Grace Araya is the visionary leader of Concordia Place, a vibrant mission-driven nonprofit organization that provides multigenerational programs including early learning, after-school, and teen leadership for Chicago communities.
Bringing 20 years of experience in early childhood education and over 5 years of nonprofit executive leadership experience, Araya is a strategic leader and mission amplifier. Her past work has brought missional work of an organization to a larger audience and broadened connections in the community. Focused on strengthening local communities’ ability to develop and implement community-wide, collaborative strategies that improve outcomes for children and families, Araya has a growth mindset and expertise in relationship-building, visionary leadership, and organizational growth.
Prior to Concordia Place, Grace served as Vice President of Community Impact for Illinois Action for Children. She lead the strategic vision and implementation of the agency’s family engagement, partnerships, and community systems programs to support families with young children in Illinois. Before that, she served as Program Director for Eyes on the Future and excelled in securing more than $3m of funding to deliver Head Start, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership, Preschool for All, and Prevention Initiative programs and led the program in achieving NAEYC accreditation, Excelerate Gold Circle of Quality, and an Award of Excellence in Infant/Toddler Services.
Grace holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Art in Early Childhood Education from Roosevelt University, and a Master of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
The Rev. Nicholas J. Zook has served as pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Chicago since his ordination in 1981.
Under his leadership, Concordia Lutheran Church established a community outreach ministry in 1981 to serve the needs of single parents and low income families in the neighborhood around the church. From this ministry, Concordia Place was established.
As Board Chair, Nicholas grew Concordia Place to a multi-service, multi-site nonprofit with locations in the North Center and Avondale communities. Concordia Place serves nearly 1,000 children, teens, adults, and families each year.
Nicholas served as a founding member of the Lutheran/Roman Catholic Covenant Commission established by the Metropolitan Chicago Synod and Archdiocese of Chicago to promote collaborative ministry and dialogue among Lutherans and Roman Catholics in metro Chicago.
In 1995, Nicholas joined with a group of Lutheran pastors and laity to establish Let’s Talk, a journal published in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod to encourage theological discourse on issues vital to the life of the church. He has served as a Board member and contributor on the Editorial Board until 2014.
Nicholas graduated from DePaul University with a double major in philosophy and psychology and received his M.Div. degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 1981. Nicholas also serves as co-dean of the Northeast conference of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod and on the Governing Council of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
In 2011, he was awarded the Wheat Ridge Foundation’s Seeds of Hope Award for service in health, hope and healing ministry in the community. He most recently received the 2016 Service in Parish Ministry Alumni Award from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.
Nicholas, and his wife, Stephanie, have two grown sons and reside in Chicago.
Kimberly Boike is a business attorney who concentrates her practice in the healthcare and not for profit fields and serves as the leader of Chuhak & Tecson’s Healthcare and Not For Profit & Mission-Based Organizations practice groups.
She advises healthcare entities of all sizes, including, healthcare systems, hospitals, senior living providers, such as continuing care retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities, physicians and healthcare startup. She counsels on a variety of topics, such as tax-exempt bond financings, complex mergers and acquisitions, structuring relationships across the continuum of care, hospital/physician joint ventures and affiliations, as well as compliance and regulatory issues, managed care agreements, etc.
Recognizing that not for profits face unique challenges, Kim was instrumental in the founding of Chuhak & Tecson’s newest practice group—Not for Profit & Mission-Based Organizations. Kim regularly presents to boards of directors on best governance practices and regulatory compliance issues, and ensures that her nonprofit clients have succession plans in place to continually advance their missions.
Kim is an active volunteer. In addition to her dedicated service to Concordia Place, she served as the chair of the Development Council of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and served on its Governing Council. She also serves on the board of the Advocate Charitable Foundation and Chair of the Chicago Bar Association, Health Law. For 12 consecutive years, Kim has been named to the Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, which is awarded to only 2.5 percent of attorneys in the state.
As a learning organization, Concordia Place is committed to continued improvement. We have learned that distinguishing between the Concordia Place and Concordia Day brands was not necessary.
Starting May 1, all visitors to concordiaday.org will be redirected to day.concordiaplace.org
By unifying around the sole use of the Concordia Place brand, we will provide clarity and focus on our mission to serve families and provide both care and education for their children.