Chastity Lord, Raj Vohra appointed as new leaders on the board.
March 24, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago, IL—As part of ongoing efforts for driving diversity and inclusion, the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, a national advocacy organization, announced Chastity Lord as the new chair and Raj Vohra as the new vice chair of its board. These appointments bring the racial and ethnic diversity within both the board and executive team to more than 50 percent.
This number far exceeds national trends. Just 6 percent of nonprofit board chairs identified as Black, 5 percent as Latino and 2 percent as Asian or Pacific Islander, according to the most recent data from Board Source, an organization that tracks nonprofit board diversity. Only 5 percent of nonprofit CEOs were Black, 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent Asian or Pacific Islander.
“In pursuit of our mission to end racism and poverty, we want our board and executive team to better reflect the communities we serve,” said Audra Wilson, the Shriver Center’s first Black president and CEO. “We can’t advance racial justice without board members who are committed to racial equity. Our advocacy work will benefit from Chastity’s and Raj’s inclusive leadership and business acumen as we launch a new strategic plan this fall.”
Chastity Lord is president and CEO of the Jeremiah Program, which offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for disrupting poverty, two generations at a time. Prior to joining the Jeremiah Program, Lord was chief operating officer at Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
As a national nonprofit leader, she has dedicated her life to disrupting systems of inequity through a social justice lens to bridge the opportunity gap. Lord has a unique mix of both practitioner and executive leadership and has spent two decades in organizational development, education, college access and fundraising.
“I am honored to step into this important role on the Shriver Center board,” Lord said. “This is a critical time in our country to provide strategic guidance at a national organization fighting for racial and economic justice. History shows that building infrastructure, leadership and power for marginalized communities creates the foundation for lasting change.”
Raj Vohra is the global head of Community Engagement at Google Data Centers. He has nearly 20 years of business strategy and execution experience focused on aligning and deploying global assets to optimize costs and reduce risks. Prior to joining Google, Vohra was a senior manager in Deloitte Consulting’s global infrastructure operations practice.
“I look forward to contributing my expertise and experience in organizational leadership and corporate community engagement to help the Shriver Center increase impact,” said Vohra, who joined the board in 2018. “I am especially excited to see the organization use a more data-driven approach to advance more equitable laws and policies.”
These board leadership updates are a key change as the Shriver Center continues to work on its next strategic plan, with the overarching goal of operationalizing its unique advocacy model. Other executive committee members include Sheila Kennedy as secretary and Abe Chernin as treasurer.
Today’s announcement comes just a few months after the addition of three new board members with legal and business experience. The new board members are Sari Macrie, principal at Macrie & Associates, a strategic communications firm; Angelique Strong Marks, chief legal officer at Cars.com; and Annie C. Wallis, a partner in the Chicago office of law firm Sidley Austin LLP.
Former board Chair Steve Eppler-Epstein is gratified that the board continues to build strength to support its mission. “Chastity and Raj have a track record of creating forward-facing strategies that are responsive to the evolving equity landscape,” said Eppler-Epstein, who will continue to serve on the board. “We are fortunate to have them stepping into board leadership for the Shriver Center at this time of incredible opportunity.”
The Shriver Center’s board and executive team will continue to engage in discussions about advancing racial justice, hiring and promoting more people of color into leadership roles and setting accountability targets for these goals.
“I am thankful for Steve’s valuable insights and tireless dedication as our former board chair,” Wilson said. “With Chastity and Raj now leading our board, I look forward to this incredible group of leaders supporting growth and change at the Shriver Center.”
About the Shriver Center on Poverty Law
The Shriver Center on Poverty Law fights for economic and racial justice. Over our 50-year history, we have secured hundreds of victories with and for people living in poverty in Illinois and across the country. Today, we litigate, shape policy, and train and convene multi-state networks of lawyers, community leaders and activists nationwide. Together, we are building a future where all people have equal dignity, respect and power under the law. Join the fight at povertylaw.org.