CCBF Welcomes Two New Directors

Chicago Community Bond Fund is excited to announce our new Director of Advocacy and Director of Programs who will be stepping into their roles this month!

As of August 3, Dr. Zaria Davis has joined CCBF as our Director of Advocacy and will lead our advocacy’s team participation in the Coalition to End Money Bond. On August 16, Gerald Polanco will join CCBF as our Director of Programs and will oversee our revolving fund. You can learn more about them below!

Dr. Zaria Davis, CCBF’s new Director of Advocacy

Dr. Zaria Davis (she/her) is a mentor, educator, and advocate. Dr. Davis is coming from Pretrial Justice Institute where she served as Senior Associate for the Advocacy & Community Engagement team. She has done work locally and statewide related to pretrial, bail reform, and jail conditions. Zaria has brought her knowledge and experience to local and state coalitions.

Zaria serves as a coach and consultant for  nonprofits and corporations servicing directly impacted communities through New Direction Coaching & Consulting, LLC. She is passionate about working with women in reentry and launched Filling The Gap Reentry Services in 2019, addressing many of the voids in services in her community for formerly incarcerated women. Filling the Gap serves on the UnlockHigherEd Steering Committee which advocates for removal of barriers for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated scholars. She serves on the Ed Trust’s Justice Fellows Advisory Board.

Zaria holds a DSW (Social Work) from Capella University, MSW from University of Cincinnati and BA in Sociology from Wilberforce University. She is currently enrolled in Eden Theological Seminary pursuing her MDiv. Zaria is a member of Leadership Ohio 2021 Class and graduate from Leadership Cincinnati Class 44, JLUSA’s Leading with Conviction, and EXCEL. She serves as a board member for Dress for Success Cincinnati, Ohio Justice and Policy Center, ReNForce, and the Robert O’Neal Multicultural Art Center (ROMAC). Zaria is a member of the Rotary, Junior League of Cincinnati, International Coaching Federation, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Community & Restorative Justice, National Association of Black Social Workers, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice and Wilberforce Alumni Association 

Dr. Davis is the recipient of the Restored Citizen Award in 2019 and Mary Ivers Success Award in 2020. She is actively engaged in her local community in developing and training new advocates, especially those impacted by the criminal legal system. Zaria has a wide range of experiences which reflects her advocacy, training, and consulting. Dr. Davis is a Subject Matter Expert with Jamii Sisterhood and serves on the Dignity LeadHERship Alliance team  She is passionate about reducing the prison population, fully restoring directly impacted people’s citizenship, and access to higher education during and after incarceration. Dr. Davis provides individual and organizational coaching and consulting, conducts workshops and presentations, facilitation, as well as public and keynote speaking engagements throughout the country. She is the proud mother of a  college student and two bonus children.

Gerald Polanco, CCBF’s incoming Director of Programs

Gerald Polanco (he/him/él) will be the Director of Programs at the Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF). He is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He is a queer Latino advocate for and alongside low-income communities of color. His passion for advocacy and skill navigating systems was born from his experience
as a child of an immigrant single mother.

Prior to joining CCBF, Gerald was the Medical Legal Partnership coordinator for Uptown People’s Law Center with Heartland Alliance Health. He provided a myriad of services ranging from legal advice and referrals to direct representation of tenants and people with disabilities. He facilitated Know Your Rights workshops and outreach in English and Spanish in partnership with other community organizations. Gerald’s commitment to de-incarceration was fostered at First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA) where he represented individuals in Chicago Police Department custody and facilitated Know Your Rights workshops on 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment rights. At FDLA, he led a City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) grant covering 18 Aldermanic Black Caucus wards on the South and West sides coordinating a train the trainer model on stationhouse representation and individual’s constitutional rights.

Gerald is a member of the Advisory Council for the Office of New Americans where he serves alongside other Chicagoans advocating for immigrants. He is also a member of Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE) and its advocacy committee in order to address the intersection of health and homeless. He is excited to join CCBF and contribute to the work of dismantling systems of oppression and marginalization.

Welcome to CCBF, Zaria and Gerald!

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