Annual Meeting Features Deputy Gov. Sol Flores, New Board Leadership Announced

Illinois Deputy Governor Sol Flores (pictured above) offered high praise to One Hope United during the Annual Meeting of the 124-year-old social service organization. Speaking to more than 60 staff, board members, donors and community supporters at the yearly event held at The University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall, Flores provided an inspiring message of hope.

“While I’ve only been on the job for 4 ½ months,” Flores said, “I’m absolutely certain the state needs leaders and organizations like One Hope United to continue and expand your work on strengthening children, families and communities.”

One Hope United’s Annual Meeting was also streamed to hundreds of viewers on Facebook Live for the first time as the organization continues to provide more opportunities to communicate and engage with stakeholders and the public.

Flores recounted lessons from her hard-working single mother, who taught Flores the meaning of responsibility. Flores said despite her mother working two jobs, she still needed assistance from numerous social service programs, such as those provided by One Hope United.

As Deputy Governor, Flores oversees the $35 billion portfolio of health and human services in Illinois where she says, “Twelve million Illinoisians are touched by the delivery of our Health and Human Services system either through direct assistance or the benefit of that investment in our neighbors, our workplaces, communities and families.”

“When we stop criminalizing and judging people and families for circumstances like poverty and homelessness, we can instead begin to focus on uplifting and investing in their maximum human potential and dignity,” Flores said.

One Hope United’s President & CEO, Dr. Charles Montorio-Archer outlined his vision, building upon the organization’s expertise, solidarity, distinguished service and support in areas of social service, early learning, foster care and adoption.

“Together we must all understand what we do – and equally what we do not do – changes the trajectory of the lives of children and families,” he said.

In her last official address, One Hope United Board Chairwoman Theresa Dear proudly shared the board’s many accomplishments, including its diverse makeup of 50% women and 45% people of color. From the hiring of President & CEO Dr. Charles Montorio-Archer, to the establishment of the One Hope United Future Scholars Scholarship, Dear is confident the organization is poised to continue living its mission.

“One Hope United aspires to be a premier thought leader and service provider where every child and family regardless of zip code, skin color, religion, socioeconomic status, pronoun, can indeed experience a life without limits,” Dear said as she thanked everyone for the opportunity to serve.

Also during the annual meeting, Chairwoman Dear announced the new leadership team taking the helm of One Hope United as it begins its new fiscal year. Beginning July 1, long-time board member RJ Young, Retired Chairman, Allstate Canada, is Board Chairman; Anthony Austin, VP, Human Resources of Portillo’s Hot Dogs, is Vice Chairman; Cindy Lusignan, Senior Vice President at Marsh, is Treasurer; and Kate Shaffer, Risk Management Officer for Yargus Manufacturing, Inc. is Secretary.

Chairwoman Dear also detailed the numerous agency accomplishments in the past year.

  • While many non-profit and for profit boards struggle with diversity, the One Hope United board composition is 50% female and 45% people of color.
  • Established the One Hope United Future Scholars Scholarship.
  • Named a wing of the Edgewater Center as the Toni Sandor Smith Future Scholars Learning Lab, after one of the longest serving board members.
  • Named the organization’s Lake Villa Campus after the first client who ascended to the position of board member, Ermit L. Finch.
  • Established the M&A committee to posture One Hope United for potential growth.
  • Created a model for stakeholder, community and leadership engagement in the President’s Circle and Friends of One Hope United.
  • Established Life Director and Emeritus status for exemplary, extraordinary and distinctive leadership on the board. Life Director and Chair Emeritus – Toni Smith. Ermit Finch – Life Director.
  • Hired Dr. Charles Montorio-Archer.
  • Completed election of new and incoming officers.