Annual Report 2021-2022

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2 Operation Warm TABLE CONTENTSOF Message from our Executive Director ............................. ..4 Motivation ........................................................................ ..5 Mission 10 Programs .......................................................................... 11 Drive ................................................................................. 12 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ....................................... 13 Catalyst for Connection 14 Disaster Relief .................................................................. 15 Financials ......................................................................... 16 Leadership ....................................................................... 17


Executive Director | Operation Warm



But even with this year’s record accomplishments, for every child we serve, there are thousands more children on our Wish List who have outgrown their coats and shoes from last year. This need will continue to push our teams to find new ways to fundraise, new organizations to partner with, and new strategies to serve our 5 millionth child this year.

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Warmly, Grace Sica

For Operation Warm, 2021 led us to reach partnership and impact goals we have never before achieved. Thanks to the efforts of our team, corporate and community partners, donors, and volunteers, nearly 600,000 children received the gift of a brand-new winter coats and/or a pair of athletic shoes. We are proud of all that we accomplished in 2021 but recognize that we must intensify our efforts to serve children and families who are struggling to make ends meet in today’s uncertain economic climate. As it was for so many across the globe, continuing to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic was a turbulent experience for us at Operation Warm. In the United States and Canada, some schools were open, some were closed, some of our programs took place in person, some were held virtually, supply chain challenges seemed to show up every day, and inflation increased our program costs. Still, we continued our mission to provide #MoreThanACoat to 2,100 communities nationwide. In fact, the obstacles we faced made our mission of bringing communities together to support children even more important—and challenged us to think creatively to achieve our goals. Limits on in-person events led us to partner with athletes and social media influencers in 2021. Our partners also held modified in-person events, from outdoor parades to video conferenced fashion shows. And our shoe program continued to grow, giving more children a new reason to smile.

Warm coats and shoes offer a way to connect. They are an opportunity to light up a child’s and a volunteer’s eyes. And they inspire community change by bringing together caring individuals and organizations to build a brighter future. That is why our mission is so important—and why we are committed to providing #MoreThanACoat to even more children and communities this year. We look forward to connecting with you, in your community.


“It wasn’t about making a checkmark on a list,” said Dr. Thomson-Williams. “It was about that child coming away from school with a pair of shoes that finally fit and that he can wear every day. I know that as this student moves forward in life, he will carry a lasting impression with him.”

She and the staff are also carrying forward the spirit of the shoe-giving event by gifting new shoes as part of a welcome package for new students and by planning another event at the start of the next school year to provide items like backpacks and socks. “It’s all about building relationships and about parents understanding that we care for and value their child,” said Dr. Thomson-Williams. “We want them to know they are part of a loving

Warm produces shoes in toddler size 6 through kids’ size 5, the event focused on kids in younger grades. But one participant, who was particularly excited to choose a pair of red shoes, ended up needing a larger size than those available. Fortunately, an Operation Warm volunteer hurried off to a local shoe store to get a pair of shoes that were the perfect fit, ensuring that nobody was left out.

But this tight-knit community is not without its share of struggles— especially as the economic impact of the pandemic continues to reverberate, leaving families to contend with inflation and rising housing costs. 97% of the elementary school’s 330 students get free lunch. Many are below the poverty line, living in shelters, or new to the country. Kids attend school in ill-fitting footwear, and some are waiting for older siblings to outgrow—and pass down—their shoes, since their families can’t afford to buy more than one new pair.

Dr. Thomson-Williams sought a way to get the new shoes her students needed. “If a student is worried about their shoes being too small, then they’re not going to be able to learn,” she said. “As educators, we try to help our students every day, but our personal budgets are limited.” An Operation Warm shoegifting event brought much-needed hope. Students got the chance to have their feet properly measured and to select a pair of brand-new, athletic-style shoes in their favorite color. Operation Warm shoes aren’t branded, which was a big plus at Dr. Henry W. Mack/West Little River K-8 Center. “Kids tend to poke fun at each other for not having the latest Jordans, and that’s something we need to get away from,” said Dr. Thomson-Williams. “Everyone having the same style of shoes became the ‘in’ Becausething.”Operation


Everyone knows everyone at Dr. Henry W. Mack/West Little River K-8 Center in Miami-Dade County. Kids high-five each other in the hallways, and classes share a sense of family that persists even when students move out of the district. “We’re a generation school—for many kids, their parents also attended this school, and so forth,” said Dr. April Thomson-Williams, who has served as principal for the past three years. “We’re also a community school. Parents play an active role in the learning environment.”

