Executive Director of CHANGE Illinois
Executive Director of CHANGE Illinois, a statewide public policy and political reform coalition. Ra works to unite diverse individuals and institutions around the common goals of strengthening our democracy and promoting a vibrant culture of civic engagement.
A civic entrepreneur with a proven track record as a consensus and coalition builder, Ra has a decades-long commitment to advancing the arts, democracy, and social change. Prior to CHANGE Illinois, Ra was executive director of Arts Alliance Illinois, where he led statewide and citywide initiatives to elevate the role of culture and the arts in people’s lives, schools, and communities. Previously, Ra served as a senior aide to U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, advising her on a range of issues including 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, citizenship, and the arts in America.