Director of Policy, Laura Dean Friedrich Announces Retirement

Laura Dean

CHICAGO, Illinois (April 20, 2015) – Community Renewal Society’s (CRS) Director of Policy Laura Dean Friedrich has announced her retirement effective June 30, 2015. Ms. Friedrich was the first director of CRS’ Policy program established in 2012.

“I will always be grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of CRS and engage directly and deeply with our compelling mission, great staff and board, dynamic community leaders and worthy work,” said Ms. Friedrich.
She served as Director of Education and Advocacy at Protestants for the Common Good (PCG), beginning in 2007. Following the retirement of that organization’s Executive Director, Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, Ms. Friedrich served as PCG’s Interim Executive Director. Effective at the time of PCG’s merger with CRS, Ms. Friedrich was named Director of Policy at Community Renewal Society (CRS).

“Laura Dean’s understanding of the legislative process, passion, and sensitivity to the cause of justice for those in our community, particularly the most vulnerable, has been an enormous asset to our work. She has laid the ground for that to continue beyond her time here, but she will be sorely missed,” said Community Renewal Society’s Executive Director Rev. Curtiss DeYoung.

Ms. Friedrich’s engagement at Community Renewal Society brought her full circle in her professional life – one of her first jobs in Chicago was working with the Community Renewal Chorus.

“Over the past three years I have come to value and respect the organizing and policy development skills that Laura Dean exhibited. Her ability to build relationships with State legislators and formulate policies that helped CRS organizers win key legislation in the Illinois senate and house proved to help thousands of people,” said Reverend Eddie Knox, pastor of Pullman Presbyterian Church and member of the CRS Board of Directors.

Prior to her service with PCG and CRS, Ms. Friedrich worked at ChildServ and Casa Central. A member of Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, she has also been an active lay leader in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. Her husband, Rev. Cory Friedrich, is a retired clergy member of that denomination.

Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director of Arise Chicago and member of CRS’ Board of Directors said, "I've been in meetings, traveled to Springfield, rallied, and marched with Laura Dean dozens of times. Each time I thought, 'This woman is a force of nature!'. Then, I'd take quiet pride that we were both United Methodists!" 

Laura Dean’s principles have left a lasting mark on the people and organizations that she has worked with while at CRS. John Bouman, President of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law said, “She has added a strong moral and pastoral dimension that reminds the body politic in Illinois that the issues are not just about money and votes, but also about deeply held common values that should guide the state."

Community Renewal Society (CRS) is a faith-based organization that works with people and communities to address racism and poverty. CRS transforms society towards greater justice and compassion.

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