University News

WIU President Named to Prestigious Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors

January 25, 2018


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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas has been named to the Board of Directors of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy that believes no family should live in poverty. Thomas' four-year term begins this month.

"Organizations thrive and grow when there is true community representation and a full understanding of working families of all backgrounds in America," Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, board chair of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, and Luz Vega-Marquis, president and CEO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, said in a joint statement. "We look forward to working with these impressive leaders and listening to their ideas. They bring diversity of thought, culture, ethnicity, gender and geography. They reflect America in the 21st century. And they embody a deep commitment to nurturing a movement of families advocating on their own behalf for positive change."

Thomas is the second university president to join the Foundation's Board of Directors. Hrabowski joined as a founding board member in 2001.

"It is an honor to be named to the Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors," Thomas said. "The values of the Casey Foundation align with Western's values. I am proud to represent our University and public higher education as a part of this Board, which is dedicated to social justice and social responsibility."

Thomas, along with new Board members Rami Nashashibi (executive director of Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago) and Carmen Rojas (CEO of The Workers Lab in Oakland, CA), join fellow Marguerite Casey Foundation board members: Hrabowski (president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County); Patricia Schroeder (former Congresswoman and retired CEO and president of the Association of American Publishers); David Villa (CIO for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board); Douglas X. Patino (vice chancellor emeritus for the California State University system); Melody Barnes (former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama); Chad Boettcher (senior vice president of social impact at FUSION and managing director of "Rise Up"); Dr. Angela Diaz (Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center) and Tessie Guillermo (former president and CEO of ZeroDivide). Thomas also will work with Jazmin Ramirez, the Foundation's new youth Board Fellow. Ramirez is a Sargent Shriver Youth Warriors Against Poverty Leadership Award recipient and board vice president for the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition.

The Marguerite Casey Foundation is an independent grant-making organization that supports low-income families who are raising their voice and organizing for justice, equity and progress. Luz Vega-Marquis has led the Marguerite Casey Foundation as its president and CEO since it opened in October 2001. She oversees an endowment of roughly $700 million and a yearly grant-making budget of approximately $35 million. The Foundation works with about 200 community organizations in some of the poorest regions in the United States.

In June 2017, The Chronicle of Philanthropy highlighted the Marguerite Casey Foundation for its strong stewardship of its endowment investments.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations