The Safety and Justice Challenge is a collaborative effort between the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and our many Partners and Allies. The MacArthur team provides strategic direction and messaging, makes final decisions regarding funding, and exercises grant-making authority. Learn more about MacArthur’s Criminal Justice Program.
Laurie R. Garduque
Director, Criminal Justice
Since joining the Foundation in 1991, she has focused on advancing juvenile justice and criminal justice reforms. In this role, she led development of Models for Change, an initiative that worked with government officials, legal advocates, educators, community leaders, and families to make juvenile justice systems more fair, effective, rational, and developmentally appropriate. And more recently, she helped launch the Safety and Justice Challenge which gives support to local leaders from across the country to tackle the misuse and overuse of jails.
She received her bachelor's degree in Psychology and her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Aisha Cornelius Edwards
Senior Program Officer, Criminal Justice
Aisha is an integral part of the Criminal Justice team, whose work focuses on reducing over-incarceration and changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.
Before joining the Foundation, Aisha was the Supervising Attorney of Criminal Defense at Cabrini Green Legal Aid, a non-profit organization based in Chicago that provides legal and social work services. Aisha provided direct representation to clients with felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile matters, including delinquency and parole violations. She further supervised criminal defense matters handled by other staff, fellows, volunteers, and law student interns. Additionally, she conducted community outreach and education about the criminal legal system to various audiences throughout Cook County.
Prior to her defense work, Aisha was an Assistant State's Attorney for Cook County, where she gained criminal litigation experience in various assignments, including criminal appeals, felony review, domestic violence, preliminary hearings, and special prosecutions. While there, she was part of an interdisciplinary task force that included prosecutors, legal advocates, and the county clerk's office, whose work created a regular court call for hearing expungement and sealing petitions. The resulting process reduced the county's backlog from four years to three months. Through her years as a criminal litigator, Aisha has conducted hundreds of trials, motions, and hearings and has also argued in front of both the Illinois Appellate and Illinois Supreme Courts.
Prior to practicing law, Aisha worked in various non-profit settings, including policy and advocacy at the Illinois Center for Violence Prevention, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, and the CIVITAS Childlaw Center at Loyola.
Aisha is also an adjunct professor at the Loyola Chicago University School of Law, where she teaches a Criminal Law Practicum and also co-leads a workshop about Diversity and Inclusion in the legal field.
Aisha obtained her MBA and undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. Aisha received her juris doctor and advocacy certificate from the Loyola University School of Law, where she was the law school's recipient of the President's Medallion; an honor bestowed yearly to a single student that exemplifies the principals of leadership, scholarship, and service.
Aisha has received the Norman C. Amaker Award of Excellence, Advocacy Honors Program Coach of the Year Award, and the BLSA Young Alumni Service Award from the Loyola School of Law. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association.
Administrator, Criminal Justice
Erica is the Administrator for Criminal Justice and works with the team on improving local justice systems and developing alternatives to jail incarceration. She also works directly with grantees, grants management and manages the program's budget.
Prior to joining the Criminal Justice team, Erica worked in Journalism and Media and on Special Initiatives, including Arts and Culture, New Ideas, and the Foundation's work on intellectual property in the public interest.
She holds a master's degree in Public Administration and an undergrad degree in Sociology from Roosevelt University and an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Governors State University.
Senior Evaluation Officer
Maurice supports the monitoring and evaluation activities at the Foundation and collaborates with staff and leadership to frame the Foundation's evaluation activities. He also provides technical assistance and contributes to staff's use of program evaluation.
Prior to joining the Foundation Maurice was a Lead Evaluation and Research Associate at Outlier Research & Evaluation at the University of Chicago. He led several of Outlier's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program evaluations in education and was a co-principal investigator of an evaluation research project funded by the National Science Foundation, through which he and his colleagues engaged in a full-scale study aimed at further developing instruments to study mathematics and science curriculum.
Maurice earned his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an emphasis on research and evaluation methods. He attended Xavier University of Louisiana, where he earned a Bachelors of Science and Masters of Art.
Maurice is an active member of the American Evaluation Association where he has served on working groups and in leadership roles. Currently he is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Evaluation, the Association's quarterly publication.
Coordinator, Criminal Justice
Coralie is the newest member of the Criminal Justice team. She is the Coordinator, providing support for the team by organizing meetings, overseeing travel arrangements, and managing schedules and other logistical matters. Coralie also helps proofread and edit most of the team’s documents. Before joining the Criminal Justice team, she worked in a similar role with the Nuclear Challenges program.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Coralie worked briefly as a Development Program Associate for the American Technion Society, and prior to that, she spent 10 years at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, as a French Translator and Senior Administrative Assistant.
Coralie holds a Master’s in Gothic Literature and Psychoanalysis from the University of Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle.
Senior Program Officer, Criminal Justice
Before joining the Foundation, he was a writer, researcher, legal analyst, and director of projects for the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), where he became a national authority on comparative legal analysis of state transfer and blended sentencing laws. His research and writings ranged over the whole field of juvenile justice: he directed evaluations of a statewide delinquency grant funding initiative in Pennsylvania and a state-administered dependency attorney-procurement system in Maryland; served as principal investigator on a study of jurisdictional change options commissioned by the state of Vermont; co-edited a nationally-used juvenile probation practice guidebook; and had a lead role in planning, monitoring, assessing and documenting the multi-state Models for Change juvenile justices systems reform initiative.
Griffin began his career as an attorney, and before joining NCJJ had practical experience as an editor of business-oriented legal publications and as a freelance journalist whose essays, profiles, and general-interest reporting appeared in magazines and newspapers nationwide.
Griffin graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan and received his law degree from Harvard Law School.
Senior Grants Manager
Gabriela is currently a Senior Grants Manager. She works directly with programs and grantees in the administration of grants, including implementation and compliance. She previously served as a Program Administrator with several international programs at the Foundation. In that capacity, she was responsible for preparing and tracking multiple grant and administrative budgets and interfacing with the Foundation's country offices in India, Mexico and Nigeria.
Before joining the Foundation, Gabriela worked at the Adler Planetarium in the History of Astronomy Department.
Gabriela is fluent in Spanish and has an Associate's degree in Computerized Business Systems and Accounting from Robert Morris University and a Business Administration degree with a minor in Management from DePaul University.
Maria collaborates with program staff to create and implement communications strategies for the Foundation's work on Criminal Justice and Nuclear Challenges.
Maria joined the Foundation after seven years at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an organization dedicated to developing smart public policies that fight poverty and strengthen safety net programs. At the Center, Maria helped coordinate and advance the organization's network of state affiliates, the State Priorities Partnership. She led efforts to communicate the network's impact and worked closely with member organizations to strengthen their communications strategy and messaging. Before joining the Center, Maria spent six years working on Capitol Hill in the communications offices of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
She is a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia.
Bria L. Gillum
Senior Program Officer, Criminal Justice
Bria works with the Criminal Justice team and is focused on improving local justice systems and developing alternatives to jail incarceration.
Bria joined the Foundation after serving as a Senior Attorney Advisor for the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As a legal and policy advisor to the Chair and the Commissioners, Bria was responsible for developing policy initiatives focused on equal pay and religious discrimination and conducted outreach on Equal Employment Opportunity laws. She previously served in President Barack Obama's White House Domestic Policy Council and helped implement the Administration's policies on criminal justice reform, equal pay, and Native American affairs. She leveraged her law and social policy expertise to coordinate with federal agencies, academics, and the private and philanthropic sectors on some of the Administration's key civil rights initiatives, including convenings on reentry and employment and school discipline, organizing the White House Tribal Nations Conference, and administering executive actions on equal pay. Prior to the Obama Administration, Bria served as a law clerk to Judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Bria received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, a Master's in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, and a law degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.