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Jack Greenberg is force behind Cradles to Crayons in Chicago./photo by Shia Kapos 0

Greenberg steps down from McPier board, but he’s still busy

September 21st, 2016

 Jack Greenberg is stepping down as board chair of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (once known  as McPier, for its connection to McCormick Place).

“Working alongside Jack to bring McCormick Square developments to life has been a pleasure,”Lori Healey, CEO of MPEA, said in a release. “He has been nothing short of a trailblazer in terms of thinking bigger for McCormick Place and all the potential that exists for McCormick Square, which will bring the buildings and the destination all into one identity.”

After announcing his departure at today’s board meeting, Greenberg told me he “had mixed feelings because they’re doing such great work.”

The retired CEO of McDonald’s was appointed chairman in February 2012 and went on to oversee major growth in the organization–from expanding the capacity of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place to breaking ground on a 10,000 seat event center and Marriott Marquis Hotel (developments scheduled to open next year).

Since leaving McDonald’s, Greenberg has been chairman of three other companies – Western Union Company, InnerWorkings Inc., and Quintiles Transnational Corp. And he’s served on nonprofit boards, including the Field Museum and the Institute of International Education.

“I’ve got a lot going on,” he said today.

Most recently, he’s been the energy behind a new Chicago nonprofit–Cradles to Crayons. He chaired the organization’s Chicago launch committee.

Cradles’ volunteers collect new and gently used toys and clothing and team up with social service agencies to give them to children in need.

“Their saying is ‘quality equals dignity’,” Greenberg said in an interview before he made today’s announcement about leaving McPier.

He was introduced to the East Coast Cradles during a visit to see his family in Boston. “My grandchildren were involved so we went one day to clean toys.”

Cradles is located in Boston and Philadelphia. Greenberg was enlisted when the nonprofit wanted to grow in Chicago. He’s been utilizing his Rolodex to get support from friends and business associates. Bank of America, Allstate and Western Union are among the corporate givers. With $1 million donated, Cradles opened a center it calls “The Giving Factory” at the old Marshall Field’s warehouse at Diversey Avenue and Pulaski Road. Nonprofit leader Bernard Cherkasov, formerly of Equality Illinois, is executive director.

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