Meet Our Staff

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Mary Stonor Saunders

Executive Director

[email protected]
(773) 326-5368

Mary Stonor Saunders brings over 25 years of experience from both the profit and not-for-profit sectors.  Her substantive expertise is with program development, project management, fundraising, communications, and collaborative initiatives.

Prior to joining Strides as their inaugural executive director,  Mary served as Director of Strategy and Development for BUILD, a gang intervention, violence prevention and youth development organization in Chicago where she oversaw fundraising, external relations and program development during a critical time of transition.
Mary began her career in Washington, D.C. where she worked in association fundraising and development. In 1990 she joined The Washington Post, where she held several administrative positions including Events Marketing Manager. Coming to Chicago in 1996 to pursue a graduate degree, she has held positions in planning and program development for La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Action for Illinois Children, and the University of Chicago, where she directed the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy. She has also worked as an independent consultant for a range of human services clients and served as Senior Associate with Antolín and Associates Consulting.

In 2009, Mary launched Granola for Good, a social enterprise that aimed to raise the profile of non-profit partners (Inspiration Corporation). She developed the Grow Chicago Collaborative in 2014 to give emerging food manufacturers a voice around the policy table, and was invited to join RW Ventures as a project partner for the MacArthur Foundation-funded Chicagoland Food Cluster initiative to spur regional economic development.

Mary is passionate about ending gun violence in Chicago, and has been involved with several initiatives since 2010 when 16-year-old DeAntonio Goss, son of a peace activist, was killed on his way home from school. She has been an active volunteer throughout her life, including literacy, domestic and community violence, teen parents, and homelessness. She holds an M.S. from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Health Administration and Policy, and received a B.A. from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

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Ethan Armstrong

Race Director

[email protected]

Ethan Armstrong takes the reins as Strides for Peace Race Director after serving on the Race Committee since 2016. Ethan found his way to Strides For Peace in the fall of 2015 when he volunteered for the Race Against Gun Violence, then held at Soldier Field. Following what was a rainy race evening, he was inspired by and formed lasting friendships with staff and volunteers, and developed a passion for the Strides mission to save lives and build a stronger Chicago. While on the Race Committee, Ethan has assisted in Race Against Gun Violence marketing and communications, and race day operations including managing the Tots for Peace Sprint.

A native of Wheaton, Minnesota, Armstrong earned his B.A. in Communication Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2009 and an M.A. in Sport Management from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2012. Upon graduation from Gustavus, he began a graduate assistantship as the Assistant Athletics Communications Director under Tim Kennedy at his alma mater. In the fall of 2011, Ethan was promoted to Athletics Communications Director where here served as the marketing, media, and public relations director in charge of day-to-day communications for Gustavus’s 23 intercollegiate sports.

Ethan moved to Chicago in 2015 where he served in several contract roles with organizations including Careers In Nonprofits, Chicago Public Schools, the University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Development, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, and Tagkast.  In November of 2016, he joined the Pat Tillman Foundation as a Development Manager, where he managed a wide variety of development-related actives and was part of a team that was a driving force behind the most financially successful years in the history of the organization. He brings a breadth race experience from his time at the Pat Tillman Foundation through his involvement in Pat’s Run, an annual 4.2 mile race bringing together more than 28,000 runners/walkers in Tempe, Arizona.

Passionate about all things pop culture, working out, cooking, and spending time with family and friends, Armstrong stays true to his Minnesota sports roots yet lives and breathes University of North Dakota hockey. He resides in the Roscoe Village neighborhood with his wife, Anna, and daughter, Etta Sio (1 yr).

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Anne Renna

Partnerships Manager

[email protected]

Anne brings several years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, event planning, grant writing, and partnerships development. She also draws on her 8+ years of private sector experience focused on technical writing, corporate communications and investor relations, most recently at Citadel Investment Group, LLC.

In March 2015, Anne joined the board of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (“HPNC”), and later that year, became Board Vice President and Chair of the Development Committee. HPNC is a nonprofit youth center serving children from infants to teens by offering them, their families, and caretakers a broad array of programming.

Since January 2015, Anne has led the grant writing committee of the Friends of Ray School PTO, and in July 2015 became Fundraising Chair. She leads fundraising efforts and builds partnerships with local community organizations offering enrichment opportunities in the arts, STEM fields and languages. In this capacity, she developed three new successful fundraisers for Ray Elementary, a Chicago Public School on Chicago’s South Side, including an annual Walk-a-Thon to raise funds for recess support.

In her community, Anne has seen the effects of violence and trauma on kids and their families. She is committed to working with Strides for Peace to bring additional support to organizations reducing gun violence in our communities so they can have an even broader and deeper impact.

Anne holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and a B.A. in Biology from Dartmouth College.

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Maggie Baczkowski

Founder

Maggie Baczkowski is the Founder and Board Chair of Strides for Peace, a non-profit organization founded in 2014 to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence in Chicago. Strides for Peace works to uplift nonprofit organizations, supporting community-based programs and collaborations that work to saves lives across the city of Chicago. Since its founding, Strides for Peace has invested in building opportunities for over 40 Chicago-based nonprofit organizations to raise revenue, build capacity and collaborate.

Maggie is an influential leader who works to empower communities by inspiring action while remaining grounded in forming strategic partnerships to fulfill Strides for Peace’s mission. She believes everyone has a stake in stopping gun violence, and that by working together, all citizens of Chicago can be part of the solution to create a stronger, more resilient city.

In 2014, Maggie created the annual Race Against Gun Violence as a platform for nonprofit organizations to highlight their work and raise funds — further bridging the business community and grassroots organizations across the city of Chicago. Since its founding, the race has expanded to include organizations representing a broad spectrum of sectors and strategies that play a vital role in stopping gun violence.

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Maggie has built a career in real estate in Chicago.  She is currently a top producing real estate agent with @Properties, concentrating in the residential market.  Her commitment to creating and providing equal opportunities is further exemplified by her passion for mentoring young women. She also works for the Bill Nygren Foundation, which focuses on Educational and Microfinance Organizations. Outside of work, she is often with family and friends.

Help us increase the collective impact of organizations working to end gun violence, and build a Chicago where all can thrive.