I started at Illinois Action for Children around the same time as Maria, sitting close to her office for many years. I was surprised how the head of the agency kept her office door open and created an open environment. Maria is a large part of why I am so proud to work for IAFC. Although I wish I wasn’t so quiet around her now, I hope she knows how much I learned by her example. As passionately as she supported children and families, she supported her staff. I am grateful to Maria and will never forget the impact she’s made in my life and for so many others. As we see the beautiful legacy she leaves behind, she inspires so many of us to create something as beautiful. My heart goes out to Maria’s family, IAFC family, and everyone who loved her. She will be dearly missed.