After seventeen years as its executive director, Russ Taylor has announced his retirement from the Foundations of East Chicago effective Dec. 31, 2014. He previously served as city planner for the City of East Chicago.


During his tenure as the Foundations of East Chicago’s executive director, Taylor helped guide and oversee the growth of the organization.


“I helped formulate the design of the two foundations, one for education, one for community, in such a way that the boards reflected a diverse assembly of people engaged in the community through different organizations that would be part of the governing structure of the foundation and when it came close to being in the final stages of creation, the mayor asked me to be the executive director and I accepted the role,” Taylor said. “I stepped down as city planner and became executive director of both foundations.”


In the last seventeen years, Foundations of East Chicago has evolved through many changes, growing into a vital resource for community sustainability that the City of East Chicago has come to rely upon.


Under Taylor, the strategic planning was a big springboard for the Foundations to really start engaging in collaborations and satisfying the needs of the citizenry.


After being incorporated in September of 1997, each foundation board, numbering approximately 20-24 people from the community, were called together by Taylor in order to be educated about philanthropy, how to establish budgets, and operational procedures.


In 2007, the Foundations of East Chicago reorganized, which enabled the establishment of a strong strategic planning process which would focus the new board of directors more intently.


“Education and public safety were the two major things the public was most interested in,” Taylor said. “So as we continued to work and understand the nonprofit community, we continued to diversify the strategic plan to deal with community vitality, not just public safety to include economic development, getting people employed, understanding what employment demands are, how they can satisfy the longevity of an urban core and working with educators.”


Currently, Taylor wants the residents of East Chicago to know that although he is retiring from the Foundations, he has no plans to retire from working with the community.


There are so many good things happening in East Chicago right now and I want to be part of that,” Taylor said. I’ve said that I’m retiring from the Foundations but I’m not retiring from East Chicago. I want to stay here and continue working on a positive direction for the community and making life better here for everybody.