Executive Director, Heartland Alliance, READI Chicago
Chico Tillmon, PhD, is the executive director of READI Chicago, a Heartland Alliance initiative that provides employment combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, skill-building, and other support to those at highest risk of becoming involved in gun violence. Tillmon is also a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Chicago Crime and Education Labs and a violence-prevention expert who serves on the leadership team of the Peace Consortium, the collaborative that runs Fund Peace. The former executive director of the YMCA of Metro Chicago's Youth Safety and Violence Prevention programs, he is a leading national consultant and training and technical assistance provider on violence prevention, reentry, and non-profits.
Formerly incarcerated, Dr. Tillmon came home with a purpose of trying to change his community in a positive way. He works with youth, young adults, and direct service providers in marginalized areas to help them hone their professional skills and improve their work performance, and has worked over a decade in violence prevention, mental health, and reentry. In 2021, Dr. Tillmon was recognized by President Biden for his national violence prevention work and invited to the White House. He is also the recipient of the 2018 Congressional Veterans Braintrust Award and 2017 Ford Men of Courage Award for his work in Chicago’s most vulnerable communities. He was named the Practitioner of the Year in 2016 by the University of Illinois at Chicago Criminology, Law, and Justice Department.