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Related Midwest execs honored on Crain's 2022 Notable Nonprofit Board Leaders list

The Crain Chicago Business 2022 list of Notable Nonprofit Board Leaders includes two familiar faces from Related Midwest: Curt Bailey, president, and Don Biernacki, executive vice president of construction. Crain’s honored Bailey and Biernacki for their contributions to local nonprofits Start Early and HIRE360, respectively. Biernacki is the board chair of HIRE360; Bailey served as president of the board of Start Early from 2017-2021 and continues as a board member. 

The annual list highlights individuals from the Chicago area who made meaningful contributions to local charitable organizations over the past 18 months. Honorees must meet criteria that include serving on the board of a charitable organization for at least five years, helping advance the nonprofit’s cause and profile, and contributing to the organization’s fundraising efforts. 

Related Midwest’s two honorees have devoted years to advancing equity both within the company and through their outside efforts. In addition to Bailey’s success in championing affordable housing as president of Related Midwest, he has served on the board of directors of Start Early for 14 years. The nonprofit helps close the opportunity gap in early childhood education. Bailey played a critical role in rebranding the organization, formerly known as Ounce of Prevention Fund, and developing an ambitious strategic plan to impact children living in poverty. 

Biernacki, meanwhile, expanded on his diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Related Midwest by helping to launch HIRE360, a nonprofit that creates opportunities for underrepresented individuals in the trades. It was his vision for increasing equity in the construction industry that inspired Related Midwest to co-found the organization. Biernacki was nominated to Crain’s list based on his success in building HIRE360’s profile, including forming partnerships that were instrumental to growing the organization’s reach and fundraising efforts.

Biernacki also was recognized for his natural ability to cultivate potential. He served as a mentor for others on the board, building on his long history of mentoring women and minority small business owners through the development process.