The Arthur Foundation Appoints New President and Changes Foundation’s Name to Healthy Communities Foundation

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Healthy Communities Foundation (formerly The Arthur Foundation) has appointed Maria del Socorro Pesqueira as its new president effective May 15, 2017, replacing Jim Durkan, who has served as interim president since September, 2016.

Pesqueira is President and CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción (MUJERES) one of the longest standing Latina human service organizations in the nation. Under her leadership since 2000, MUJERES expanded services to a growing population in the western suburbs of Chicago. The organization was recently featured as a national model by the Wallace Foundation for strong financial management and bold leadership through the Illinois State budget crisis.

In June 2016, The Arthur Foundation appointed a new board of directors to re-energize and refocus its grant making on building strong communities able to foster increased health and wellness in western Cook County. The board voted on March 14, 2017 to rename the foundation Healthy Communities Foundation to better reflect its mission and announced Maria Pesqueira its new president today.

“We are very excited about Maria’s leadership for the foundation during this period of renewal. With our desire for Healthy Communities Foundation to be a community-informed foundation, her experience and background will serve the foundation and the community we serve well. She is passionate about the area having moved to Summit from Mexico at the age of 6 and currently lives within a mile of her girlhood home,” said Grace Hou, Healthy Communities Foundation board chair and president of the Woods Fund.

“Throughout my professional career I viewed my work through a social equity, inclusion and justice lens. I am honored and inspired by the opportunity to chart a course for Healthy Communities Foundation, to engage with partners to alleviate health disparities, promote wellbeing, and to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow in and with community stakeholders” said Pesqueira.

The Healthy Communities Foundation endowment resulted from the sale of MacNeal Hospital to a private corporation in 2000. In December of 2016 the foundation’s endowment was $130 million and it granted more than $7.7 million to strengthen community safety net organizations, largely through general operating support grants. The foundation makes grants in over 20 western Cook County communities.

The selection of Maria was made after a thoughtful and comprehensive search overseen by Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm dedicated to the nonprofit sector.

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