The Better Government Association has named Mark Valentino as its new director of development, reporting to BGA President and CEO David Greising.

Valentino most recently served as associate dean for advancement at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, managing all areas of fundraising for the leading public university dental schools in Illinois. In a UIC dental school career that began in 1991, Valentino has taken on a series of increased responsibility, providing the resources needed to train dentists in a state-of-the-art educational environment.

The BGA is a non-partisan, nonprofit news and policy advocacy organization working to secure transparency, equity and accountability in government in Chicago and across Illinois. It is building toward its centennial anniversary in 2023. The BGA’s investigative reporting is published on, as well as in partnership with legacy and nonprofit news organizations including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, WBEZ, Block Club Chicago, Chalkbeat Chicago and other nonprofit news organizations.

Valentino, besides his work at UIC, also is the founder and publisher of an independent Chicago newspaper, the Gazette Chicago, which serves 10 Chicago neighborhoods. He first founded the Near West Gazette at age 24, working with minimal financial resources. The independent, award-winning Gazette now has a staff of 35 freelance reporters, photographers, and graphic designers and a professional staff that handles day-to-day management

Mark brings an extraordinary combination of talents as both a development and journalism professional,” said Greising, the BGA president. “He will be able to incisively and persuasively present our mission and goals to donors, prospects and investors in BGA’s work.”

My combined 30-plus years of experience as both a successful development professional and publisher in Chicago makes me keenly aware of the impact and importance of the Better Government Association,” Valentino said. “I have always admired the work of the BGA and what it has done for the people of Illinois. Watching news reports or reading investigative pieces in our print media and other platforms has always found me admiring and rooting for the Better Government Association,” he added.

The Better Government Association retained KEES as its executive search partner earlier this year. KEES identified Valentino as a uniquely qualified candidate for the position. Valentino starts his role in September.

KEES Vice President, Laura Weinman, commented, “Mark brought the perfect blend of unique experience, professionalism and commitment to excellence that BGA needs as it approaches its centennial year. He will be an excellent addition to BGA’s leadership team.”


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams and dynamic leaders in nonprofit and public sectors. A woman-owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. To learn more about KEES, visit


The Better Government Association is a non-partisan, nonprofit news organization and civic advocate working for transparency, equity and accountability in government in Chicago and across Illinois. The BGA uncovers waste and wrongdoing in government, holds elected officials accountable, litigates for open records and meetings, advocates for good government and empowers residents to engage and act. To learn more about the Better Government Association, please visit


Jamie Sheffler


David Greising