Eric Weinheimer, President and CEO | 312-578-0090

Eric became our President and CEO on July 1, 2014.  From 1996 to 2014, he was President and CEO of The Cara Program, a nonprofit that provides comprehensive training, job placement, and support services to individuals who are homeless and struggling in poverty. Eric earned a BS from Boston College and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service. Eric was selected as a member of the Emerging Leaders Program for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Class of 2011.  Eric was selected as a Chicago Community Trust Fellow for 2013. Eric was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to the Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise Task Force. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Social Enterprise Initiative at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricWeinheimer1.


Anita BanerjiAnita Banerji, Director, Democracy Initiative | 312-327-8912

Anita leads Forefront's Democracy Initiative, Census 2020 outreach, and civic engagement work. Having worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and the Illinois State Government, Anita has a penchant for policy; she enjoys working in advocacy and her nonprofit experience has provided her the opportunity to focus on social policy issues over the last decade. Most recently, Anita served as Legislative Director for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She holds a master’s degree in multicultural and organizational communications from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also sits on the Associate Board of the Indo-American Center, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to recent immigrants in the Chicagoland area.


Lily BlouinLily Blouin, Regional Coordinator, Statewide Partnerships | 309-351-8568

Serving in Forefront's Galesburg office, Lily brings expertise in program development and community engagement, as well as more than ten years’ experience working in the nonprofit sector. Her passion for education as a means of innovation is driven by the belief that knowledge is the foundation of progress; progress, the foundation of change. She most recently served as the Director of Education and Outreach for the National Railroad Hall of Fame where her work in youth and public programming helped expand national awareness of the project and increased local participation in organizational activities. Lily holds a BFA in musical theater and a Master of Arts in history from Western Illinois University in Macomb. She resides in Galesburg, Illinois with her husband, Kevin, and their two miniature dachshunds, Buster and Penny. 


Kim Casey, Director, Philanthropy Strategy & Engagement | 312-327-8948

As Director of Member Networks, Kimberly is responsible for overseeing the learning and action of all Member Networks at Forefront, including creating opportunities for networking, education, policy engagement, leadership development, partnership, and collective action among members. She was a speaker at the Breaking It Down Conference and at Corporate America Diversity Programs: Lessons for Nonprofit Leaders. Previously, Kimberly managed member programs for Chicago United. In addition to her professional work, Kim serves as a board member for Trilogy Inc., is a core group member with the Greater Chicago Dialogue and Deliberation Community of Practice, and a member of the Chicago Urban League’s Metropolitan Board. Kimberly earned bachelors' degrees in political science and African-American studies from Purdue University. 

Niyisha Foley, Administrative Assistant | 312-327-8916
Niyisha joined our organization in October 2017. She provides front line customer service and primary support for administration and finance. She has worked in administration in the non-profit sector for over 2 years and always ensures kind and friendly reception. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and administration from Governor’s State University.

Suzy Lee, Director, Nonprofit Strategy and Engagement | 312-327-8914
As part of the Engagement Team, Suzy’s focus areas include nonprofit membership, #ILGive for #GivingTuesday, the Nonprofit CEO Roundtable, the B Corp community, and supporting Forefront’s racial equity work. Suzy previously served as the Senior Manager of Children's Nutrition Policy at the Greater Chicago Food Depository and led the Illinois No Kid Hungry campaign. Prior to that, Suzy served as the Vice-Chair of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program Association and was responsible for policy research, program evaluation, and development. Suzy is a member of the National Council of Nonprofits Membership Committee, volunteers on the Executive Board of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Chicago, as well as a Chicago Women in Philanthropy Ambassadoress, and is a member of the Hanover College Alumni Recruitment Team. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Hanover College, and a Master's pf Public Administration from DePaul University School of Public Service. When she’s not working or volunteering, you can find her in her garden, trying a new ice-cream recipe, or playing with her English bulldog. Follow her on Twitter @ClassicLee_Suzy.   
Emily Long, Manager, Education | 312-327-8943
Emily assists in the development and execution of Forefront trainings, workshops, and other educational programs and manages the Peer Skill Share program. Previously, Emily worked on the communications team for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and fine art from Loyola University Chicago and a Certificate in Historic Preservation from Northwestern University.
Zoe Magierek, Librarian | 312-327-8921
Zoe provides reference services and does research for Members and staff. She also assists patrons in the library access and navigate library resources. Previously she was the Librarian at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She actively volunteers with children and animals and has served on the board of the Chicago Herpetological Society. She has a bachelor's in sociology from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in library science from Dominican University.

