Back 2 School America Appoints New Executive Director: Bernadette Shanahan-Haas

Bernadette Shanahan-Haas (right)
Bernadette Shanahan-Haas (right)
Press Kit
For over 15 years, Back 2 School America has been the bridge between dreams & opportunity, providing under-resourced students and teachers with essential Back 2 School Kits.

CHICAGO • JUNE 25, 2024


Back 2 School America announces the appointment of Bernadette Shanahan-Haas as its new Executive Director. Bernadette has over 25 years of leadership, strategy, and outcomes-driven success in the nonprofit sector in the Chicago-based organization. As part of a broader strategic transition, current CEO Matthew Kurtzman steps into a pivotal new role as Founder and Development Director.

Passing the baton to Bernadette marks a significant milestone for our organization and for me personally. I've been at the helm for over 15 years, and now is the perfect time to bring someone on board who will build upon our success and guide us through our next promising chapter.

- Matthew Kurtzman, Founder & Director of Development


Back 2 School America is one of the fastest-growing nonprofits focused on providing school supplies and other essential tools to children in need. ​ It has distributed 375,000 school supply kits containing over 11 million supplies since its founding by Kurtzman. 

Bernadette joins Back 2 School America as we embark on an ambitious national growth strategy. Recognized by the Business Ledger as one of the "Influential Women in Business," her most recent tenure as the Executive Director of the Retail Bakers of America, where she transformed the organization, ensuring its sustainability by establishing it as an essential leader within the industry.

I am honored to join Back 2 School America at this critical juncture. The mission of providing essential school supplies to children in need is more important than ever, and I'm committed to expanding our reach, enhancing our programs, and forging new partnerships. Together, we will build on the solid foundation laid by Matthew, ensuring that every child, family, and teacher has the tools they need for success!

-Bernadette Shanahan-Haas


Back 2 School America offers various avenues for individuals and corporations to get involved and support their mission of providing school supplies to children in need. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Individual Donations: Make a direct financial contribution to Back 2 School America. Every donation, no matter the size, helps provide school supplies to children who might otherwise go without.
  • Corporate Sponsorship: Many corporations choose to sponsor Back 2 School America either through financial contributions or in-kind donations of school supplies. This is a great way for businesses to give back to the community and support education initiatives.
  • Volunteer Opportunities: Back 2 School America often relies on volunteers to help organize events, pack and distribute school supply kits, and raise awareness about their cause. Volunteering your time can make a big difference in ensuring that children have the supplies they need to succeed in school.
  • Build-a-Kit Events: Back 2 School America organizes build-a-kit events where volunteers come together to assemble school supply kits for children. These events are a fun and hands-on way to make a direct impact in your community.
  • Fundraising Campaigns: You can also support Back 2 School America by organizing your own fundraising campaign. Whether it's a charity run, a bake sale, or a crowdfunding campaign, every dollar raised helps provide essential school supplies to children in need.

By getting involved with Back 2 School America, you're not only helping to ensure that children have the tools they need to succeed in school, but you're also making a positive impact on their lives and futures.

For more information on Back 2 School America and its initiatives, please visit


About Back 2 School America


1946 W. Irving Park Road, Floor 2 Chicago, IL 60613