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Every 2 hours someone is shot in Chicago
Every 2 hours someone is shot in Chicago
Every 11 hours someone is murdered in Chicago
4,367 victims of gun shootings
90% of homicides were caused by gun violence
56% increase in homicides from 2015 to 2016
Every 2 hours someone is shot in ChicagoEvery 11 hours someone is murdered in Chicago4,367 victims of gun shootings90% of homicides were caused by gun violence56% increase in homicides from 2015 to 2016

Our Mission

Strides for Peace deploys strategic capital amongst a variety of local agencies and programs that strive for the common goal of reducing gun violence in the City of Chicago.

The Facts

In Chicago, during 2016:

A person was shot every:

2 hours : 1 minute

A person was murdered every:

11 hours : 3 minutes

Chicago Homicides

2014 422 Homicides
2015 495 Homicides
2016 784 Homicides

Chicago had 4,367 gun-shooting victims in 2016, including 784 homicides.

90% of all 2016 homicides in Chicago were caused by gun violence

Homicides in Chicago went up 56% from 2015 to 2016

Chicago Tribune - Chicago shooting victims

Shootings in Chicago

This map by the Chicago Tribune shows where people were shot in Chicago, broken down by community area. Darker shades of blue indicate greater numbers of victims in those community areas.

View the lastest data from the Chicago Tribune

About Strides for Peace

Strides for Peace is a 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 2014 in response to the shockingly high incidence of gun violence that takes place throughout Chicago each year. Our purpose is to identify and financially assist local Community Partners who have achieved demonstrable success in an array of strategies and programs needed to reduce violence and improve life outcomes, including mentoring, sports and recreations, arts, education, job and career preparation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and leadership development. 

Our Community Partners and Affiliates are cornerstones of their communities and share the common goal of ending gun violence. By creating turn-key opportunities that generate unencumbered financial resources, Strides for Peace supports existing programs while building an infrastructure for new collaboration. By deploying capital to those already making a difference in their communities, we can increase the scale of positive impact.

Strides for Peace does not want to reinvent the wheel by creating another not-for-profit competing with existing organizations. Rather, we want to add value by harnessing the resources and goodwill that have not yet been leveraged, providing the fuel that enables our Community Partners to go the distance.

We are on a mission and need your help. We hope you’ll join us, because every stride counts.

Board of Directors

Maggie Baczkowski

Maggie Baczkowski

Maggie Baczkowski founded Strides for Peace in 2014. Strides for Peace combines Maggie’s passion for Chicago with her strong desire to prevent and reduce the staggering level of gun violence that currently plagues the City. An avid runner, Maggie helped organize the inaugural “Strides for Peace” 10K, 5K, and 2 mile run on October 4 to bring awareness to the organization and, more importantly, the cause.

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Maggie has been a devoted Chicagoan for over a decade. Her career in Chicago has centered on varied aspects of real estate, including development and sales. Maggie is currently a top producing real estate agent with @Properties, concentrating in the residential market. Maggie has served as a volunteer at Illinois Masonic Hospital and for the Bill Nygren Foundation, which focuses primarily on Chicago, Educational and Microfinance Organizations. Outside of work, she is often running along the lakefront or training for triathlons.

Molly Curley

Molly is an educator with 15 years of experience, working with inner-city youth at the primary level and having taught in Richmond, California, Chicago and London. With a background in fine arts, Molly received a BA from Barat College, followed by studio work in ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Molly currently lives in Chicago with her husband, Alexander, and their two children.

Eda Davidman

Eda Davidman

A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Eda practiced bankruptcy law and swaps and derivatives compliance in New York for the Chemical Bank. Eda then transitioned out of legal to focus on development for a family-owned hedge fund.

After more than 15 years in the corporate sector, Eda took a sabbatical exploring fitness, health and food. Upon returning to Chicago, she opened a yoga studio and continues to work with clients and athletes doing Structural Yoga Therapy. Eda has been a contributing fitness expert for local news organizations and was an inaugural member of Mayor Daley’s Fitness Council. She has published in Fitness, Shape, and Parenting Magazine as well as being featured in Today Chicago’s Women, CS and Splash Magazine. Eda is currently on the Board of Green City Market working on a project to educate children to eat healthy and cook locally sourced food. She is also a Board member of the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute and previously contributed to the Primo Center for Women and Children.

