Meet Our Board of Directors

Dr. Sammie M. Dortch, President

Rev. Dr. Vertie Powers, Vice President

Joyce E. Butt, Treasure

​​Joyce E. Butts is a retired Corporate Income Tax Auditor having worked for various State taxing agencies. As a Tax Auditor, her job consisted of auditing the State Corporate Tax Return of Fortune1000 companies that conducted business in the state but were headquartered in the Midwest and South. After retiring Joyce worked 9 years in higher education as a College Advisor/Administrator. In this capacity, her duties consisted of ensuring that students who were classified as first-generation and/orhad a documented disability received educational assistance thatwould ensure the student successfully matriculate towardgraduation. Joyce earned a Bachelor of Science in Business with aconcentration in Accounting from Chicago State University and aMasters of Art in Education with a concentration in CommunityCollege Administration Northeastern Illinois University. Joyce andher family have been members of Trinity United Church of Christsince 1986. She and husband John have been married since 1962. 

 

 

Shandra Richardson

Shandra Richardson is the Managing Director of Development and
Communications for Sunshine Enterprises, a Chicago-based non- profit dedicated to spurring economic development by equipping and supporting locally based entrepreneurs. At Sunshine, her role includes directing fundraising initiatives, strategic partnerships, grant writing, team development, and communications. In her recent twork, she has helped to both reframe and manage the business mentorship program which is now a multi-organizational collaborative effort which integrates training and development from the young professional organization (YPO) model and diversity and inclusion training for potential mentors and mentees. Additionally, she has directed and managed AudaCITY, Sunshine’s annual thought leadership luncheon which engages over 70 practitioners, donors and supporters in multiple sectors to collaborate for economic development.

 

Shandra serves as a Co-Chair for Elevated Chicago’s Steering Committee and a member of the Green Line South Community Table. Prior to joining Sunshine and Elevated, Shandra has worked with the Chicago Housing Authority as a Reporting Analyst to help manage the Housing Choice
Voucher Program. She has also served as an Account Manager for Cook Ross, a diversity and organizational development firm based in the DC region. During her time at the firm, she managed accounts of several corporations and helped the team implement training around unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive leadership development.


Work Experience:
2015- present, Sunshine Enterprises, Managing Director of Development
2014-2015, Chicago Housing Authority, Reporting Analyst
2012-2014, Cook Ross, Business Development Account Manager
2011-2014, HR Plus, Implementation Coordinator


Board and Leadership Representation:
Elevated Chicago, Steering Committee Co-Chair (2017-present)
Hope for Chicago, Board Member (2011-2016)
Ladies of Virtue, Director of Mentor Training & Development (2011-present)

 

Education:
B.A Political Science, Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
M.A Urban Affairs, Boston University (Boston, MA)

Rev. Harriet Cavanah Dart

JRev Harriet Cavanah Dart is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and served as the Legacy Pastor for closing the Congregational Church in Deerfield in 2016. She earned a Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary, a Bachelor of Arts in the Teaching of History from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Before her retirement as a Certified Pedorthist, Harriet and her husband, Roger, owned a therapeutic footwear business and taught at the Northwestern University Prosthetic Orthotic Center for many years. She also served as President of the Pedorthic Foundation. Since her retirement, she has been active in the Illinois Conference and the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the UCC.

Aris D. Simpson

Aris D. Simpson is our Program Director. Aris’ pedagogical undertones are originated from her experiences as an Educator, Community Activist, Theologian, and Conscious Entrepreneur. She is
committed to social engagement programming that has a positive effect on society and the environment. Her provisional formation supports and enhancing the lives of the marginalized. As a
Chicago native, Aris is known for her grassroots and mainstream works locally and internationally.


She created a nonprofit organization geared toward empowering youth socially and spiritually. She
is invested in community development with the promise of sustainable best transformative practices for the good of humanity. She has developed programs for youth and adults regarding trauma services outside the traditional formations of the church, hospitals, and schools. In her endeavors, she engaged the philanthropic community to grant 75 economically vulnerable youth to
travel to Ghana, West Africa, and Colombia, South America. This program evaluated the critical thinking skills of the youth offering them a boarder worldview of self and others. This experience has strength Aris’ holistic approach toward transformative initiatives. Joining Off the Pews Aris has expanded the scope of her work, to help create intersecting intergenerational experiences that transform both youth and seniors’ quality of life, simultaneously.

 

Aris D. Simpson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Chicago State University and a Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary. Aris serves on the Trauma-Informed Congregations
Network Committee (TICN), and Emmaus Road to Recovery Ministry. She has served as Chair to Chicago Sister Cities Bogota' Education Committee and as an advisor for the Chicago State
University 21st Century Graduate & Professional Students Academic Studies Initiative, the Community Renewal Society, the Latino Forum, and the Mbasi Relief Initiative. She is an active
member of African American Women in Ministry (AAWIM). Aris was a recipient of the 2015 Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Scholarship, and 2017-2018 Charles Shelby Rooks Society Scholar Award. In
2018 she was Founder/Chair of Chicago Theological Seminary Business Ministry Actions Plan (BMAP) student organization, and 2018 Founder/ Chair of Innovative Ministry Incubator (IMI).
Implementing programs that give life to public theology in action drives Aris D. Simpson. While encouraging others to continue the groundbreaking work that will sustain generations to come.

Shandra Richardson

Shandra Richardson is the Managing Director of Development and
Communications for Sunshine Enterprises, a Chicago-based non- profit dedicated to spurring economic development by equipping and supporting locally based entrepreneurs. At Sunshine, her role includes directing fundraising initiatives, strategic partnerships, grant writing, team development, and communications. In her recen twork, she has helped to both reframe and manage the business mentorship program which is now a multi-organizational
collaborative effort which integrates training and development from the young professional organization (YPO) model and diversity and inclusion training for potential mentors and mentees. Additionally, she has directed and managed AudaCITY, Sunshine’s annual thought leadership luncheon which engages over 70 practitioners, donors and supporters in multiple sectors to collaborate for economic development.

 

Shandra serves as a Co-Chair for Elevated Chicago’s Steering Committee and a member of the Green Line South Community Table. Prior to joining Sunshine and Elevated, Shandra has worked with the Chicago Housing Authority as a Reporting Analyst to help manage the Housing Choice
Voucher Program. She has also served as an Account Manager for Cook Ross, a diversity and organizational development firm based in the DC region. During her time at the firm, she managed accounts of several corporations and helped the team implement training around unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive leadership development.


Work Experience:
2015- present, Sunshine Enterprises, Managing Director of Development
2014-2015, Chicago Housing Authority, Reporting Analyst
2012-2014, Cook Ross, Business Development Account Manager
2011-2014, HR Plus, Implementation Coordinator


Board and Leadership Representation:
Elevated Chicago, Steering Committee Co-Chair (2017-present)
Hope for Chicago, Board Member (2011-2016)
Ladies of Virtue, Director of Mentor Training & Development (2011-present)

 

Education:
B.A Political Science, Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
M.A Urban Affairs, Boston University (Boston, MA)

CALL US : (773) 217-8177

 

© 2017 OFF THE PEWS™

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