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Community Leader Appointed to the Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security

Palos Heights, IL – October 5, 2020 To better inform policymakers on the root causes of

poverty and economic insecurity, Kenneth Grunke, Executive Director for PLOWS Council on

Aging, has been appointed to the Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security. Grunke’s appointment was made by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs).

The commission consists of four members of the General Assembly, a member of the judicial branch and 20 members of the public, including people who have experienced deep poverty and advocates for older adults, youth, veterans, mental health, education equity, those experiencing homelessness, those differently abled and others.

“I’m honored to represent our diverse communities and participate in the important work of the Commission, “said Grunke. “Through our nonprofit’s knowledge of and hands-on experience with access to healthcare, housing and advocacy, I hope to be a convener of conversation and action and help reduce the inequities and disparities across our state to make communities stronger and healthier.”

The commission is tasked with educating policymakers on the impact poverty has on other measures of economic stability and economic outcomes, including educational attainment, rates of incarceration, lifetime earnings, access to health care, health care outcomes, and access to housing. The Department of Human Services will provide support for the commission to complete its work to produce a strategic plan that addresses poverty and economic insecurity in Illinois by November 30, 2021.


The Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security was signed into law by Governor Pritzker in June as part of Public Act 101-636.

As Executive Director for PLOWS Council on Aging, Grunke oversees all operations for the 501(c)3 human service organization providing comprehensive community services to more than 16,000 individuals in Palos, Lemont, Orland, and Worth Townships of Illinois. He joined the nonprofit in 2017 and leads a team of 70+ staff, collaborates with the Board and Advisory Council, guides strategic planning, financial management and fundraising, ensures program quality and works with the community, legislators, regulatory agencies, and volunteers and representatives of the not-for-profit sector to promote policies that encourage a healthy aging community and address needs impacting different constituencies.

Prior to joining PLOWS Council on Aging, Grunke served as Executive Director of West

Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he provided vision and leadership to more than 350 businesses in eight diverse communities. His experience also includes work at Aging Care Connections as Director of Philanthropy and External Affairs and an Aging Well Manager, and Director of Individual and Major Giving at Pillars Community Health, a nonprofit provider of health and social services. He graduated with a Master in Social Work (emphasis in Gerontology) and Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Psychology with an emphasis in Social Services from Dominican University.

About PLOWS Council on Aging Since 1975, PLOWS Council on Aging has been connecting adults 60 years of age and over, as well as adults with disabilities, their caregivers and friends, to resources they need to maintain health, dignity, and independence in their homes for as long as possible. Serving the 20 communities that comprise Palos, Lemont, Orland and Worth Townships, PLOWS helps more than 16,000 individuals each year. We provide a holistic suite of programs and services including Adult Protective Services, Advocacy & Benefits, Caregiver Support, Care Planning, Choices for Care Program, Home-Delivered Meals, Information & Assistance, In-Home Services, and Shared Housing. Please visit www.plows.org to learn about ways you can help us make a difference in our community and celebrate our 45th Anniversary. PLOWS Council on Aging is a 501 (c) (3), independent, charitable human service organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent of the law. Tax ID: 36-2882809

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