Thompson named Interim Parks & Recreation head

Audrey Thompson
City of Evanston photo
Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski today announced the appointment of Audrey Thompson as the City of Evanston’s interim parks and recreation director.

Thompson has served as the City’s community services manager since January 2020, where she has overseen the City’s Youth & Young Adult and Senior Services programs. Recently, Thompson has focused on programs designed to prevent youth violence and recidivism, overseeing the launch of the My City, Your City, Our City program, which provides safe, fun, and enriching summer and year-round activities geared towards youth ages 13 to 18 years old.

“With more than 30 years of boots-on-the-ground and leadership experience in social services and programming, Audrey exhibits the leadership characteristics necessary to guide the Parks and Recreation Department through transition and restore the public trust and confidence in the department,” said Gandurski. “Not only does Audrey possess the skills and qualifications necessary to provide much-needed community services through programming, organization, and resource allocation, she cares deeply about all members of the Evanston community. I look forward to working with Audrey in her new role.”

As part of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson has led efforts to address food insecurity, assisting nearly 150 families through pop-up food pantries in Evanston. She also helped form the Mayor’s Long-Term Care and Congregate Facilities Work Group, which contributed to Evanston achieving a 100 percent vaccination rate among long-term care facility residents.

Thompson began her career with the City of Evanston in 2010 as regional ombudsman and program manager. In that role, she led the creation of the Age-Friendly Business Initiative and the Evanston Benefit Card program, which provides seniors with one-step access to City programs, such as the Subsidized Transportation Program, Wheel Tax Discount, and Recreation Program Fee Assistance, as well as discounts at local businesses. Prior to her service to the City, Thompson dedicated 18 years to MS Children’s Home Services in Jackson, Mississippi, rising to the position of central region director for community-based services.

Thompson is a licensed Master Social Worker and serves as an adjunct professor in the Social Work Department of Northeastern Illinois University. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Jackson State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tougaloo College. She is the former chair of the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse Board of Directors and serves as a member of the advisory boards for North Shore Senior Center and North Shore Village Network. Thompson is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and was the recipient of the 2017 Evanston/North Shore NAACP Community Service Award.

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311 or simply dial 311 in Evanston.

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