“It’s a great opportunity to get out there, give back, and show our commitment to being a good steward of the communities where we live and work,” said Kesselman. “It’s also a good way to retain team members and encourage them to be a part of the FedEx culture.”


Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the FedEx team’s willingness to think outside of the box was particularly impactful. Since in-person interactions weren’t possible, many companies had put corporate giving on hold. Not so at FedEx, where teams devised unique ways to make coat-gifting events special while maintaining social distancing.

Parades outside the beneficiary schools created an atmosphere of excitement while keeping everyone safe. FedEx employees showed up to deliver coats in their personal vehicles—with plenty of streamers and balloons. That said, the FedEx team is looking forward to a return of events that allow for more personal connections. In the past, kids have enjoyed expressing their thanks with dance performances, songs, and at one Dallas school, a breakfast with dishes that showcased the community’s Mexican-American heritage. “The presence of adults who want to engage with the kids and learn about them and what they’re into means a lot,” said Kesselman. “[The kids we serve] may not have many positive interactions with adults outside of their families. This is a chance for them to have that positive experience and even find a role model for what they want to do next.”

Corporate volunteerism has never been more important to attracting talent, with more than 70% of employees saying it’s important to work for a company that encourages giving back. Kesselman reported that FedEx team members not only feel great about making a difference through volunteering, but they form meaningful connections with colleagues at all levels of the organization. “Working together on a common mission is a lowkey way to network and meet other people at FedEx,” she explained. “We also have team members who raise their hands and want to help lead these events locally within their markets. This is a chance for them to build transferable skills that can be used in leadership roles later on.”

Twelve years later, FedEx now funds coat-gifting events in more than 30 markets across the U.S. and Canada. Recently, with the addition of shoes to Operation Warm’s product offerings, the number of FedEx gifting events has doubled, and the company has also expanded its program to serve children in Chile.

“I had a broader vision for what FedEx could do if we collaborated with Operation Warm to create a team member engagement program,” she said.

One FedEx team in Chicago collected thousands of pairs of socks to distribute along with Operation Warm shoes. “They also come up with all these really creative ideas to make our program better year over year,” said Kesselman. For example, a team in Albuquerque held an outdoor “touch-a-truck” event, where kids got a chance to climb inside the FedEx vehicles that delivered their brand-new coats. At some locations, kids even got to meet Roxo™, FedEx’s autonomous delivery robot

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For many FedEx team members, engagement doesn’t stop when the coat or shoe-gifting event is over. After spending time at a local school, volunteers often recognize other needs in the community and end up collecting additional items throughout the year, such as school supplies and groceries for kids to take home to their families.

The first time Rachel Kesselman attended an Operation Warm event at a coworker’s request, she saw an opportunity for her entire team to make a wide-reaching difference. A communications advisor at FedEx, Kesselman is responsible for company-wide global citizenship, corporate social responsibility, and volunteerism initiatives through FedEx Cares, the shipping giant’s global community engagement program.

Then he met Operation Warm’s founder, Dick Sanford, who had a similar story: looking around and realizing that kids in his community lacked basic necessities. Bailey began collaborating with Operation Warm and has served as a partner and funder for nearly 12 years—six of those as a member of our Board of Trustees. Today, Bailey’s local nonprofit organization, Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue, distributes around 5,000 brand-new Operation Warm winter coats to kids in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area every year.

Operation Warm

MEMBER WILLIE F. BAILEY, SR. Willie F. Bailey, Sr., deputy fire chief of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, likes to remind his firefighters that when they’re not responding to 911 emergencies, they can find other ways to serve as a positive force of change in the community. That’s exactly what Bailey set out to do while working as a firefighter in the 90s. Noticing kids huddling together for warmth at local bus stops, Bailey began collecting used coats, having them cleaned, and redistributing them through organizations such as schools and shelters. “[I recognize the struggle because] I grew up poor, on a farm, with no running water,” Bailey explained. “I didn’t get a brand-new coat until I was a sophomore in high school.”

