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Dr. Mary Nelson

Dr. Mary Nelson has 50 years of faith-based community development experience using a strengths-based approach that builds on assets of people and place. Mary is president emeritus of Bethel New Life, a faith-based community development corporation. Bethel pioneered in community-based efforts to build healthier, sustainable and equitable communities on Chicago’s west side, including adaptive re-use of a closed down inner-city hospital, and a smart, green, mixed-use commercial center at a transit stop. She was interim executive director (2012-2015) of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. She is on the faculty of Asset Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University. Mary has her Ph.D. from Union Graduate School and six honorary Ph.D.s and is the author of “Empowerment”. She is currently also actively involved in the environmental justice movement on local and international scale.

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