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Board of Directors

Brenda B. Asare

Brenda Asare is the President & CEO of the Alford Group. Additionally, Brenda is the 1st Vice Chair of the Giving Institute and serves as a board member for numerous philanthropic organizations. In 2021, Brenda was recognized as Crain's Notable Black Leaders and Executives for her commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the social impact sector. Prior to joining the Alford Group, she was Chief Development Officer with the American Red Cross in Chicago.

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Maureen L. Blaha

Maureen Blaha has had a long and illustrious career in the non-profit sector and before her recent retirement, served as executive director of the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), formerly the National Runaway Switchboard, the federally designated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth. Prior to her joining NRS, Maureen was the director of Children's Home and Aid's Parents Care and Share program and served as the legislative liaison for the Massachusetts Office for Children (OFC). 

George M. Covington

Former Chairman of Board of Grant Hospital of Chicago. Attorney practicing in Lake Forest, Illinois, specializing in real estate law, with a particular expertise in conservation easements.

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Robert L. Friedlander

Former board member of Grant Hospital of Chicago. International industrial development consultant; Chicago real estate investor; attorney and engineer.

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Cody McSellers-McCray, MPH, CHES

Cody McSellers-McCray received her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and Master's degree in Public Health, from Northern Illinois University. She also has a certificate in project management and nonprofit management. 

She has 20 years of experience developing and implementing innovative health equity strategies in health care systems, not-for-profits, foundations, government, and global organizations.

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Richard M. Norton

Former board member of Grant Hospital of Chicago. Managing Director of Richard Norton, Inc., and The Country House, Lake Forest, Illinois. Member of the Furniture History Society, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.

Thomas C. Vanden Berk

Chief Executive Officer of UCAN for 30 years and now serves as CEO Emeritus. Tom has had an extensive career within the child welfare sector serving on several state-wide association and government advisory boards.


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Kate Grubbs O'Connor
Executive Director

Kate Grubbs O'Connor is the current Executive Director of Grant Healthcare Foundation (GHF) where she is responsible for understanding the non-profit health landscape within the Chicagoland area and developing and setting the strategic priorities for the foundation's funding portfolio. Prior to her joining GHF in January 2014, Kate was the Chief Executive Officer of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois where she oversaw all of the program and fundraising related activities of the organization as well as general operations, fiscal/board responsibilities and management of staff. Kate holds a Bachelor's of Science degree from Ohio University.

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