Let it Be Us Staff

Mary Jo Cusack

Director of Foster and Adoptive Parent Recruitment 

Mary Jo believes in, and understands, the importance of providing all children with a loving and safe home. Mary Jo has been involved in community nonprofit development and was an integral part of the movement Leave No Children Inside. She has lived in Ireland and understands that the child human rights issues we face affect local, state, national and international levels. She holds a BA in Marketing from Lakeland College and has a background in marketing, sales, print media, television and radio. She has served as the Director of Development and Student Recruitment for Upper Iowa University. Mary Jo and her husband have 4 children, two of whom are in college, and one who is in law school. She brings her experience and dedication to the Let It Be Us Parent Recruitment Programs and Heart Gallery of Illinois efforts. You can reach Mary Jo here.

Amber Racokzy

Foster and Adoptive Parent Recruitment and Licensing Specialist

Amber is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University in New York after completing her undergraduate studies at Valparaiso University in Indiana. She has spent her career working with children and families in mental health, juvenile justice, school, and child welfare settings. Amber enjoys helping individuals and families identify their strengths and she feel honored to be invited into people’s lives each day. She is consistently looking for ways to improve services and outcomes at all levels, and appreciates working alongside other passionate, committed individuals and teams associated with Let It Be Us. You can reach Amber here.

Alex Montgomery

Director of Strategy and Operations 

Alex Montgomery has a wealth of experience in nonprofit management. As a nonprofit professional with 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, she has experience leading fundraising and operations teams, expanding and managing back office functions and overseeing multi-million dollar facility renovations.  Alex earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.  She is also a mother through adoption with a passion for reimagining how we define family and ensuring all children are in safe, healthy, happy homes. You can reach Alex here.

Lisa Hanson-Braun

Targeted Recruitment Specialist and Grants Administrator

Lisa is passionate about helping children be healthy and happy and finding their forever homes which is vital to each child’s success. She has BA in Political Science from Iowa State University.  Over the last 25 years Lisa has worked for agencies in the northwest suburbs of Chicago (Partners for Our Communities, Metropolis Performing Arts Center, The Bridge Youth & Family Services, One-Five Foundation) that care for children and families through a variety of programs to improve overall well-being. She excels at Recruitment, Grants, Special Events, and Volunteer Management. Lisa and her husband have two sons and a Wheaten Terrier named Duncan. You can reach Lisa here.

Lily Cusack

Social Media Coordinator

As a journalist, Lily focuses on telling the stories of people who are often overlooked in the media, including children in foster care and those awaiting adoption. She earned her Bachelor’s of Journalism, magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a minor in French and certificates in Multicultural Studies and General Honors. She has reported for NPR, NBC, Reuters News, and newspapers in Maine, Missouri, and Illinois. She has managed social media accounts for Reuters News in Brussels, Belgium; CELIE, a non-profit in Washington, D.C.; and the United Methodist Church in Missouri. Lily is currently attending law school at William & Mary Law School in Virginia, where she plans to begin a career in international public policy. This summer, she has a fellowship with a non-profit international legal organization in Kigali, Rwanda. You can reach Lily here.

Jeri Bark 

Administrative Coordinator 

Jeri brings many years of administrative and accounting experience to Let It Be Us. She is an expert in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and database management. She is also an expert in organization, list making, list keeping, and everything important to keeping us functional in all of our operations. You can reach Jeri here.  

Ross Cochran 

Director of Resource Development 

Ross brings his expertise in communications and donor resource development to Let It Be Us. Ross is also an alum of WGN Chicago Radio. He has a BS from Bradley University in Theater and has experience as a pastor. Ross and his wife Lauren are licensed and active foster parents who provide respite to children in Illinois foster care who are in need of a stable home. They are parents to their daughter, Abigail, and are awaiting the birth of their second child. You can reach Ross here.