Special Message from President and CEO, Merri Ex

Dear Friends,

This letter informs you about my impending retirement on June 30, 2019 after almost nine years as president and CEO of Family Focus. I have been privileged to work in Chicago’s nonprofit community for 45 years starting as a community organizer and executive director at Erie Neighborhood House through being the CEO of Family Focus, where I was once a participant with my daughter in 1980.

Over the years, I have worked with some of the giants in the human service and philanthropic fields at Erie Neighborhood House, the Sara Lee Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Chicago Foundation for Women. I have learned from participants in the many programs I administered, and my life has been enriched by knowing people throughout the Chicagoland region. Thank you to the many staff teams I have worked with, the unrecognized heroes who are the backbone of our civil society.

I have learned so much from Bernice Weissbourd, Family Focus’ 96-year old founder, not only about early childhood but about how to grow old gracefully. I believe deeply in our mission to nurture children and strengthen families in and with the community. That mission has been at the core of my personal and professional life.

Our Family Focus board has already begun the search process for our next CEO. Please click here to read a statement from our board chair, Vaughn Gordy and founder, Bernice Weissbourd. Whoever is selected as the next leader will be fortunate to work with an outstanding board, generous funders and a committed and dynamic staff.


With deep gratitude and optimism for Family Focus’ future,

Merri Ex
President and CEO