Not everyone in Bailey’s affluent community realizes that poverty is a problem for their neighbors. “Fairfax County is one of the richest counties in the country,” said Bailey. “But believe me, there are pockets and neighborhoods where kids are living in poverty.” 30% of the 200,000 kids who attend school in Fairfax County get free or reduced-price lunch, as do nearly 40% of children in the city of Alexandria. Over his 30year career as a firefighter, Bailey saw that many kids were missing out on toys and festivities during the holidays. Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue started as a one-time event to deliver gifts to 50 families. 17 years later, the organization provides thousands of kids with free haircuts, backpacks filled with school supplies, warm winter coats, and new sneakers, along with holiday gifts.

Much of that growth has come from working with partners such as Operation Warm and by forging connections across the community that open up new avenues to serving kids in need. “Getting the fire department involved got the police department involved, which got the local politicians involved—and they have connections to local businesses to bring in donations and help us do even more,” said Bailey.

A big believer in the “it takes a village” mentality, he recalled how the community came together early in the pandemic to hold socially distanced coat distribution events and ensure kids got what they needed.

Bailey and a team of dedicated volunteers arranged contact-free pickup for teachers and school counselors, who then distributed coats to their students.

“Meeting Operation Warm helped me to rethink how I feel about humanity,” said Bailey. “I realized that there are many people out there who care.”


“It’s more than a coat; it builds kids’ self-esteem,” says Bailey. “We’ve had kids receive a coat and ask, ‘When do I have to give it back?’ We get to tell them, ‘This coat is yours to take home.’”



When refugees began arriving in the U.S. after the urgent August 2021 evacuation of Afghanistan, many wore flip-flops and lacked the warm clothes they’d need for the approaching cold-weather season. “This population left Afghanistan with a few bags, the clothes on their backs, and their most prized possessions,” said Hope Williams, Human Resource Program Management Analyst at U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “They arrived needing everything from life-saving critical health care to information on how to start their new lives.”

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The gift of brand-new shoes was a bright spot for kids as they adjusted to life on the base and looked ahead to an uncertain future. “[Getting new shoes] transformed the atmosphere and boosted morale for children and their mothers,” Williams recalled. While recognizing that the refugees they served faced a long and difficult road ahead, she and the joint task force team lived by the motto “Better every day.”


Each resolved challenge and gesture of kindness, however small, brought incremental progress in helping families find their footing.

An important part of equipping residents for the future was helping kids build the cultural awareness and sense of belonging they need to thrive in their new home. To assist with that, Operation Warm provided books and educational supplies, which were used to stock rooms on the base where children could learn and play. “We needed to engage our young people with education and enrichment, and Operation Warm helped us do that,” said Williams. “The supplies created safe spaces for kids to just be kids and take their minds away from some of the trauma they experienced—even if only for a moment.”

One such partner was Operation Warm, which delivered more than 13,000 coats and pairs of shoes to Afghan children living on eight different military bases—including 756 pairs of shoes at Joint Base McGuire-Dix, where Williams and her task force were hard at work meeting the needs of a growing population. “Operation Warm arrived at an inflection point on our base in terms of the sheer volume of need,” she explained. “We had a pocket of small children who needed shoes, and Operation Warm filled that gap for us.”

USAID, an independent government agency that provides humanitarian assistance, worked alongside the Department of State, Department of Defense, and other U.S. federal agencies to help resettle millions of Afghans—50% of them children under the age of 18. This effort, Operation Allies Welcome, provided refugees with a temporary home on a network of military bases serving as safe havens. “Our mission was to welcome our Afghan guests with a smile—and with dignity and humanity—to get them acclimated to the United States and able to build up their resilience,” said Williams, who acted as a liaison to coordinate much-needed supplies. Ensuring that everyone had what they needed—from toiletries to educational materials to weather-appropriate attire—required thinking creatively and making connections with NGO partners that could provide various necessities.