Outside of her volunteer and Board work, Eda  is an avid runner and a nationally ranked, “All American” triathlete.

Jill Gluck

Jill has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area and has spent the last 11 years as a serious home cook and stay-at-home mom to her twin boys. Having taught at a private preschool in Kenilworth after college, Jill also worked closely with Abby Mandel in the beginning stages of Chicago’s Green City Market.

Jill fervently believes that all kids should feel safe within their own neighborhood and is grateful for the opportunity to help other Chicago moms ensure the safety of their kids through Strides for Peace. 

Meeghan Nemeroff

Meeghan Nemeroff

Meeghan M. Nemeroff is an experienced attorney and business adviser with a concentration in representing financial institutions and corporations in mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, corporate finance, corporate governance and regulatory and compliance matters. Most recently, she held the post of Associate General Counsel and Managing Director for PrivateBancorp, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company, and its subsidiary, The PrivateBank and Trust Company. Previously, Ms. Nemeroff was Associate General Counsel and First Vice President for MAF Bancorp, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company, and its subsidiary Mid America Bank. She previously practiced law with Vedder Price P.C., a Chicago-based international law firm, where she represented a broad range of public companies and financial institutions.

Ms. Nemeroff received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and her Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois. She is admitted to the Illinois bar and is a member of the American Bar Association.

In addition to her work with Strides for Peace, Ms. Nemeroff is active in various civic and charitable organizations, including the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Chicago HELP Initiative.

Ellen Sandor

Ellen Sandor is a new media artist, and Founder/Director of the collaborative artists’ group, (art)n with works in the permanent collection of the International Center of Photography, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and The Smithsonian Institution. In 1975, she received an MFA in Sculpture from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an Affiliate of eDream, National Center for Supercomputing Applications at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, on the Board of Governors for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is a Life Trustee of The Art Institute of Chicago. In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and in 2013, received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award. Ms. Sandor is also co-founder of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection, and in 2014, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lisa Saul

Lisa Saul

Lisa is an attorney who represents clients on residential and commercial real estate transactions, as well as general corporate matters. Prior to starting her own practice, Lisa was in the Real Estate group at Mayer Brown LLP from 2001 until 2008. Lisa subsequently served as in-house counsel at Corus Bank, where she focused on construction lending, and in-house counsel at Mission Measurement, where her focus was on commercial transactions and general corporate matters.

Lisa also serves on the Executive Board of the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation and also as Secretary of the IMD Guest House Foundation Board of Directors.

Lydia Slaby

Lydia Slaby is an advocate and writer, focused on empowering people and communities faced with daunting change. She is currently writing a memoir on her experiences surviving non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in her early 30s, reclaiming her health and sense of humor from the grasp of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries that transformed her life. 

In addition to her involvement with Strides for Peace, Lydia is an active non-profit board member and advisor to Critical Mass, a young adult cancer alliance and LIVESTRONG spin-off, and I AM THAT GIRL, which helps young women around the world take ownership of their own beliefs around their bodies, image, and self-worth.

Prior to (and during) her battle with cancer, Lydia was an associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, focused on corporate bankruptcy and restructuring.  

Lydia also previously served Governor Patrick in Massachusetts as Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration and Finance, overseeing the State’s response and management of failing cities and towns.   

Lydia studied design at Harvard, covered most of the world in her travels — including living in New Zealand for a year — and holds a BA with honors in Urban Studies and Business Economics from Brown University; she is a graduate of Northwestern University’s JD-MBA program.

Donna Thompson

Donna is Chicago resident and, following years of work in Corporate America, decided to pursue her dream of being her own boss. She now works as a personal organizer, managing and de-stressing the lives of her clients. As such, she never stops moving and finds herself on the go 24/7, helping clients, friends, or neighbors. 

Donna also serves as Board President for her Condo Association. She was born and raised in Michigan.

Elizabeth Vadas

Elizabeth hails from Cincinnati, Ohio but has been Chicago resident for 15 years and currently resides in Lakeview. Selling real estate with @properties for the past ten years, she is currently on the fundraising board for the One Acre Fund and is an active volunteer at the St. Thomas of Canterbury food pantry.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and checking out new restaurants. Elizabeth attended Ohio University and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity.