Dawn Melchiorre, Chief Operating Officer | 312-327-8930

Dawn joined Forefront in March 2016. As part of the Leadership Team, Dawn leads Forefront’s education programs, member networks, statewide partnerships, and strategic initiatives. Dawn also oversees Forefront's public policy and advocacy work. Previously, Dawn was Senior Director of Programs at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Positions previous to that include Vice President of Clara's, Director of Program Partnerships at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Policy Outreach Director at Voices for Illinois Children. Dawn has also served on several nonprofit boards. She earned a BA in political science and communications from Loyola University of Chicago, an MS in public service and public policy from DePaul University, and an MBA in Nonprofit, Public, and Organizational Management from Concordia University.

 Key Montgomery, Coordinator, Member Networks 
Key has several years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has a strong  passion for improving the health and well-being of her community. She is enthusiastic  about being a part of a movement that allows her to fulfill her purpose - to create  conditions in which people can live healthier, happier lives.  
Yoselyn Ovalle, Associate Manager, Democracy Initiative | 312-327-8905
As Policy Coordinator, Yoselyn leads efforts in the annual Foundations on the Hill trip to D.C. and other policy events, supports policy initiatives, and communicates policy efforts to Members and the public. Previously, she was the Chicago Program Associate at New Sector Alliance where she facilitated the launch of their annual 11-month Resident in Social Enterprise (RISE) fellowship, a program she participated in the year previous. As a RISE fellow, she worked with the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) where she coordinated their Community Reentry Project. Prior to PHIMC, she completed another AmeriCorps program with Literacy Volunteers of Illinois as a Communications Assistant at Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition where she led efforts to raise the organization’s communications and online presence. Currently, she is the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and a mentor for the Chicago Scholars Foundation. Yoselyn graduated cum laude from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in communications.


Sarah Rice, Librarian | 312-327-8921

As a Forefront librarian, Sarah aids both Members and the general public in conducting research and utilizing the library’s databases, and creates tools and research guides for Forefront's educational programming. Most recently Sarah worked at the Forest Park Public Library as an assistant in the youth department. Prior experience includes serving as Outreach and User Experience Librarian at Sullivan University, and overseeing library services as the the manager of Strayer University’s Learning Resource Center. Sarah has a bachelor’s in English from the University of Louisville and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Kentucky. Sarah volunteers with the Animal Care League, helping stray and abandoned animals find new homes.


Genita C. Robinson, Director, Mission Sustainability Initiative  | 312-327-8947

Genita began consulting with Forefront in March 2017 as Director of the Mission Sustainability Initiative. Genita is a lawyer by training, having graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and practiced commercial litigation at Sachnoff & Weaver, now Reed Smith LLP. She has always been drawn to mission-driven work. Genita served for four years under the leadership of Arne Duncan at the Chicago Public Schools, and for seven years, she led Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth, which provides cash and in-kind support to community based mentoring programs. She is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, she previously served on the boards of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership, and she is an active alum of the Edgar Fellows Program. Genita is a native Chicagoan, born on the south side, and while she oscillated between Chicago and Washington, DC for several years, she has called the South Loop home for almost two decades.