“For instance, we help with Special Olympics basketball, but I’m not good at basketball! [Managing Google Ads] is something I know how to do and a lot of people don’t.”

“My wife and I like to volunteer, but it’s hard to find opportunities for stuff that you’re really good at,” said Stulken.

In 2021, Operation Warm also had the opportunity to provide help close to Stulken’s home by gifting 100 brand-new winter coats to his community. A large apartment building had recently burned down, leaving residents without the coats they needed to stay warm during the brutal South Dakota winter. Stulken’s connection to Operation Warm helped to make a difference when it was most needed—an example of the importance of building strong networks across the communities we serve.

“When people think of a hero, they don’t always think of a search marketing professional or a business strategist or a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant,” said Lee. “But it’s skilled, caring volunteers like Mitchell who help our small team do more with less and make our mission possible.”

From his full-time role as COO of marketing agency Ignite Your Brand to parenting his three kids to helping friends with side projects, Mitchell Stulken is constantly on the go. But despite his busy life, Stulken was looking for ways to make a difference. After learning about Operation Warm’s need for a Google Ads expert, Stulken volunteered his digital marketing skills to help us boost our visibility online.


Stulken’s help came at the perfect time. Google gives qualifying nonprofits $10,000 a month in free advertising—an opportunity that’s hard to take advantage of without professional help to optimize your search marketing efforts. Without a dedicated Google Ads expert, Operation Warm was spending only about $200 each month of our free ad budget. “I did a little research on my end to find out which keywords to go after and how we could get Operation Warm in front of a lot more people,” said Stulken. “Now, if people are searching for how to donate coats and shoes, we show up in their search results.”

The challenge is a familiar one—many people want to give back to their community but struggle to connect with the right opportunities. Skilled volunteering is a way to contribute and add value to nonprofits that can’t afford the kind of expertise someone like Stulken provides. “Google Ads consultants command hefty fees—deservedly so, since the job requires a lot of time and expertise,” said Brenda Lee, Vice President of Marketing and Programs at Operation Warm. “Mitchell does this out of the goodness of his heart.”

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Thanks to Stulken’s efforts, Operation Warm now uses an average of $4,000 of free advertising each month and sometimes even maxes out the allowance. What started as a short-term project has become a long-term relationship. “In my industry, a lot of professionals are very project-focused,” said Stulken. “From growing up on a farm, my mentality was always to not just get the job done but make sure things keep going.”

Our Vision is to inspire and empower local communities to support underserved children by using the gift of a coat or a pair of shoes as a catalyst for connection.

This year we have outlined some of the things we’ve accomplished to promote sound ESG policies within our organization, and what we hope to achieve in the future.

Sustainable Development Goals

As a charitable organization with a 501c3 determination, Operation Warm exists to promote the public good. Increasingly our people – board members, children we serve, partner organizations, and staff - are asking us to do even better. We want to keep pace with societal trends and ensure that our business practices are aligned with the Environmental, Social and Governance policies we value.

Operation Warm MISSION

Operation Warm provides warmth, confidence, and hope through basic need programs that connect underserved children to the community resources they need to thrive.



In 2015, the United Nations published a universal call to “transform our world” by ending poverty, protecting the planet, and promoting peace and prosperity for people of all ages. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a plan of action focused on 17 integrated goals to be achieved by 2030. Our areas of focus involve how our basic need programs contribute to ending poverty and connecting children and families in need to other essential resources. Our gifting events are opportunities to unite caring volunteers and organizations around the goal of alleviating its effects on children and families. Preventive care is key to helping kids stay healthy, and we have offered the gift of a coat and shoes to incentivize families to bring children to local clinics for well-child checkups or to get flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Our coats and shoes help reduce communityabsenteeism,schoolsokidscangetthebenefitsofnutritiousschoolmeals.Oureventsintroducefamiliestoresourcesandorganizationsthatworktoalleviatehunger.


