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The latest news and hot topics impacting our local south side communities.

South East Chicago Commission Announces New Executive Director

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

South East Chicago Commission Announces New Executive Director


CHICAGO (November 21, 2017) - The Board of Directors of the South East Chicago Commission (SECC) is pleased to announce Diane Burnham has been named the new Executive Director, effective December 1, 2017. Burnham succeeds Wendy Walker Williams who has served the organization since 2010.  Wendy will pursue a new path within the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement as the Executive Director of Community Partnerships.


Burnham brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Over the past four years at the SECC, she has become a familiar face in the midsouth region of Chicago managing the Woodlawn Community Summit, branding the Museum Campus South Initiative, reinstituting the Neighborhood Enhancement Grant program and managing the City of Chicago’s Neighborhood Business Development Center (NBDC).  She has been described as both genuine and authentic in her approach to community engagement.


In addition to her expertise in program and operations management, Burnham has played an intricate role in leveraging SECC’s networks to attain new funding streams. She has helped to secure important new funding from a variety of corporate, private and community foundations, most recently the esteemed Institutional Grant from the MacArthur Foundation.


“After an extensive interview process with several highly qualified candidates, the Board stood unanimously behind Diane. Her nonprofit experience, knowledge of the organization, and vision for the future made her the ideal choice to take SECC to the next level,” said Shirley J. Newsome, Board President. “Having such a deep pool of capable applicants reflects the interest that people have in SECC’s excellent work.”


Burnham holds a Master of Management in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University in Chicago and a Master of Science in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin. She has worked in nonprofit management since 1998, when she was appointed to the Public Allies National Service Program, a young leaders program co-founded by Michelle Obama.


The transition from Williams to Burnham has been smooth and efficient. Williams noted that “I have complete faith in Diane’s talent, having worked closely with her for the past four years. She brings over 20 years of nonprofit perspective to the position which is vital as SECC continues to serve as a leader in community and economic development initiatives in the region.”


About the South East Chicago Commission

The South East Chicago Commission is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works in collaboration with the University of Chicago and other institutions, businesses, and organizations to foster a spirit of community and to enhance the ongoing quality of life across the neighborhoods within its five-community footprint on the mid-South Side: Woodlawn, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, and Washington Park.