The Board of Directors at the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (the “Alliance”) is pleased to announce the appointment of Anthony Papini as its new Executive Director. Anthony is currently the Founding Director for the LGBTQA Resource Center at Northeastern Illinois University.

Prior to his position at the University, Anthony served as the Director of Scholarships at Pride Foundation in Seattle, Washington. His past body of work i ncludes experience with LGBTQ youth and youth-led programs in addition to working for several years on projects that involve the administration of complex program, financial and operational initiatives.

Jeff Edwards, newly installed Board Chair who co-chaired the transition committee with Mary F. Morten, Vice Chair, stated, “We feel lucky and excited to have been able to hire Anthony, who combines a passion for youth leadership development with broad management and fundraising experience, and a strong track record of relationship building across the five states of the Northwest in his work with the Pride Foundation, which will serve us well as we continue to grow into a truly state-wide organization here in Illinois.”

“I am honored to join the Alliance, where I hope to continue and strengthen the Alliance's work across all intersections of social justice. I am grateful for this opportunity to work with and for LGBTQ youth to promote equality and inclusion in Illinois schools and communities,” stated Anthony.

Anthony will follow Shannon Sullivan, the founding Executive Director for the Alliance who resigned in late Fall. Anthony’s start date is August 18th with a welcome reception planned for September.

The Board of Directors is extremely thankful to Loren Linder for his leadership during this transition as the Interim Executive Director. The entire staff’s commitment to the continued success of the organization has been critical to its operations.

The mission of the Alliance is to promote safety, support and healthy development for LGBTQ youth, in Illinois schools and communities, through advocacy, education, youth organizing and research. The Alliance envisions a world in which youth develop to their fullest potential, learning in safe and nurturing schools, living in communities that accept and honor differences, where everyone has the freedom to express their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Alliance currently has a staff of eight in two locations: Chicago and Champaign, IL, and annually provides professional development to 3,000 school personnel, works directly with the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club network of over 180 clubs in Illinois, and ensures all school districts protect all stakeholders on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Jeff Edwards                Mary F. Morten

Board Chair                 Board Vice-Chair