In The News

Champaign Woman Appointed to Humanities Board

This article originally appeared in The News-Gazette

CHICAGO — Jane A. Hays, the managing director of the Downey Group Inc., an independent insurance advisory firm with offices in Chicago and Champaign, was recently appointed to the Illinois Humanities Council board of directors. The appointment to the three-year term becomes effective today.

Four other Illinoisans were appointed to three-year terms. Each will be eligible for two more terms.

Hays works with business owners, executives, professionals and families in funding business transition, retirement, wealth transfer, philanthropic and executive benefit plans. A former practicing attorney, she has legal experience that includes estate planning, private securities offerings, general corporate, contract and transactional representation, commercial real estate development, insurance defense litigation and public pension matters. Hays, of Champaign, is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the UI College of Law.

The other new board members are Josh Andrews and Virginia Gerst, both of Chicago, Elizabeth E. Cadwallader of Wilmette and Karen Schmidt of Bloomington. The board recently elected Deborah E. Epstein of Chicago as the incoming chair; she will succeed Alton B. Harris of Chicago. Harris, along with outgoing board member Arthur M. Sussman of Chicago, have been elected life directors of the council.

The Illinois Humanities Council accepts public nominations for new board members throughout the year. For more information, call 312-422-5580 or visit

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The state council creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans. The council is supported by state, federal and private funds.