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Chicago Urban League Names Kafi Moragne-Patterson, Ph.D., to Lead Leadership Programming and Philanthropy

The Chicago Urban League (CUL) announced that Kafi Moragne-Patterson, Ph.D., will join the organization as Executive Director of IMPACT and Senior Vice President of Leadership Programming and Philanthropy, effective May 20, 2024.

Dr. Moragne-Patterson joins CUL from the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab, where she currently serves as Senior Program Director, College & Career Success. In her new role, she will succeed the current Executive Director and Vice President of IMPACT, Mavis Laing, who previously announced plans to retire effective June 30, 2024.

IMPACT is one of the city’s premier leadership development programs and focuses on providing up-and-coming Black professionals with the skills needed to thrive in increasingly responsible leadership roles. Moragne-Patterson, who was a Class of 2018 IMPACT Fellow, will be the second executive director of the program since its launch in 2014.

“As an active alumna of IMPACT and a leader in the education and equity space in Chicago, Kafi has a keen understanding of the skills and characteristics needed to support emerging leaders in our program,” noted Karen Freeman-Wilson, President & CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “Additionally, her experience and interest in philanthropy led us to reimagine the role to include fundraising not only for IMPACT but for the entire organization. We are excited to have her on board, and I’m confident she will be a valuable addition to our team.”

Along with leading IMPACT, Moragne-Patterson will be responsible for expanding CUL’s leadership development programming and for managing its partnership with the IGNITE program at the Golub Social Impact Lab at the Rustandy Center for Social Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She will serve as a member of CUL’s Executive Leadership team, reporting to the President & CEO and working closely with the Development team.

Moragne-Patterson will join CUL just in time to help select the Class of 2025 cohort of IMPACT Fellows. The current application period closes on April 30, 2024. Throughout May and June, she will work with Laing and the IMPACT Advisory Council to interview applicants, select finalists, and ultimately match the new Fellows with mentors.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected to build upon the strong foundation Mavis paved in her stewardship of the program over the past decade. IMPACT single-handedly changed the trajectory of my career and redefined what I even believed was professionally possible,” said Moragne-Patterson. “Building on a career steeped in educational equity and research, I hope to bring a background in data infrastructure and fundraising to help the Chicago Urban League better trace the collective impact of fellows across every corner of this great city.”

Moragne-Patterson added, “As a native Chicagoan, deeply familiar with the legacy of the Chicago Urban League, I am in awe of Karen Freeman-Wilson’s vision for the organization and am excited by the opportunity to continue partnering with the University of Chicago.”

George Wu, the John P. and Lillian A. Gould Professor of Behavioral Science at Chicago Booth and faculty advisor for IMPACT, noted, “I’m excited to work with Kafi to build on the amazing foundation that Mavis Laing has built over the last 10 years. As an IMPACT alum and an experienced nonprofit leader, Kafi has the vision, skills, and fresh ideas to make IMPACT an even more transformative program.”

Laing was part of the search committee that selected her successor. “IMPACT is in good hands. Kafi is one of the hundreds of IMPACT alumni who have gone on to have impressive careers and taken on meaningful leadership roles across all sectors in our city,” Laing said. “I look forward to seeing how she moves the program forward and expands leadership development options for Black Chicagoans.”

Freeman-Wilson announced the new leader to CUL staff, board members, IMPACT alumni, and current Fellows earlier today.