Maritza Bandera is program manager at The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s community foundation. Bandera is a member of the original design team responsible for creating, planning and implementing On the Table, an award-winning engagement model designed to partner with and inspire residents, organizations and institutions to take action to improve our region. To date, On the Table has engaged nearly 195,000 Chicago-area residents, and is now being replicated in communities across the nation.
Internally, Bandera serves on the racial equity and strategic implementation teams. Both committees are designed to engage staff voice and help inform broader strategies to advance the mission of The Chicago Community Trust.
In 2015, Bandera was named one of the Latino 40 Under 40 by Negocios Now for her dedication to empowering community residents to effect positive change in their communities. She is often found at a community block club, park advisory council, Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) or Aldermanic ward night meeting. She served as co-chair of the education and youth development committee as part of the Belmont Cragin Quality of Life Plan, a community-driven planning process looking at opportunities to make the neighborhood a better place for everyone. In 2016, she was selected to join the second class of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy—an interdisciplinary leadership development program for emerging leaders in nonprofit organizations and local government agencies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Denison University and a Master of Arts from American University.