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The Cradle’s Board of Directors has announced the organization has a new president and CEO, Jason Friedman, effective January 10, 2022. The Cradle is a nonprofit, licensed child welfare agency providing adoption services, counseling and educational support. Since opening in 1923, The Cradle has facilitated over 16,000 domestic and international adoptions and has been at the forefront of open adoption, African American infant adoption and LGBTQ+ placements.
“When we began our search for a new CEO, we set a high bar of finding a candidate who had served in a variety of leadership roles in the child/family welfare arena, broad ties into the Chicago business community, experience outside the not-for-profit world, and a lived experience that aligns to the diverse constituency groups we serve,” says John Luce, chair of The Cradle Board of Directors.
Friedman has most recently served as executive director of iMentor Chicago, a nonprofit connecting high school students in low-income communities with volunteer mentors. Prior to that, he held senior leadership roles in Chicago and Washington, D.C. nonprofits, serving in development and communications roles for such organizations as One Hope United and The SEED Foundation. Friedman started his career as a TV news reporter, and his work was recognized with the National Edward R. Murrow Award. He holds a BA in Political Science and Journalism from Emory University and is a member of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth Board of Directors.
Friedman and his wife, PBS Chicago Tonight host Brandis Friedman, have been part of the Cradle Family for years. They have two children, Blake and Miles, and Miles was adopted at The Cradle.
“Having the honor of serving as the CEO of The Cradle is so much more than the culmination of my nonprofit leadership journey; it is a true full-circle moment for me and my family,” Friedman says. “At The Cradle, I experienced firsthand the deep care and commitment the staff brings to the life-changing work of building and supporting families through adoption, an experience that for my family came with its share of challenges and joys. By far the biggest joy The Cradle introduced us to is our two-year-old son Miles, who spent his first weeks in the Cradle Nursery. I am so excited to be returning to The Cradle to work with our staff, board, and partners to ready this incredible organization for its second century, with even greater impact for children and families.”
An innovator in keeping families healthy and connected, The Cradle is now expanding its therapeutic and educational services to include all families, regardless of how they were formed.
“As child and family specialists, we believe we are uniquely qualified to support all children and families through today’s challenges,” says Board Chair Luce. “We believe he is the right leader to lay the foundation for our next 100 years. I personally look forward to working with Jason during his transition as well as throughout my tenure as Board Chair.”
The Cradle offers ethical, inclusive and lifelong support to tens of thousands of people touched by adoption, including birth parents, adopted persons, and adoptive parents. Services include options counseling for women facing unplanned pregnancies, placement services, pre- and post-adoption education, an adoption-competent clinical therapy program, post-adoption services to provide information about and/or connect individuals with birth relatives, as well as training for prospective adoptive parents and professionals through Adoption Learning Partners. The Cradle is the only adoption agency in the country with an on-site nursery. Learn more at Cradle.org or call 847-475-5800. Want to speak with a Cradle counselor about an unplanned pregnancy or to discuss possible adoption for your baby? Call 800-CRADLE4 (800-272-3534)