Katelyn Johnson is a graduate of North Park University and participated in community initiatives on and off campus, focusing on racial reconciliation and student leadership development. Upon her graduation in 2004, she began her work in community organizing, focusing on the need for affordable housing in North Lawndale. She was the primary organizer of a large community organizing campaign that helped save nearly 1000 units of affordable housing in North Lawndale that were a part of the “Lawndale Restoration” project. She eventually turned her efforts towards minority health issues and education reform, working for the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) in Pittsburgh, PA as Community Relations Coordinator for Minority and Faith-Based Outreach. Ms. Johnson spearheaded the launch of “Communities for Life,” a collaborative program that addresses minority health disparities and aims to create awareness in less advantaged communities in regards to organ and tissue donation. She returned to her community organizing roots in 2009, joining the Grow Your Own Teacher (GYO) Illinois as Cohort Coordinator for the Action Now North Lawndale chapter of GYO, which helps increase student achievement and decrease teacher turnover in communities of minority working families.
Ms. Johnson’s near decade of valuable outreach experience includes leadership development, civic engagement and community organizing. She also trains volunteers and mentors students from low-income neighborhoods; her motivational skills lead many to exceed goals. Effective strategic planning and diligent research contributed to achievements such as funding acquisition for several programs, education reform initiatives, and targeted communications via a variety of media. In 2010, she was named Executive Director of Action Now Institute and continues to work with community partners, parents, and schools leaders in order to find solutions to many community issues and uplift the voices of concerned community members in order to achieve change.