• Frances Baxley, M.D.

    Medical Director
    Erie HealthReach Waukegan Health Center

    Frances Baxley’s clinical experience includes providing primary care for underserved communities in San Francisco and rural New Mexico, and continuity and walk-in care at NorthShore University Health System. A Fulbright alumna, she earned a medical degree from Harvard and completed her residency in Family and Community Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. She currently works for Erie Family Health Center as medical director of the Erie HealthReach Waukegan Family Health Center. She is board certified in family medicine and is fluent in Spanish and German. Dr. Baxley joined the Board of the Healthcare Foundation in 2016.

    Luis A. Berrones (Vice Chair)

    Associate Judge
    Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois

    Appointed in 2007, Judge Luis Berrones, who currently serves in Chancery, has presided over bench and jury trials in both the criminal and civil divisions. Prior to joining the Nineteenth Circuit, he was a partner in the law firm of Gardner Carton & Douglas LLP, where for more than 20 years he focused on complex litigation involving commercial and product liability. While in private practice, he also served as an arbitrator in Cook and Lake Counties’ Court Annexed Mandatory Arbitration Programs. Judge Berrones joined the Board of the Healthcare Foundation in 2017.

    Mary Dominiak, Ph.D., M.B.A., RN (Chair)

    Village of Antioch

    Before joining the faculty of Loyola University Chicago’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, where she was assistant professor and founding director of the Undergraduate Health Systems Management Program, Mary Dominiak held the position of global director of marketing for a business unit of Baxter Healthcare Corporation. A trustee of the Village of Antioch, she also serves on the Leader Council of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls and is a founding member of the Antioch Area Healthcare Accessibility Alliance (AAHAA). Dr. Dominiak joined the Foundation’s Board in 2011.

    Michael Duffy

    Law Office of Michael Duffy LLC

    Recently retired as Vice President of Litigation Services at Mindcrest, Inc., the oldest and largest legal process outsourcing company. Mr. Duffy is a frequent author and speaker on e-discovery issues and the legal outsourcing industry. He is currently the sole member of the Law Office of Michael Duffy LLC and represents immigration clients on a pro bono basis. He has over 40 years experience as a litigator that include his position as national counsel and lead trial counsel for a medical device manufacturer. His appellate experience includes arguments before the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts. He has over ten years experience as township attorney for Libertyville and Lake Villa townships in Lake County, Illinois. Mr. Duffy also served as an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Lake County Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office. He joined the Healthcare Foundation’s Board in September 2018.

    David Hatton, CFP (Treasurer)

    Senior Financial Consultant
    First Midwest Financial Network

    With more than a decade of experience in the insurance and financial services sectors, David Hatton provides individual investment advice through First Midwest Bank, where he is an investment sales manager, and through his own consultancy, HFS. He has a B.A. in political science from Ball State University and served for eight years in the U.S. Army. A resident of Grayslake, Mr. Hatton joined the Foundation’s Board in 2014.

    Magdalena McElroy, R.N., LCSW

    Psychiatric Nurse and Clinical Social Worker
    Lake County Health Department

    A bilingual therapist, counselor, and registered nurse, Magdalena McElroy has worked with adult and youth clients on issues as diverse as behavioral health problems and mental illness, co-occurring medical and psychological disorders, occupational injury, and sexual abuse. She is currently employed at Lake County Health Department’s Behavioral Health Services and maintains a private practice. McElroy received a bachelor of science from Alverno College and an MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She joined the Foundation’s Board in 2015.

    Laura Ramírez, B.A.

    Grant Portfolio Manager
    Lake County Crisis Center (Known as A Safe Place)

    Laura Ramírez is a lifelong resident of Lake County with over 15 years of experience in the Lake County non-profit sector, she holds a BA in psychology with a minor in social work from Wheaton College and is a graduate of the Illinois Latino Policy Forum’s Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academy. A former member of the board of directors of the Coalición Latinos Unidos of Lake County, she joined the Foundation’s Board in 2015.

    Jesus Ruiz, M.Ed.

