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Emanuel Johnson II

Program Officer | Robert R. McCormick Foundation

"I envision a Chicago where what side of town you grew up on represents a cardinal direction and not a predictor of life outcomes. I will continue to create economic opportunities in the hardest hit neighborhoods and ensure the great wealth amassed in this city continues to provide the social services for those who need it most."


Undergraduate Degree: The George Washington University, '15

Fun fact: I've done an embarrassing amount of karaoke. There are pictures to prove it. 

Emanuel “Manny” Johnson II is a proud native of Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. After high school, Manny joined the Navy, where he served for 6 years as an Information Systems Technician. During his tour of service, he was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Vella Gulf (CG-72) deploying to the eastern mediterranean supporting Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and the Arabian Gulf supporting anti-piracy operations. His final tour of duty was with the National Security Agency serving in their Global Enterprise Command Center. 

Upon leaving the Navy, Manny enrolled in the George Washington University, where he received a B.A. in Economics. Manny then returned home Chicago to accept an appointment to the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, where he served as Senior Policy Advisor, focusing on community outreach and engagement. There, he headed task forces and councils designed to provide critical feedback to the Director of Veterans’ Affairs. 

Manny currently serves as the Program Officer for the Veterans Program at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, managing a $3MM portfolio of 35 grantees. Additionally, he serves on the Foundation’s Racial Equity Committee aiding to pave the way forward to more equitable grantmaking. 

Manny serves on the Associate Board of Chicago Scholars, the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Veterans Affair, and the Defense Council for The Truman National Security Project. He was also selected to be a member of the Chicago Urban League’s 2018 IMPACT Fellowship cohort. Manny enjoys contemporary art, music, hiking, and most importantly, spending time with his young daughter, Jada.