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Northern Illinois Food Bank names new CEO

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 5:04 p.m.CDT

GENEVA – Northern Illinois Food Bank officials named Julie Yurko as the organization’s president and CEO.

Yurko, who currently is the organization’s vice president of philanthropy and communications, will succeed CEO Pete Schaefer, who announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down from his role.

“I am certainly humbled and very excited,” said Yurko, 45, who lives in Winfield with her husband, Ed, and their four children. “Not only is it a vote of confidence in me, it is a vote of confidence in the whole operation.”

Last year, the food bank distributed 42 million meals to those in need through its network of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior centers. The food bank serves 13 counties, including McHenry County.

Yurko said one of her goals is to increase the number of meals the food bank serves to make sure that fewer people go hungry.

She also wants to continue to increase the awareness of hunger in the counties the food bank serves.

“We know it is real,” Yurko said.

Jeff Burdeaux, chair of the Northern Illinois Food Bank Board of Directors, said in a news release that Yurko is a “proven leader who delivers results, while seeking innovative ways to keep up the food bank’s positive momentum in our mission to ensure that no one goes hungry in northern Illinois.”

She has more than 23 years of experience in managing fundraising, operations and marketing at a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Yurko started at the food bank in 2009. Since her arrival, contributed revenue has doubled, according to the release.

“Our board could not have found a better candidate,” Schaefer said in a news release. “I have had the pleasure to know and work with Julie for over five years, and I am confident she will be an exceptional leader of the food bank.”

Before joining the food bank, Yurko served as director of major gifts at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where she established and managed a new major gifts program.

She also held positions at The Children’s Memorial Foundation and the Chicago Zoological Society and Brookfield Zoo.

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