    College of Lake County, Lakeshore Campus

    Jesus Ruiz has served the Lake County community for over a decade. He received his Masters Degree in Higher Education Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Foundations: Equity, Inquiry, and Research at Illinois State University. He is Dean of the Lakeshore Campus at the College of Lake County. Mr. Ruiz is bilingual in English and Spanish and is familiar with education needs of the Lake County residents. He is a board member of the Illinois Latino Counsel on Higher Education (ILACHE), and a former President of The Latino Coalition of Lake County and the Waukegan Public Library. Mr. Ruiz joined the Foundation’s Board in September 2018.

    Maria C. Schwartz, M.S., BSN, RN (Secretary)

    Civic Leader

    For nearly four decades, Maria Schwartz worked on the frontlines of patient care, holding positions of increasing responsibility in area hospitals and nursing facilities. Among those positions were assistant vice president of patient care services at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, director of acute care services and mental health and of medical-surgical services at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, and director of nursing services at Winchester House in Libertyville. Ms. Schwartz joined the Foundation’s Board in 2013.

    Casandra D. Slade

    Senior Vice President, CRA/Community Development
    Wintrust Financial

    For more than 20 years, Casandra Slade has worked to improve economic stability and prosperity in low- and middle-income communities in Illinois. She began on the nonprofit side, implementing homebuyer education and post-purchase programs in Milwaukee and increasing affordable housing opportunities in Lake County. In 2004, she moved to the banking sector itself, launching successful small loan programs and helping shape effective community reinvestment and development initiatives. In her current role, Ms. Slade provides strategic guidance to Wintrust’s 15 community bank subsidiaries and a variety of community nonprofit organization partners. She joined the Foundation’s Board in 2017.

    Carol Sonnenschein, M.A., Ph.D.


    A sociologist and geographic information system analyst, Carol Sonnenschein works to help governments and nonprofits understand local demographic, social, and economic trends. For 10 years at Chicago Metropolis 2020, she conducted research and analysis in the areas of development and transportation. She has worked to restore and protect the Des Plaines River watershed and taught at Loyola University Chicago. A longtime county resident, she has served on the boards of the Lake County Community Foundation, Liberty Prairie Conservancy, Lake County Affordable Housing Commission, and Metropolitan Planning Council Regional Development Committee. She joined the Foundation’s Board in 2016.

    Nancy S. Waites

    Attorney/Retired Judge

    Nancy Schuster Waites made her mark on the legal community in Lake and Cook counties through her public service and entrepreneurial skills. She served as an Associate Judge for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit for over a decade. Her assignments included traffic and misdemeanor matters, probate and family law cases. She also served as an Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted both child support collection cases and parentage matters. Ms. Waites earned her law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. She joined the Healthcare Foundation’s Board in September 2018.

  • Angela Baran, M.S.

    Program Officer

    Angela Baran holds a masters from DePaul University’s School of Public Service and has experience in healthcare grants management and development through her work with the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center. A life-long resident of Northeastern Lake County, she understands both the needs and assets of the community. She is committed to improving the health of the community through education and the provision of quality services. She joined the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County in 2011.

    Meredith Polirer

    Office Administrator

    Meredith Polirer has held office administration and accounting related positions at a variety of corporations and nonprofit organizations, including P.M. Haeger & Associates, Delicious Cookie Company, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Michaels Arts & Crafts. She studied administrative office systems at the College of Lake County and holds a bachelor’s degree in technical management from DeVry University in Gurnee. She joined the Foundation in 2012.

    Ernest Vasseur, M.T.S.

    Executive Director

    Ernest Vasseur is the founding executive director of Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County and has spent most of his career in the nonprofit sector. While at the AIDS Pastoral Care Network during the 1990s, he supervised hospital chaplains of various faith traditions, educated religious leaders and their faith communities about compassionate responses to persons with HIV disease, led spirituality retreats and support groups for persons with HIV/AIDS, and helped to launch the first camp for families with HIV. In 1999, he moved to the field of philanthropy, becoming program officer, then senior program officer, with the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. There he developed significant expertise in healthcare access issues for low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations and oversaw the foundation’s humanitarian relief grants.