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Welcome to Secure Illinois Retirements

Secure Illinois Retirements is an independent, nonprofit organization seeking to educate and empower public sector workers to advocate for a fully funded pension system in Illinois. Our mission is to bring public sector employees, legislators, union members, and citizens to the table to encourage sustainable solutions that will safeguard the retirement security of our public sector workers.

The members of our executive board and advisory council consist of current and retired public sector workers and union members from across Illinois.  We are honored to have first responders, teachers, state employees, laborers, and municipal workers who will be leading our efforts to advocate for a fully funded pension system. 

Together, we can work to ensure that local and state governments take the necessary steps to establish a fully funded pension system.  

Our Staff

Bella Crum

Associate Director

Bella Crum is a communications connoisseur, organized operationalist, passionately curious and ethically motivated. Born and raised in Chicago with a professional background in diverse non profit leadership, Bella is excited to serve as the Associate Director for Secure Illinois Retirements. 

Growing up as a Chicago Public School student, Bella has personal experience with just how impactful public school teachers can be. Her experiences working alongside first responders to introduce Naloxone (Narcan) and other harm reduction strategies into their programs amplified her understanding of the lifesaving value of emergency responders. Bella believes that every person deserves equitable compensation and a sustainable retirement.

Our Board

Dave Grady

Board of Trustees

Dave Grady is an attorney specializing in business law and a longtime firefighter for the Cicero Fire Department. A member of Cicero Firefighters IAFF Local 717, he serves as Vice President  of the Union Executive Board and as President of the Pension Fund.

Cameron Hardamon

Board of Trustees

Cameron Hardamon is the Chief Impact Officer for Hope Chicago. Cameron is a seasoned non-profit leader who specializes in working with mission-driven start-ups. Prior to joining Hope Chicago, Cameron served as Director of Special Projects for the City of Chicago under Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. Her work there focused on building My CHI. My Future. a city-wide initiative focused connecting youth to out-of-school time programs, and helping to guide and implement the City’s response to COVID-19.

Cameron’s career began in sports management working for the NBA, WNBA and the NCAA. Seeking to have more of an impact, she began consulting with non-profit organizations which ultimately led her to become a leader in development within CCS, Concordia Place and After-School All-Stars. Over her career, Cameron has raised more than $100M to support mission-driven programs.

At her core, Cameron is a dot-connector- striving to see the bigger picture and leveraging relationships to create impact and bring meaningful missions to life. But most of all, Cameron enjoys projects that are focused on equity and education- creating opportunities for young people to explore their passions and ultimately lead to brighter futures for themselves. Cameron graduated from the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) and received her Master’s in Public Affairs from IUPUI. She enjoys a tough Peloton workout, cold champagne, and exploring new places. She is an East Tennessean by birth, but now calls Chicago home. She lives on the Southside with her husband, Paris, and their dog Chilo.

Matt McMurray

Board of Trustees

Matt McMurray is an educator at Oak Park and River Forest High School, where he teaches history and coaches the girls golf team. Matt is passionate about getting students to think like historians by engaging them in a critical exploration of the forces that have shaped our past and present. Dedicated to his school community, Matt has served as an Instructional Technology Teacher Leader, led professional development, served on the executive committee for his local union, and has represented his faculty by chairing the negotiations team for the school’s most recent contract. Matt earned a bachelor’s degree in history at UIUC and holds Master’s degrees in Education and Educational Technology Leadership from UIC and Concordia. Outside of the classroom, Matt cherishes his time with his wife Erin and his two sons, Jackson and Connor. He also enjoys hiking, golfing, reading, and following politics.

Ira Weiss

Board of Trustees

Ira Weiss is the founder of our organization, and he has provided the seed funding to initiate Secure Illinois Retirements’ efforts to advocate for the retirement security of public sector employees. As the son of two Chicago Public Schools teachers, and a relative of numerous other public sector employees in Illinois, Ira is passionate about the need to ensure that the promise of pensions is preserved for every Illinois public employee for generations to come. 

A professor at the University of Chicago, Ira teaches in areas such as taxes, accounting and entrepreneurship.  Ira is also a founding partner at the venture capital firm Hyde Park Venture Partners. Ira lives in Chicago with his wife and 3 children. 

Patricia (Pat) Woods

Board of Trustees

A public high school teacher for more than 30 years, Patricia Woods was honored for excellence in history education in 2019.  Today, Pat lives in rural Petersburg with her husband and enjoys spending time with her child, golfing, horseback riding, playing Dungeons & Dragons and playing “grandmother” to a vast menagerie of critters.

Weston Peno

Board of Trustees

Weston Peno is from Effingham, Illinois, who has taught Fine Art for four years in public schools, as well as served as a Technology Integrationist. Weston now serves as Dean of Students for Jasper County School District.

He holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Eastern Illinois, received a PEL from St. Mary of the Woods, a Masters Degree from Greenville University in Curriculum and Instruction, and is currently obtaining a Masters in Administration from Eastern Illinois University.

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Mail Us: 1 E Erie, Suite 525-3031, Chicago, IL 60611