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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.

Prior to joining Strides as their inaugural executive director,  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.


Anne Renna

Partnerships and Events Manager

Anne brings several years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, event planning, grant writing, and partnerships development. She also draws on her 8+ years of private sector experience focused on technical writing, corporate communications and investor relations, most recently at Citadel Investment Group, LLC.

In March 2015, Anne joined the board of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (“HPNC”), and later that year, became Board Vice President and Chair of the Development Committee. HPNC is a nonprofit youth center serving children from infants to teens by offering them, their families, and caretakers a broad array of programming.

Since January 2015, Anne has led the grant writing committee of the Friends of Ray School PTO, and in July 2015 became Fundraising Chair. She leads fundraising efforts and builds partnerships with local community organizations offering enrichment opportunities in the arts, STEM fields and languages. In this capacity, she developed three new successful fundraisers for Ray Elementary, a Chicago Public School on Chicago’s South Side, including an annual Walk-a-Thon to raise funds for recess support.

In her community, Anne has seen the effects of violence and trauma on kids and their families. She is committed to working with Strides for Peace to bring additional support to organizations reducing gun violence in our communities so they can have an even broader and deeper impact.

Anne holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and a B.A. in Biology from Dartmouth College.

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