Lisa May Simpson, Vice President, Learning & Engagement | 312-327-8931

Lisa develops and manages Forefront’s trainings and other educational programs. She joined Forefront in 2012 and was promoted in March 2016 to Director of Education. Lisa has served as an independent coach, facilitator, and consultant for a variety of individuals and organizations including Chicago Women in Philanthropy, the Chicago Arts Learning Initiative (CALI), and Ingenuity, Inc. Prior to her work as a coach and consultant, she held the role of deputy director at Arts Alliance Illinois. Lisa has served on the boards of Creating Pride, The Hypocrites, and HealthConnect One, and currently serves on the Leadership Council of Barrel of Monkeys. She has trained as a facilitator and educator with Kansas Leadership Center, Interaction Institute for Social Change, and the Institute of Cultural Affairs in the U.S.A. and holds a BA in theater from Western Washington University.


Aaron Sims, Director, Converge Consulting | 312-327-8903

Aaron D. Sims is the Director of Converge Consulting, Forefront's financial consultancy practice. Aaron is tasked with managing and expanding this important resource to Forefront's nonprofit and foundation Members by leveraging his experience cultivating strong relationships through customer service. Prior to building a financial advisory practice specializing in preparing small businesses for banking relationships, Aaron spent 14 years in the corporate finance industry. He has worked for notable institutions such as LaSalle Bank, MB Financial Bank, and GE Capital. Most recently, Aaron held the role of Senior Vice President with Associated Bank. Aaron played Division-I baseball at and received a finance degree from Alabama A&M University. He actively contributes to several local and national philanthropic organizations by sitting on their Board, Advisory Board, planning committees, or mentoring. Aaron is also a member of The Chicago Leadership Alliance and is continually looking to improve Chicago's civic landscape. 


Derek Stovall-Leonard, Chief Financial Officer | 312-327-8910

Derek joined the Forefront family in May, 2018, with a strong background in accounting, finance, and strategic planning. His career has spanned myriad industries including: pharmaceuticals, consumer products, education, hospitality, and associations. He earned a BS in finance from Wiley College, as well as an MBA from Temple University. He has also studied strategic leadership at Penn State University. Derek finds joy in giving back to his community and does so through his service as a trustee of his alma mater, and is a member of his church's Finance Commission and Scholarship Committee. 

Sarah Tapscott, Director, Statewide Partnerships | 217-572-1866
Sarah Tapscott is the Director of Statewide Partnerships at Forefront. Sarah leads Forefront’s statewide work by organizing education and training for local nonprofits, promoting partnerships, and collaborations within the region’s nonprofit and philanthropy sector. Sarah has spent the last fifteen years engaging with the nonprofit sector in multiple capacities including community impact work, fundraising, volunteer management, and community engagement. She has worked for national organizations including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the American Lung Association. She earned a BA in Community Health Education from Illinois State University. She is a graduate of Leadership Springfield and earned a Leadership Certificate through the Organizational Leadership Institute at Illinois State University. Sarah is also a recipient of the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. In her free time, she serves on local nonprofit board of directors and is very involved in her children’s school, St. Agnes, serving as the annual Gala Chair for the past three years and a volunteer room parent.
Bryan J. Zarou, Director, Public Policy & Advocacy | 312-327-8911
Bryan is responsible for advancing Forefront’s policy platform and advocacy goals, including building Forefront’s relationship with key policy makers at both the state and federal level. Born and raised on Long Island, Bryan spent many years in the private sector. He taught a wide range of political science courses as an Adjunct Professor in New York City, and has volunteered and advocated for many nonprofits to both local and federal officials. Bryan currently sits on the board of the largest Palestinian-American organization in the United States, the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine. Bryan also served as co-chair of a successful Dover City Council campaign; his primary responsibilities were debate preparation, research, press releases and speech writing. Bryan holds both a bachelor's and Master's in political science, from Wesley College and Long Island University, respectively. 
Interested in scheduling a speaker from Forefront? Email Lisa May Simpson to submit your request. 
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