Chicago, IL - In a surprise move during the January 26, 2020 reception to celebrate the union between Illinois Safe Schools Alliance ( the Alliance ) and Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago ( PHIMC ), PHIMC Executive Director Karen A. Reitan presented the Inaugural Mary F. Morten Award for Justice to its namesake.
A nationally recognized advocate for equity and justice, Mary F. Morten is the President of Morten Group, LLC, a national consulting firm established in November 2001 to focus on clients in the nonprofit, for profit, and foundation fields. Mary is a founding member of the Alliance and will continue her leadership role by serving on the Board of Directors at PHIMC.
"There's a constant struggle in our nation between people who strive to maintain our national infrastructure of discrimination and inequity, and those - like everyone in this room - who would demolish it. What sometimes gets lost in all of this mess is that at the root of all public health crises in America is injustice," said PHIMC Executive Director Karen A. Reitan. "The Institute has never given an award before, and we are excited to start by creating the Inaugural Mary F. Morten Award for Justice." Karen spoke about Mary's leadership in shepherding the merger with PHIMC and noted how Mary's work over the years for diversity, equity and inclusion has changed people's workplaces and people's lives all over the country.
In July 2019, the Alliance merged with PHIMC, formally partnering for a shared vision of health equity, with vibrant benefits for both organizations. The reception held at Edgewater's Historic Colvin House on January 26, 2020 was a celebration of this merger, with nearly 80 guests raising glasses to support this combined work. PHIMC brings to this union a strong leadership team, a well-developed structure, and a solid history of fiscal management for collaborative programs which cross sectors. The Alliance brings expertise with youth engagement, policy advocacy, and fundraising.
Prior to launching Morten Group, Mary has served as Associate Director, Interim Executive Director, and Board President of Chicago Foundation for Women, the region's largest women's fund, as well as Interim Executive Director for Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers ( CLAIM ), and Interim Vice President of Development at Howard Brown Health Center. Recent acknowledgements of Mary's work include: in 2017, a Women in Film Focus Award; in 2014, a YWomen Leadership Award from the YWCA of Evanston-Northshore; in 2013, a Leppen Leadership Award from About Face Theatre; in 2010, the Freedom Award from Equality Illinois; in 2007, the Visionary Award from Rape Victim Advocates; and in 2004, the Changing the Face of Philanthropy Award from the Women's Funding Network. Mary recently launched her own podcast on nonprofits, foundations and equity and inclusion topics, which she calls "Gathering Ground."
Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago ( PHIMC ) enhances the capacity of public health and healthcare systems to promote health equity and expand access to services. Through organizational development, systems transformation, fiscal management, and program implementation, PHIMC leads efforts to strengthen public health infrastructure in Illinois.
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance promotes safety, support and healthy development for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning ( LGBTQ ) youth, in Illinois schools and communities, through advocacy, education, youth organizing and research.
—From a press reelease