Environmental, Sustainablility, Governance Goals


Our 2019 survey data told us that in addition to coats, shoes were an essential need for the children we serve.  We responded with a pilot program and the responses from teachers, parents, and the kids was resoundingly positive. In 2020, we further invested in shoes and have tripled the size of the program. Between the ages of 4 to 14, children outgrow their shoe size every 4-8 months on average The gift of brand-new shoes in their fit and preference empowers children in need by sparking confidence and self-pride

The retail value of about $55 for coats and $35 for shoes is tough for low-income families, especially those with more than one child. Families living in poverty spend more than 80% of their income on essential needs— food, shelter, childcare, and healthcare.   Appropriate footwear and a warm coat enable children to socialize with their peers and play outside with pride.



COATS: Our coats are made with durable materials and feature deep pockets, detachable hoods, and are produced in a variety of stylish colors and styles that change annually. All our coats include an inner label that reads  “Made Especially for You!” with a place for the child’s name to be written.

11 Operation WarmOperation Warm 6 Families living in poverty spend more than 80% of their income on essential needs— food, shelter, childcare, and healthcare. 80%

PROGRAMS COATS: Our coats are made with durable materials and feature deep pockets and detachable hoods and are produced in a variety of popular colors and styles that change annually. All our coats include an inner label that reads “Made Especially for You!” with a place for the child’s name to be written.

SHOES: We now also offer high-quality, athletic-style shoes that inspire confidence and outdoor play, for gradeschool-aged children. The addition of shoes gives us the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of children in need all year round.


Why New Coats and Shoes?

U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey

On average, children grow out of their clothes every six months, and between the ages of 4 to 14, children outgrow their shoe size every 4-8 months.

SHOES: With the launch of our Warm Soles initiative, we now offer high-quality, athletic-style shoes that inspire confidence and outdoor play, to serve grade school aged children. The addition of shoes gives us the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of children in need all year round.

In 2021, Operation Warm received over 489,000 requests for coats or shoes from children in need across the U.S. and Canada.


What Is The Wish List?


THE CHILDREN WE SERVE Operation Warm works to ensure that coats and shoes go to the kids that need them the most. To do that, we partner with compassionate individuals, community organizations, and corporations across North America to help find and connect them to beneficiaries in their local communities. Our beneficary organizations are nonprofits and 501(c)(3) organizations that support children and families in need like Head Starts or Title1 schools where 40% or more of their students’ families are at or below 150% of the federally prescribed poverty level, or human service organizations like homeless shelters, community libraries, or foster care agencies.

Our online Wish List allows organizations that serve children in need to sign-up on our website to receive coats or shoes. When funding is made available in that area, we fulfill as many of those requests as we can.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION As an organization focused on the needs of low-income families, often in urban centers or underserved rural areas, our programs support children of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, and cultures. Our partnerships with diverse community organizations, who share our commitment to equity, and thoughtful giving practices ensure local representation and inclusive distribution of coats and shoes. 66% of coats were distributed to children of color, according to survey results Unisex coats, packaging and signage Spanisheventsinclusivecreategifting translated web pages make our services and broaderaccessibleprogramstoaaudience

Operation Warm strives to provide #MoreThanACoat by using the gift of a brand-new coat or pair of shoes as a catalyst for community connection.

Delaware – 2,000 coats were gifted through the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. Coats were distributed at Westside Health and Nemours Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

In 2021, we worked with partners across the United States to bring hope to communities in need and to connect families with essential services.

Washington - 400 coats were distributed in collaboration with Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation and Molina Healthcare of Washington at a community fair that also provided Covid-19 vaccinations and food boxes for the community of Longview. The gift of a coat or shoes attendanceincreasedby87% across 5 vaccination clinic locations.

Brand-new winter coats and athletic shoes were distributed to children in need, and they and their families had the chance to receive vaccination information and/or on-site vaccinations.

North Dakota – 1,000 coats and pairs of shoes were distributed with support from Continental Resources, Marathon Petroleum, and North Dakota Petroleum Foundation. The community resource fair, hosted by NATIVE Inc., offered vaccinations, food, and access to service providers who attended the event to educate families on community resources that they were eligible to receive.



