I was so pleased that we were able to announce the new Executive Director of The Arc of Illinois Meg Cooch. See her biography below for more details on her excellent background. She is a very talented leader.

Friday, I had the opportunity to head up to Evanston to meet with my good friend Ann Sickon, Executive Director of the Center for Independent Futures. Ann and the folks at the Center are always on the cutting edge and I wanted to learn more about their plans for the future as the Center enters its 15th year of service.

This morning I head up to Wheeling for the 8th Biennial Legislative Breakfast Planning Committee for the North/Northwest Cook and Lake Counties. Every year these advocates meet with local Legislators and elected officials for the purpose of information sharing and community building. This is a great idea for all of you as we welcome into the Illinois General Assembly and the U. S. Congress new legislators who may not know our important issues.

Tuesday the Going Home Steering Committee meets to lay the groundwork for our Annual Day in the Capitol this spring. Look for further details after the New Year.

Wednesday the Executive Forum meets with Dep. of Rehabilitation Director Kris Smith and her team on subminimum wages and the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act. The second part of this webinar will be a discussion with The Arc U.S. Policy Team and our Governmental Affairs Consultant Phil Milsk on the recent elections and what they mean for individuals with disabilities. Also on Wednesday, Secretary Dimas is meeting with the advocates on CILA’s and the path forward.

Thursday it is back to Chicago to meet and speak at the Annual meeting of the Associations of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois.

Looking forward to a great week of meeting with fantastic advocates!


Meg Cooch Biography

With almost 20 years of nonprofit experience, Meg Cooch brings a passion for disability, aging and health policy, advocacy and organizing with her to the Arc of Illinois.  Most recently, Meg served as the first Executive Director of the Illinois State Alliance of YMCAs, overseeing the formal development of the organization and leading the state public policy efforts and programmatic initiatives.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Meg worked on federal level disability policy in Washington, DC as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for Lutheran Services in America Disability Network and as the Deputy Field Director for the Alliance for Retired Americans.  Meg also has local experience working directly with individuals with disabilities, seniors, families and service providers at Planning for Elders, a grassroots San Francisco-based advocacy organization, where she worked in many capacities including as Executive Director.

For the past three years, Meg has served on the Board of Directors of the Arc of Illinois and currently is the public policy chair.

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Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
708-828-0188 (CELL)