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Andrea L. Zopp Ends Dynamic Tenure at Chicago Urban League

Shari E. Runner to become Interim President and CEO

CHICAGO, IL-(May 27, 2015) Andrea L. Zopp, who has led the Chicago Urban League since September 2010, will end her tenure as president and CEO effective May 31. Zopp has resigned to launch a campaign for United States Senate. Zopp has also submitted her resignation from the Chicago Board of Education to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Shari E. Runner, currently Senior Vice President for Strategy and Community Development of the Chicago Urban League, will become Interim President and CEO effective June 1. Runner will lead the historic civil rights organization while a search begins for Zopp’s successor. Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League strengthens the African American community through advocacy and programming focused on educational opportunity, economic empowerment and social justice.

“Andrea ushered in a new era of excellence for the Chicago Urban League and led the transformation of the organization into a leading voice on issues impacting African Americans and the city of Chicago,” said Joseph A. Gregoire, Chairman of the Chicago Urban League board of directors. “Under her dynamic leadership our advocacy has expanded, our programs have become stronger, and our financial house is in order. We thank Andrea for her tremendous leadership and wish her well in her future endeavors. All of us on the board look forward to working with Shari as our interim CEO and know that, under her leadership, the Urban League is in good hands.”
“My time with the Chicago Urban League has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I am thankful to the board, staff and auxiliary groups for embracing me on this journey to empower Chicago’s African American community and all who are underserved,” said Zopp.

“I am proud of the work accomplished during my time at the Chicago Urban League including the Urban League being recognized as a contemporary civil rights, economic development and civic engagement leader; the hundreds of jobs we helped create; the millions of dollars in contracts we helped businesses secure; the thousands of families we helped purchase and keep their homes; the hundreds of students we helped stay in school and attend college and the increased trust and support we received from our funding partners. I will always be connected to the Chicago Urban League and know that the organization will remain strong for many years to come.”

Under Zopp’s leadership the Chicago Urban League’s advocacy and programming grew exponentially and new collaborations were established that increased educational, economic and leadership development opportunities for the more than 10,000 people the Urban League serves annually.

Zopp’s legacy of leadership includes: millions of dollars in contracts being awarded to minority-owned companies during the successful CTA Red Line South Reconstruction project; the creation of a construction training program that prepares women and people of color for union apprenticeships and job opportunities in five counties; the Urban League serving on the steering committee for the successful statewide marriage equality campaign; the Urban League being a key leader in statewide legislation and litigation to reform public school funding; more than 60 students being taken on cultural exchanges to China, and the creation of the IMPACT Leadership Development Program with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business that provides young, African American leaders with the resources and mentoring needed to become successful and civically engaged leaders.

Shari E. Runner, who has been on the executive leadership team of the Chicago Urban League since December 2010, has more than 25 years in operations and financial management and a strong background in business development and strategic planning. In her current role, Runner oversees and manages operations in all programmatic areas, and works with the executive leadership and development teams to increase financial support to the Urban League. She also plays a key role in developing short and long term strategic objectives for the Urban League. As Interim President and CEO, Runner will oversee all operations of the Chicago Urban League and will serve as the lead representative of the Urban League to the board of directors, funding partners, media outlets and collaborating organizations.

“I am grateful to Andrea and the board of directors for entrusting me with this opportunity to lead the Chicago Urban League at this critical time in our history,” said Runner. “As we approach our centennial in 2016, I will focus on increasing the impact of our outstanding programs, keeping our strategic partnerships strong, and introducing the Chicago Urban League to new stakeholders who will join in our efforts to strengthen Chicago’s African American communities and the city of Chicago.”

About the Chicago Urban League
The Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. Since 1916, the Urban League—through unique community, corporate and civic relationships,—has helped people find jobs, affordable housing, educational opportunities, and grow businesses. Find out more about the Chicago Urban League’s programs and initiatives at