Board Members

Kathleen O'Connor,


Kathleen is also head of curriculum and responsible for monitoring student progress.  She sets educational goals and activities for each student. Kathleen has spent her entire adult life teaching in diverse educational settings, including working with orphans in Madagascar, seventh graders in Washington D.C. public schools, and undergraduates at Dominican University. She has a Masters in Education from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt.

Maricruz Ponce de Leon, Vice President

Maricruiz is a Chicago native who has worked in community development and housing policy for various non-profits in the greater Chicago area.  She studied urban planning and public policy at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she also worked in housing and neighborhood revitalization efforts. She has experience leading collaborative planning sessions and has provided consulting services in the areas of process planning, facilitation, and relationship building, primarily to nonprofit community organizations. Maricruz has served on various action and parent advocacy committees and has held several leadership positions for social justice organizations. She has helped develop leadership at the volunteer, administrative and board level at various not-for-profit groups.

Hieu Ton-That, Treasurer

Hieu came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975. His family settled in Ohio, and he attended both undergraduate and medical school at Brown University.  Dr. Ton-That has worked with many community service organizations. He was a team leader for City Year Providence.  He has served on several boards mainly focused on nonviolence and serving the Southeast Asian community.  Currently, he serves on the board of the Institute of Nonviolence Chicago. Dr. Ton-That works as a trauma surgeon and intensive-care specialist at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois.

Michael O'Connor, Secretary

Michael attended Amherst College and Harvard Law School, where he was President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. While in school, he worked for Cesar Chavez and the U.F.W, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Southern Center for Human Rights, D.C. Public Defender Service, and the United States Department of Justice, Office of Policy Development.  In the mid-to-late ’90s, he was a Senior Trial Attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and an Associate Counsel to the President of the United States at the White House. He then was an international field worker for Catholic Relief Services in war-torn Madagascar and Kosovo and then served as Regional Director for South Asia for International Justice Mission, in which capacity he testified to a U.S. House of Representatives’ committee on issues of international human trafficking. Since 2007, he has been a portfolio manager in the financial industry.




(708) 835-9584

Learning Center:

6431 N. California Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60659

Mailing Address:

5822 S. Blackstone Ave., #2, Chicago, IL, 60637

FORA is a registered 501c3 organization