Matthew Ward

Matthew Ward

Matthew is a private wealth management advisor at Robert W Baird. He has worked in the investment industry since 1998 in various capacities including as a financial/business analyst at JP Morgan Chase and as a Proprietary Fixed Income Trader at Singer Trading. His broad financial experience allows him to better assist clients with their financial service needs.

Matthew earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Iowa in 1997. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife, Laurie, where they enjoy the markets, running, reading and cooking.

Matthew currently serves on the board of Bucktown Community Organization, a not-for-profit focused on improving Bucktown via public works projects, neighborhood safety and school engagement.

Roopa Weber

Roopa Weber

Roopa is senior vice president and head of institutional client services at Ariel Investments. Prior to joining Ariel in 1997, she worked in the non-profit arena for a Chicago-based fundraising consulting firm and at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Roopa serves on the advisory boards of the Gene Siskel Film Center and the River North Chicago Dance Company, and is a member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Fashion Committee. In 2012, she graduated from the Fellowship Program of Leadership Greater Chicago, an initiative which educates and connects emerging leaders to support and strengthen the Chicago region.

Roopa is also a children’s book author who has created the Penny the Peacock® series. Her first book, Messy Penny, focuses on how true beauty comes from the happiness in one’s heart. The series is designed to promote and foster self confidence in children of all ages.


Mary Stonor Saunders

Mary Stonor Saunders

Executive Director
(773) 326-5368

Mary Stonor Saunders brings over 25 years of experience from both the profit and not-for-profit sectors, her substantive expertise is with program development, project management, fundraising, communications, and collaborative initiatives.

Most recently, Mary served as Director of Strategy and Development for BUILD, a gang intervention, violence prevention and youth development organization in Chicago where she oversaw fundraising, external relations and program development during a critical time of transition.

Mary began her career in Washington, D.C. where she worked in association fundraising and development. In 1990 she joined The Washington Post, where she held several administrative positions including Events Marketing Manager. Coming to Chicago in 1996 to pursue a graduate degree, she has held positions in planning and program development for La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Action for Illinois Children, and the University of Chicago, where she directed the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy. She has also worked as an independent consultant for a range of human services clients and served as Senior Associate with Antolín and Associates Consulting.

In 2009, Mary launched Granola for Good, a social enterprise that aimed to raise the profile of non-profit partners (Inspiration Corporation). She developed the Grow Chicago Collaborative in 2014 to give emerging food manufacturers a voice around the policy table, and was invited to join RW Ventures as a project partner for the MacArthur Foundation-funded Chicagoland Food Cluster initiative to spur regional economic development.

Mary is passionate about ending gun violence in Chicago, and has been involved with several initiatives since 2010 when 16-year-old DeAntonio Goss, son of a peace activist, was killed on his way home from school. She has been an active volunteer throughout her life, including literacy, domestic and community violence, teen parents, and homelessness. She holds an M.S. from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Health Administration and Policy, and received a B.A. from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

Christina Kohl

Christina Kohl

Community Partner Liaison
(773) 396-2236

Christina Kohl received her undergraduate degree in Sport Marketing and Management from Indiana University. In addition, she has a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University.

Christina has taught in the middle school and high school settings as a regular education and special education teacher in Chicago Public Schools. As part of her time at Rickover Naval Academy, Christina was Director of Development and Fundraising, acting as a liaison for the community, coordinating VIP visits as well as solely planning the school’s annual fundraiser.

In addition, she helped launch CARA’s Road Scholars half marathon training program as well as other volunteer opportunities for her high school students.  After watching her students run their first half marathon, she became inspired and took up running herself, culminating in her finishing her first marathon in 2012.

Kristina Olkowski, Sponsorship Director for Strides for Peace

Kristina Olkowski

Sponsorship Director
(312) 925-8600

Kristina has extensive marketing and communications experience with both Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations, including the successful launch of Back on My Feet, a large-scale non-profit in Chicago, and Playworks Wisconsin, a non-profit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Kristina brings a broad range of experience in leadership, fundraising and strategic planning across both non-profit and for-profit sectors. She currently serves on the leadership team for Milwaukee Childhood Obesity Prevention Project, as well as Milwaukee Succeeds Goal 4.

In her spare time, Kristina continues to give back to the community. She sits on the Scholarship Committee for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waukesha Chapter Alumni Association, serves as the Vice President of Grants for the Elm Grove Junior Guild and sits on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Elm Grove Library.

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