Adela Carlin – Director of Grassroots Partnerships
Adela has more than 20 years of experience working with individuals, families and community groups in the Chicago area. Adela enjoys working collaboratively to build and sustain partnerships that meet the needs of individuals and communities impacted by poverty. Prior to joining Illinois Partners for Human Service, Adela served as the Director of Community Engagement Unit at the Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF) and as the Director of Legal Services Program at Catholic Charities Legal Assistance. Adela is a community lawyer. She has a passion for and a commitment to advancing equity, inclusion, racial justice and social justice. Adela grew up in Little Village, a neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. Adela obtained a law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law at Urbana Champaign.
Kiera Eckhardt – Policy and Government Affairs Intern
Kiera is passionate about research and policy advocacy for human rights. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Florida Gulf Coast University, she joined the Peace Corps and served in Ecuador as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Volunteer until being emergency evacuated due to COVID-19. Upon returning to the United States, Kiera served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Florida Department of Children & Families Refugee Project, and the nonprofit Lutheran Services Florida. She is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Anthropology from Illinois State University as an ACED (Applied Community & Economic Development) Fellow. She is an experienced professional with skills in grant writing, fundraising and program development, and has language proficiency in English, Spanish and French.
Kate Fakhoury – Southern Illinois Community Organizer and Data Manager
Kate believes in getting things done from the ground up. She has experience in leadership and community service and is actively involved in volunteer work, including service as a Board Member for both Giant City School and Saluki Swim Club in Carbondale, Illinois. Kate previously served as the President of Giant City School Progress Association. She is an alumna of Purdue University with both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science.
Evan Finamore – Outreach and Development Manager
Evan is committed to serving the greater good. For over 20 years, as a consummate community volunteer and leader, she has dedicated much of her time and energy to building bridges to bolster the success of agencies devoted to human services, the arts, education, and community engagement in Evanston. She serves on the executive committee of Foundation 65, a grantmaking entity that provides arts, and literacy enrichment to the public schools and serves on the board of Young Evanston Artists. Prior professional pursuits include exhibit development, strategic planning and museum evaluation. Evan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and has completed a certification in Arts Management through UMass Amherst.
Jasmine Steele – Communications and Operations Coordinator
Jasmine has been in the Human Services field since 2015 beginning her service in direct service. After graduating from St. Xavier University with their BA, Jasmine has worked with several populations including, elders, youth, infants, pregnant persons, domestic violence survivors, individuals battling addiction, and individuals battling homelessness. Jasmine found a passion in organizational and community development so, pursued a Master degree with a macro focus to expand their reach in the Human Service sector. Jasmine completed their Master of Social Work at University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work in May 2020 and was honored to become a part of the Illinois Partners of Human Service team as the Communications and Operations Coordinator.
Lauren Wright – Executive Director
Lauren is driven to create a more equitable future for all Illinoisans. Her vision and experience with building global coalitions, cultivating relationships with diverse stakeholders and creating new opportunities for growth and sustainability are at the core of the Illinois Partners mission. Lauren previously served as the Director of Programs at Mama Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to partnering with grassroots organizations around the world and investing in programs that support education, climate justice, health, gender equality and financial security. Lauren holds a Master of Arts in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute and a master’s degree in International Policy and Practice from George Washington University. Lauren represents Illinois Partners as a member of the State Health Improvement Plan Committee, the Responsible Budget Coalition, Vote Yes for Fair Tax Ballot Committee, Westside ConnectED, and the Illinois Count Me in 2020 Steering Committee.