Dianne Cleaver

Executive Director, Urban Neighborhood Initiative

Dianne Cleaver is a civic leader and community activist who has over 30 years of experience working in health, human services and education. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Arts in Social Psychology from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

She is licensed as a psychologist in the state of Missouri. Mrs. Cleaver is Executive Director of the Urban Neighborhood Initiative. Previous positions include: President of Symmetry Consulting LLC specializing in human services, educational reform and cultural competence; Chief Administrative Officer for the Kansas City Missouri School District; Coordinator of Governor Bob Holden’s State-wide Initiative for Families and Children; Director of Community Development for Truman Medical Center; and Mental Health Director at Swope Parkway Health Center, where she lead the center in development of a wide array of programs for adults and children. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of University of Missouri at Kansas City; and the Jacob and Ella Loose Foundation; and on Advisory Boards for the Kansas City STEM Alliance and Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Art Chaudry

President, Swope Community Builders

Art is a respected business and community leader who has worked effectively with a broad range of community, public and private sector stakeholders.

He is on the Board of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, where he previously served as its Chairman. He works tirelessly to promote causes that build bridges across racial, religious and ethnic lines, and improve the quality of life for people in the metropolitan area. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Advancement Board of the University of Kansas Medical Center and Hospital, the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council and the Urban Neighborhood Initiative. He currently is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Swope Community Builders. Art received a B. S. Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He also has an MBA in Management from the Loyola University of Chicago. In addition, he has done post graduate work at Northwestern, Stanford, Columbia and Wharton School of Business. He is the recipient of numerous community, social and humanitarian services awards.

Ebony Edwards

Associate Researcher, Center for Public Partnerships and Research, University of Kansas

Ebony is an Associate Researcher at KU-CPPR, serving as the lead evaluator on the Kansas Reading Roadmap evaluation and as the Center’s cost-analysis expert.

Dr. Edwards is a researcher and program evaluator in the content areas of education and social services for children, youth, and families. She assists in multiple evaluations that include a cost-analysis component and is currently leading the development of cost-analysis briefs and tools to be used by Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention agencies and grantees. Outside of her professional work, Ebony is also working with her husband on urban core revitalization across different initiatives.

John James

President, Wendell-Phillips Neighborhood Association

John James is the current President of the Wendell Phillips Neighborhood Association. John has extensive experience in the information technology field in the private and public sectors, including 20 years of technology work for the United States Air Force.

He is currently employed by the City of Kansas City, Missouri in the City’s Information Technology Division. John James is also a bishop serving the Victory Way Church in Kansas City.