ABCD Institute > Institute Faculty > Ray Thompson

Ray Thompson

Ray Thompson is currently the Director of Education and Youth Development at Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation in Chicago, Illinois. He has worked in a range of professional capacities for respected Chicago-area social service agencies and educational institutions including Uhlich's Children's Home, Lawrence Hall Youth Services, University of Illinois at Chicago, Perspectives Charter Schools and Chicago Public Schools. He earned a BA in sociology from University of Illinois at Chicago and MA from University of Chicago's School of Service Administration with specializations community development, education policy and youth development.

Though institutionally prepared and accomplished, he learned early that sustainable solutions to marginalized community challenges exist within the people, associations and organizations in those communities. In-depth relationship building is necessary to bridge gaps and connect people. Through intentional engagement and inclusion, a connected community emerges.

Ray finds his peak passion in sparking sustainable and scalable local community change with local people. Using community-centered strategies organically designed to ignite collaboration among local residents, neighborhood groups and local organizations, civic life is revived. Connecting and empowering others unleashes innovative local change and uncovers the natural synergy that exists between people and their neighborhood.