McCormick Foundation to Consolidate Journalism, Civics Programs

The plans to combine its and programs under one "democracy" umbrella, eliminating two senior program officers' positions in the process, the reports.

Civics program director John Sirek will head up the new program, while journalism program director Clark Bell will serve as senior advisor on journalism issues until he retires at the end of 2015. McCormick Foundation president and CEO David Hiller told the Sun-Times that Bell previously had made up his mind to retire. Mark Hallett and Andrea Jett Fletcher, senior program officers in the journalism and civics programs, respectively, will depart the foundation and those positions will be eliminated.

The reorganization grew out of the foundation's "Democracy Center," a joint project of its journalism and civics programs that highlighted areas of programmatic overlap at the foundation.

"We've had programs in journalism, civics, and civic education and were looking at how can we be more impactful in the work that we do, including by working outside traditional program boundaries," said Hiller. "Our colleagues in our civics and journalism programs worked for months taking a hard look at how, working together, we could have more impact on how well our democracy works, how well the government responds, and how engaged citizens are. The insight at the end of that is that we should not only work together but put those two areas together."

Maudlyne Ihejirika. "." Chicago Sun-Times 09/29/2014.