Sean Smith is the Strides for Peace executive director. He is a nonprofit executive with over 20 years of experience. He first saw the effects on gun violence directly as a seminarian living and working in parishes in Humboldt Park, Uptown, and Stony Island, and as recently as the fatal shooting of five-year-old Devon McGregor in their shared neighborhood.
In addition to the senseless loss of life, he has seen firsthand how gun violence instills fear in communities and inhibits residents’ ability to go about their daily lives. These experiences inform Sean’s commitment to fighting gun violence in Chicago and he is honored to join Strides for Peace as executive director. He is committed to building on Strides for Peace’s success to continue to provide support to community-based organizations doing vital work against gun violence throughout Chicago. He will work to continue to grow the Race Against Gun Violence and expand other fundraising opportunities to support this work. Sean is committed to developing lasting partnerships with organizations and advocates on the frontlines in our communities every day. He looks forward to working with the founder and board, staff, volunteers, stakeholders, and donors to contribute toward a Chicago where all can thrive and live free of the fear of gun violence.
Sean has held chief executive, development, and government affairs positions in nonprofits of varying size. Most recently, he has been a consultant advising organization on a variety of matters, including fundraising, government affairs, strategic planning and board development. Sean has served in senior positions at Howard Brown Health, the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ+ community health center, and Center on Halsted, the thriving Chicago LGBTQ+ community center. He has also served as President & CEO of the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, as a fundraiser at the Museum of Science and Industry, and as national director of development for an international charity founded by a senior member of the British Royal Family. One of Sean’s priorities is ensuring the health and wellbeing of all people, including equitable access to healthcare and social services regardless of background. He brings that commitment to his work at Strides for Peace.
Sean is an avid student of public policy and international affairs. He enjoys traveling and being near Lake Michigan when weather allows. He likes reading fiction and nonfiction, movies, and television shows – anything with a good story! – and spending time with friends. Sean is a very proud godfather to two great young men.