In 1990, when I was hired as Executive Director of Children’s Place Association, this fledgling not-for-profit had no staff or office or even a website. We did have a bold vision, though. The AIDS epidemic was at its peak, and our founders, a group of compassionate volunteers, responded to an urgent issue – babies were being orphaned or abandoned because of HIV/AIDS.

The vision, to build a better tomorrow for Chicago’s most vulnerable children, laid the groundwork for everything that has followed. From the 1991 opening of our original program – a 10-bed residence for sick babies – to foster care and adoptions, early childhood education, supportive family housing, summer camp, case management, mental health services, international work with kids and families in Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Dominican Republic, and the launch of Child Thrive last year, Children’s Place Association continues to champion the needs of children, youth and families whose life circumstances are anything but just and equitable.

Over the years, we also built three buildings and increased the capacity of our local west-side community to house vulnerable families, educate young children, and meet as partners and stakeholders to tackle some of the hardest problems that communities can face. Child Thrive, our newest initiative, is a community convener and partner for local organizations, youth, and families committed to reclaiming their community and making it a place where all children and youth can THRIVE.

Thousands of children here in Chicago and overseas face better futures because of our mission-focused Board members, staff and volunteers, and of course, our generous supporters and partners.

Thank you—all of you—for allowing me the chance to be part of this amazing adventure. It has been a rare opportunity, the opportunity of a lifetime.

And now, it’s time for me to pass the torch to our next generation of leaders who will live out the promise of Children’s Place in a world that’s grown even more perilous.

Our new CEO, Cinaiya Stubbs, fittingly begins her work with us on Martin Luther King’s birthday. Cinaiya has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2003 when she began designing and implementing before and after school programs at a CPS school in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood. The past 18 years have provided a wealth of experience that includes staff development, organizational culture building, strategic planning, board and community relations, and fundraising. Cinaiya believes that each child, no matter their zip code, deserves the opportunity to live outside of poverty and that serving the whole child is the most promising route to get them there. She looks forward to building partnership with all of you as she begins her tenure at Children’s Place Association.

Please join me in welcoming Cinaiya and encouraging and supporting her as you have always done for me.

Cathy Krieger
President & CEO
Children’s Place Association