Public Safety Action Committee Names Dr. Toni Irving As Its First Executive Director

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Chicago Public Safety Action Committee (PSAC) today announced the appointment of Toni Irving, Ph.D., as the committee’s first executive director.

PSAC is an innovative public/private partnership whose mission is to strengthen communities hardest hit by poverty and violence. PSAC will invest in programs targeted toward at-risk youth, and help convene public and private organizations to align and leverage existing initiatives to make Chicago safer.  It is focused on engaging all Chicagoans to “get in” the effort to provide a safe environment so our children can pursue their dreams. Dr. Irving’s appointment marks an important step in PSAC’s evolution.

“While keeping our children safe and helping them reach their full potential will take all of us, Dr. Irving has the leadership skills to bring it all together,” said Loop Capital Chairman and CEO Jim Reynolds and co-chair of PSAC. “Her reputation and proven track record speak for themselves, most notably her work in juvenile justice reform that has earned her the MacArthur Foundation’s “Champions for Change” award.”

“We believe Dr. Irving’s deep subject matter expertise and strong leadership experience make her the ideal candidate to lead this unprecedented public-private partnership,” said Allstate Chairman and CEO Thomas J. Wilson and co-chair of PSAC. “She has both academic and real-world experience in making communities stronger, and that will help guide our efforts to support proven and innovative programs focused on making Chicago safer for children.”

Dr. Toni Irving, who most recently served as deputy chief of staff for Governor Pat Quinn, Chair of the State of Illinois Human Services Commission and Co-Chair of the Poverty Elimination Commission, has 20 years of experience in the areas of social policy, crime and race. As deputy chief of staff, Dr. Irving has led both the reform initiative at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and assisted in developing the “Neighborhood Recovery Initiative,” a $55 million program to reduce violence in Chicago and the south suburbs.

“Toni is exactly the right person to lead this unique public safety partnership: deep roots in community development, experience in multiple sectors, and a strong understanding of how to leverage the resources of the public and private sectors to ensure our kids have paths to safe, productive choices,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I look forward to working with Toni to further grow PSAC and change lives.”

Dr. Irving’s selection resulted from a nationwide executive search conducted by Spencer Stuart under the leadership of Sheila O’Grady.

Prior to joining the Governor’s office, Dr. Irving served on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame for nine years. During her time at Notre Dame, she developed a policy practice related to her research in social policy, crime and race, acting as an urban policy consultant. In that role, she worked with several national associations in areas of interest, including the Women’s Prison Association and the Council of State Governments, and spent an academic year as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Race, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Dr. Irving holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from the University of Kent and a Ph. D from New York University.

Originally from Philadelphia, Dr. Irving relocated to Chicago in 2000.