE (Fighting To Overcome Records & Create Equality), an initiative of the Community Renewal Society led by people with records, and currently serves as its Organizer. Marlon is also a student at Kennedy King College in pursuit of his Master’s degree in Social Work. Marlon believes that, through his experiences, God has prepared him for this work.

Executive Director
Community Renewal Society

Rev. Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Ed.D. arrived in 2014 to begin his tenure as the Executive Director of Community Renewal Society (CRS), a historic faith-based civil rights organization in Chicago working for systemic racial and economic justice through the unique programmatic combination of church-based community organizing, policy advocacy, and investigative journalism.

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.

Policy Associate
Community Renewal Society

Lindsey Hammond 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.

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.

Communications Associate
Community Renewal Society

Marisa joined Community Renewal Society in 2016 as an intern and is now full-time staff. As the Communications Associate, Marisa manages all of CRS' social media platforms, along with providing video/photo content through multi-media. Marisa recently graduated with a bachelor's degree from Trinity Christian College with a Mass Media Communications Degree.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Congregational Organizer
Community Renewal Society

Lori Radder joined the staff of Community Renewal Society in September 2016 as the North Area Congregational Organizer.  She organizes member congregations across the Northside of Chicago, the North and Northwest Suburbs of Cook County, and Lake County. Originally from Pennsylvania, Lori came to Illinois to attend Wheaton College, where she earned degrees in Sociology and Mathematics.

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.

Reporter
The Chicago Reporter

Melissa Sanchez began covering children, youth and families for The Chicago Reporter in July 2016, after spending more than two years at Catalyst Chicago. Prior to coming to Chicago, she spent four years in Miami writing about city government and politics in both English and Spanish for el Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald. Before that, Melissa reported on immigration and crime for the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic, and also spent a year in Nicaragua as a reporting fellow for the Inter American Press Association.

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.

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.

Marketing and Operations Manager
The Chicago Reporter

Christine Wachter is the marketing and operations manager at The Chicago Reporter. She may not be the one calling all the shots in the office, but she’s the staffer with the most seniority. Christine started out as a designer for the Reporter’s sister publication, Catalyst Chicago, back in 2002— fresh out of graduate school at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In 2006, she decided she didn’t have enough on her plate, so she took over the design for the Reporter and became presentation editor for both publications.

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.

Subscribe to CRS Main Feed