Growing Community Media, the non-profit recently created to lead independent community newsrooms on the West Side and near west suburbs, announced its inaugural board of directors this week.

The six-member board will focus on strategic planning, financial oversight, governance and development. The editorial independence of the newsroom is specifically noted in the organization’s bylaws.

There are currently four flags serving seven communities within Growing Community Media. They include Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest, the Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.

In alphabetical order, here are the members of the board:

  • Gary Collins: River Forest. Banker, currently vice-chair of Old Second Bank. Longtime Wednesday Journal, Inc. board member.  
  • Judy Greffin: Oak Park. Corporate background at Allstate Insurance. Former chair of Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation. Field Museum board member.
  • Darnell Shields: Austin. Executive Director of Austin Coming Together, leading collective impact organization on the West Side. Long-time supporter of Austin Weekly News.
  • Sheila Solomon: Hyde Park. Leading voice in non-profit journalism nationally. Board member at City Bureau, McClatchy Journalism Institute. Longtime editor at the Trib.
  • Eric Weinheimer. River Forest. Former CEO at ForeFront, innovative Illinois resource at the intersection of foundations and non-profit organizations.
  • Nile Wendorf: Oak Park. Co-owner of now defunct Extra newspapers serving Hispanic market across Chicago. Corporate marketing experience. Board service at Unity Temple and 19th Century Club.

Dan Haley has been appointed by the board as CEO/President of Growing Community Media.