Kentucky – 648 coats were gifted through the Kentucky Association of Health Plans. The program was designed to increase vaccineeducation and awareness in Kentucky counties with low Covid-19 vaccination rates. The Community Action Agencies distributed the coats with a vaccination clinic flyer and reported that families were receptive to the vaccination information

More than 13,000 coats and shoes were provided

13,000 coats and pairs of shoes donated

local Rotary



Afghan Refugee Initiative In response to the Afghan refugee crisis, Operation Warm collaborated with partners Red and clubs to provide aid for the refugee families living in US military bases across the nation. to refugee children.


USAID, Team Rubicon, Delivering Good, American

16 Operation Warm A MEGA MILESTONE Dick Sanford was driving through his small Pennsylvania town one freezing winter morning in 1998, when he saw a group of children – coatless – huddled together at their bus stop, trying to stay warm. Shocked to see such poverty in his own community, Dick bought all 58 coats available at his local department store and got those coats to the kids who needed them. Operation Warm was born. For the last 23 years, caring individuals, organizations and companies have joined Dick and the Operation Warm team to give brand new coats and athletic shoes to children across North America. In 2022, Operation Warm will celebrate 5,000,000 children served. Total Income .............................................. $ 38,023,714 Program Services ....................................... $ 34,539,358 Management and General....................... $ 489,266 Fundraising................................................. $ 1,486,733 Total Expenses ........................................... $ 36,515,557 Income for 2022 Programs....................... $ 1,508,357 Net Assets, End of Period.......................... $ 9,156,352EFFICIENCY:PROGRAMFINANCIALS 95%

Mr. Willie Bailey, Sr. Deputy Chief, Fairfax County Fire and  Rescue Department

Principal and Practice Leader, Corporate  Solutions Consulting

Ms. Dominique DuMouchel Business Development Director,  Glenmede Trust Company

Former Vice Chairman, Staples, Inc.

Mr. Willie Bailey, Sr. Deputy Chief, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

Principal and Practice Leader, Corporate Solutions Consulting

Ms. Kristen Hamer

Mr. Basil Anderson

Ms. Stephanie Cohen CFO, Treasurer & Secretary, Operation Warm Mr. J.B. Doherty CFO and Co-Founder, JBF Stainless LLC

Mr. Dick Sanford Founder and CEO, Operation Warm  Ms. Pina Starnino Director, FedEx Canada Mr. John Stockman CFC Cyber Defense - Americas, SAP Americas Ms. Tara Toocheck Campaign Manager, Running the World  for Children Mr. Tim Wallace Strategic Advisor and Entrepreneur

Ms. Pina Starnino Director, FedEx Canada Mr. John Stockman CFC Cyber Defense - Americas, SAP Americas Ms. Tara Toocheck Campaign Manager, Running the World for Children Mr. Tim Wallace Strategic Advisor and Entrepreneur

Ms. Katharine MacGregor Vice President Environmental Services, Florida Power and Light

Ms. Susan Bailey

Mr. Greg Pratt Chairman of the Board, Carpenter Technology  Corporation

Ms. Susan Bailey

Ms. Kristen Hamer

Mr. Basil Anderson

Mr. Barry Abelson Esq. Senior Counsel, Troutman Pepper LLP

Mr. Greg Pratt Chairman of the Board, Carpenter Technology Corporation Ms. Katharine MacGregor Vice President Environmental Services, Florida Power and Light

Mr. Dick Sanford Founder and CEO, Operation Warm

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Mr. Scott Beaumont Co-founder and former Chief Executive  Office of Lilly Pulitzer Ms. Stephanie Cohen CFO, Treasurer & Secretary, Operation Warm Mr. J.B. Doherty CFO and Co-Founder, JBF Stainless LLC

Mr. Scott Beaumont Co-founder and former Chief Executive Office of Lilly Pulitzer

Director of Corporate and External Partnerships for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA)

Ms. Dominique DuMouchel Business Development Director, Glenmede Trust Company


Senior Counsel, Troutman Pepper LLP

Director of Corporate and External  Partnerships for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA)

Mr. Barry Abelson Esq.

Former Vice Chairman, Staples, Inc.

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