Chris Bernard, Executive Director
Chris, a native Oklahoman, has returned home after 16 years of work and study in Austin and Chicago. He comes back with substantial experience in policy, advocacy, legislative strategy, and program implementation. Through his extensive work in public safety and juvenile justice, Chris has proven leadership in forging public/private partnerships and coalition building to solve complex problems. He has worked inside and outside of government to affect policy, program, and legislative changes that better serve citizens, save government resources, and produce better outcomes for individuals and communities.
Most recently, Chris led programming for the Cook County Justice Advisory Council where he crafted legislative priorities, led government relations initiatives, and oversaw the distribution and management of a multimillion dollar grant portfolio. Chris left this position after passing three major legislative reforms that reduced government spending and increased public safety, leading the effort to release the County from a 10-year federal consent decree, and implementing numerous initiatives to serve at-risk youth. Prior to joining the Justice Advisory Council, Chris served as Director of the Juvenile Justice Project for the John Howard Association. There he coordinated government, private, and nonprofit stakeholders in order to increase the available information on the status of every juvenile facility in Illinois. Under his leadership the organization expanded its programming to include a resource hotline and a targeted legislative and government advocacy agenda.
Chris holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.