WHO WE ARE
CHANGE Illinois is a coalition leading systemic political and government reform. CHANGE (the Coalition for Honest and New Government Ethics) includes a diverse group of civic, business, labor, professional, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations that represent more than 2 million members.
The coalition addresses issues that undermine our democracy, including ballot access, competitive elections, increased citizen participation, government transparency, unethical lobbying, and redistricting.
CHANGE launched in February 2009 as an informal, broad-based coalition intent on changing Illinois’ culture of corruption. Our initiative resulted in the state’s first-ever law limiting campaign contributions. Since then, CHANGE has matured into a stand-alone, non-partisan organization that amplifies the efforts of our coalition members and brings more innovative ideas into the reform movement.
Through public education, coalition building, and policy development efforts, CHANGE engages Illinois residents in creating a government more transparent, accountable, and responsive to their needs.
In Illinois, we have a problem. A broken political system and politicians have trampled on the basic tenets of our democracy. Decision-making rooted in political and personal gain and the resulting wasteful spending of tax dollars have eroded the public’s faith in its government and have endangered the welfare of our state and our communities.
There is a solution. At CHANGE Illinois, we seek to create a system that celebrates and rewards integrity, openness, electoral competition, and civic participation.
To get there, we know we will need a different set of rules, laws, and expectations so that corruption and fraud in Illinois are not only prohibited, but difficult to accomplish.
But beyond changes in the rules and regulations, we need to transform the political culture in our state, so that the public actively demands the honest government they deserve.
Our political moment presents an opportunity to create those changes- both legislatively and culturally. Illinoisans are fed up and speaking out more and more. CHANGE is working to engage, educate, and mobilize communities to stand up and demand needed reforms.
Ra Joy is executive director of CHANGE Illinois, a non-partisan coalition leading systemic political and government reform. A civic entrepreneur with a proven track record as a coalition builder, Ra has a decades-long commitment to advancing democracy and the arts. Prior to CHANGE Illinois, Ra served as executive director of Arts Alliance Illinois where he led statewide and citywide initiatives to elevate the role of the arts and culture in people’s lives, schools, and communities. Previously, Ra served as a senior aide to U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, specializing in appropriations and community and economic development initiatives.
Ra’s commitment to civic and social change has resulted in numerous awards, including the 2015 Chicago Community Trust Fellowship, the 2015 Cultural Champion Award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, and the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Ra is a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow (2005), a member of The Economic Club of Chicago, and a member of the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council. He is a frequent speaker on democracy reform, civic participation, and the arts in America. You can connect with Ra on Twitter or email him at email@example.com.
George Ranney – Board Chair
Hon. Kathy Ryg – Secretary
Hoy McConnell – Treasurer
Deborah Harrington – Vice Chair
Peter Bensinger – Member
Bob Gallo – Member
Brad McMillan – Member
John Sirek – Member
Alexander Sharp – Member
Andy Shaw – Member
Martin Torres – Member
Scott Turow – Member
Hon. Corinne Wood – Member