Sheila Merry to step down as Executive Director, Evanston Cradle to Career


Evanston Cradle to Career (EC2C) announced last week that Sheila Merry will step down as Executive Director of EC2C, effective June.

Merry joined EC2C as its founding Executive Director in early 2015. At the time, the initiative was a bold step in transforming the city of Evanston into a more equitable place for all residents.

Over the last five years, EC2C has grown in size to include 40-plus partner organizations and, as a United Way Neighborhood Network, has brought well over a $1 million dollars into Evanston, much of which has been passed on to EC2C partner organizations.

Among the many accomplishments attributed to Merry include the creation of strong collaborations between early childhood programs, which have substantially strengthened the sector.

She also worked with the Mayor’s Employers Advisory Council to build career pathways for all Evanston youth.

Merry’s steadfast commitment to promoting a broader understanding of the profound inequity in Evanston included offering Beyond Diversity and SEED (Seeking Equity and Diversity) training to more than 650 staff and board members of partner organizations.

Through its Advocates for Action, EC2C has helped raised too-often unheard community voices and, through the Advocate’s Community Building Grants, EC2C has identified and supported diverse community leaders committed to creating a stronger community for all our children and families.

Merry has lived in Evanston for more than 30 years and joined EC2C after a successful career working to improve opportunities and resources for youth and families.

She previously served as Executive Director of MENTOR Illinois, the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation, and The Harbour, as well as a Senior Research Associate at the Chapin Hall Center for Children At The Univ of Chgo (University of Chicago).

“I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to work with the City of Evanston on building greater equity for children and youth in our community,” Merry said. “The passion and commitment that everyone here brings to this work is inspiring and I feel privileged to have had the honor of sharing this journey with you. I look forward to this next chapter as we find a new leader that will guide the initiative into the new decade.”

The position description will be released soon. EC2C expects to announce Merry’s successor by the end of April.

Congratulations, Sheila, and good luck! We know we’ll still see you around!

About EC2C: Evanston Cradle to Career is a collaborative partnership of more than 40 organizations and 150 community members, who have committed to employ collective impact to address the inequity in Evanston that results in many of its students of color and those from lower-income households encountering significant barriers that undermine their health and safety, success in school, and opportunities in life.


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