Press Release

Illinois Humanities Council Adds Knight Foundation’s John Bracken to Board of Directors

CHICAGO, IL- February 18, 2014— The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that John S. Bracken, director of media innovation for the Knight Foundation, has joined the board.   

Bracken oversees the Knight News Challenge, Knight’s prototype fund, and other journalism and technology investments. Bracken has over 12 years of experience as a philanthropic investor in digital media, media policy, innovation and global internet freedom, having previously worked at the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. He was named to Crain’s Tech 50 for 2013 and was a 2009 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.  Bracken has a master’s degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.   

He joins an organization that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and that also recently welcomed Angel Ysaguirre, formerly Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, as its new executive director.  

“John’s experience in philanthropy and media will be a great benefit for the IHC as we explore innovative and exciting ways to engage Illinoisans with the humanities,” said Deborah Epstein, IHC board chair. “”We are pleased to add his energy and creativity to our board of directors.”   

With this addition, 35 members now comprise the Illinois Humanities Council Board of Directors. They are: 

Deborah Epstein (Chicago), Chair; Danielle Allen (Ex Oficio); Joshua B. Andrews (Chicago); Julia Kennedy Beckman (Darien); John S. Bracken (Chicago); H.O Brownback (Ashland); Elizabeth E. Cadwallader (Wilmette); Marvin J. Dickman (Highland Park); Michael C. Dorf (Chicago); Susan Eleuterio (Chicago); Maria L. Finitzo (Wilmette); Virginia Gerst (Chicago); Adam P. Green(Chicago); Alton B. Harris (Chicago); Jane A. Hays (Champaign); Joel F. Henning (Chicago); Mae P. Hong (Chicago); J. Paul Hunter (Chicago); Falona Joy (Chicago); Dwight A. Mcbride (Chicago);Grayson Mitchell (Chicago); Anita Nagler (Chicago); James M. Newcomb (Wilmette); Gregory N. Petrowich (Carbondale); Robert P. Scales (Chicago); Karen Schmidt (Bloomington); Nancy Shepherdson (Lake Zurich); Gerald Skoning (Chicago); Kiki Stathakis (Chicago); Arthur M. Sussman (Chicago) Roger L. Taylor (Galesburg); Maria (Nena) Torres (Chicago); Cecilia Vaisman(Chicago); The Honorable George Van Dusen (Skokie); and Theodoros G. Zervas (Chicago). 

The IHC accepts public nominations for new Board members throughout the year. For more information about the IHC, call 312.422.5580 or visit 

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is a philanthropic and educational organization dedicated to making the humanities a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities in Illinois, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. This year  marks 40 years of developing or funding educational activities and programs throughout the state, including lectures, seminars, performances, exhibitions, films, library discussions, and written materials – all free and open to the public. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) supported by state, federal, and private funds.  

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5587