UIC Urban Forum



Juanita Irizarry

Executive Director, Friends of the Parks

Juanita Irizarry is executive director of Friends of the Parks, a parks advocacy organization that works to protect, preserve, and promote Chicago’s parks. Her career in public service also has included a stint in the Office of Governor Pat Quinn, service at The Chicago Community Trust as Senior Program Officer in Human Services and Community Development, and 15 years of non-profit work in affordable housing, community development, and public policy, primarily focused on Chicago’s Latino community.

Her current volunteer roles include the boards of Common Cause IL, the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, and Housing Plus as well as the United Way Chicago Council and the Metropolitan Planning Council Housing and Community Development Committee.

A lifelong resident of Humboldt Park/Logan Square, she ran for alderman in her community in the last election cycle.

Juanita holds a BA in History/Political Science and Spanish at Greenville University and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and completed 60 hours of graduate study in urban planning and policy at UIC.