Bernard Cherkasov, Esq. – Executive Director

Prior to Cradles to Crayons, Bernard served as CEO of Equality Illinois, the Midwest’s largest civil rights organization advocating for LGBT rights. Equality Illinois is the nation’s second largest state equality organization, with offices in Chicago and Central Illinois.

Bernard came to the Unites States as a refugee 26 years ago.  When Bernard was a child – before he and his family fled Azerbaijan – his family used to receive an occasional package with winter coats and other clothing. He remembers how empowering it felt when someone took notice of his family. Because of his childhood experience, Bernard feels a strong personal connection to the Cradles to Crayon mission.

Bernard is a lawyer by training, and practiced law at corporate law firms before joining the non-profit sector.  He also served as the International Law Clerk for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel.  He earned his J.D. degree from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in the relationship of theology, policy, and law from Harvard University.

Chicago Board of Directors

Jack Greenberg, Chicago Board of Directors Chair – The Western Union Company
John Atkinson – Willis Towers Watson
Gery Chico – Chico & Nunes, P.C.
Amy Hughes – Bank of America, US Trust
Carrie McNally – Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Desiree Rogers – Johnson Publishing Company

Corporate Advisory Council

Darrah Bixler, Heitman
Julie Coffman, Bain & Company
Shana Hayes, Academy for Urban School Leadership
Lori Healey, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
Megan Herrmanns, Salesforce
Jim Hirshorn, Ares Management
Amy Hughes, Corporate Advisory Council Chair, Bank of America, US Trust
Neill Jakobe, Ropes & Gray
Mohit Kalra, Google
Michelle Kilkenney, Kirkland & Ellis
David Whitaker, Choose Chicago

Family Advisory Council

Lisa Belcher, Family Advisory Council Chair, Glencoe
Pam Davis, Highland Park
Heath & Rakhi Fuller, Bucktown
Ilene Goldman, Ravenswood Manor
Donna Greenberg, Highland Park
Jacqueline Hairston, Lakeview
Stacy Jakobe, Evanston
Amy Kaplan, Riverwoods
Doug & Stacey Meyer, Deerfield
Carrie McNally, Lincoln Park
Debbie & Matt Michaelson, Bucktown
Nguyen Ngyuen & Tan Vu, Bucktown
Catherine & Mike Rosenberg, Lakeview
Josh Shipley, Lincoln Park
Shawn Strack, Lincoln Park