A Message from New CBF Board President Cynthia Photos Abbott

September 24, 2021

The CBF is excited to welcome Cynthia Photos Abbott as our 40th President of the Board of Directors for the 2021/2022 term. See below for a message from Cindy as she gets started in her new role:

Hello everyone,

My name is Cynthia Photos Abbott and I am the incoming President of the Chicago Bar Foundation Board. The past year presented so many challenges. Through it all and thanks to our Immediate Past President, Veronica Gomez, the board, and the staff, the CBF not only met the moment by providing virtual services but expanded its reach by helping launch the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt program. Veronica, thank you for your leadership!

My involvement with the CBF began in 2013 when I co-hosted the CBA and CBF’s Annual Pro-Bono Awards Luncheon with my good friend, Terry Dee. The recipients were so impressive. They inspired me to join the board to help make a difference for those in need of pro bono services.

Since that time, I have served on the Grants, Strategic Planning, and the Executive Committees. In July 2021, the CBF board adopted updated mission and vision statements as well as a new Strategic Plan.  The Strategic Plan embraces innovation as a core tenet and incorporates Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (“JEDI”) in each of its strategic initiatives. Our work begins this October with Dr. Arin Reeves facilitating JEDI training for the board.

In addition to supporting the mission of the CBF as a director and board President, I am the General Counsel of Chicago Public Media, better known as WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station. It is wonderful to go to work every day in support of local journalism that promotes connections across our community and fosters a more informed and empathetic Chicago.   

On a personal note, I have spent a lot of the last year taking care of my daughter’s two mini schnauzers, Clark and Addison, while she wrote her dissertation. She has graduated and is off to a fellowship in Washington, D.C.  My husband and I are now ready to get a dog of our own. If you have any opinions on whether to get a Bernedoodle, a Golden Mountain Dog or a Goldendoodle, let me know!