Modesto Tico Valle leaving Center on Halsted after 15 years

Fri. March 10, 2023 11:45 AM by News Staff

modesto tico valle

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'... the time had come to pass the torch on to the next generation of leaders at the Center,' says Center on Halsted Board Chair Victor Ravago

Center on Halsted CEO Modesto Tico Valle is stepping down from the role after 15 years at the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ community center. 

Center on Halsted Board Chair Victor Ravago announced Valle's departure in a letter Friday.

Valle went on leave back in November of 2022, which turned into a “period of reflection for both the Board and Tico,” Ravago said.

According to Ravago, “it was decided that the time had come to pass the torch on to the next generation of leaders at the Center.”

Editha Paras, chief program officer, and Brad Snyder, chief development officer, will continue serving as interim co-CEOs, Ravago said.

Valle was named CEO in 2007, where he oversaw the opening of the 175,000 square foot community center located at 3656 N Halsted in Chicago's north side neighborhood commonly referred to as "Boystown." 

"I am humbled and pleased by the accomplishments during my tenure, but most importantly I am proud of how the staff, and I have been flexible, hardworking, and passionate about serving our communities," Valle posted on Facebook. "It has not always been easy, but it has always been incredibly rewarding."

He continued, "I am stepping away with the Center financially sound and debt free. I am so proud of how far we have come."

A native of Chicago, Valle is a longtime community activist and organizer. He founded the Chicago Chapter NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1990 and was instrumental in bringing the AIDS Memorial Quilt to the National Mall in 1996. 

Valle was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1998. 

Letter from Victor Ravago:

I share with you today that Modesto Tico Valle will be departing from his role as CEO of Center on Halsted after a long and storied tenure as its leader for the last 15 years.

An entire generation of Center on Halsted staff, community members, and partners have seen the Center grow into what it is today under his leadership. I thank him sincerely on behalf of the Board for his service, his contributions, and the foundation he helped build here at the Center to ensure its sustainability and ability to serve countless more generations of Chicagoans who will find community here.

Tico went on leave back in November of 2022, which turned into a period of reflection for both the Board and Tico, and through conversations and mutual understanding, it was decided that the time had come to pass the torch on to the next generation of leaders at the Center.

He leaves the organization in a position of strength and in the steady hands of a new senior leadership team. It was his idea to grow the corps of leaders at the helm of the Center, beginning a process back in 2021 to ensure that the Center had leadership who could steer the Center in a positive, healthy direction.

Tico touched so many and impacted so much of what the Center is today, and it is hard to imagine what the Center will look like without him here. However, there inevitably comes a time in which change is necessary to ensure that the next generation of leaders are prepared to take on the evolving challenges of today and tomorrow. He’ll always be a crucial part of the Center’s legacy and work in providing critical services for our community.

In the interim, our seasoned leaders Editha Paras, Chief Program Officer, and Brad Snyder, Chief Development Officer, will continue serving as Interim Co-CEOs to ensure stability and growth in the Center's programs and services during the period of transition.

Over the months ahead, we look forward to engaging with staff, program participants, community leaders, donors, board members and alumni, partners in government, and other key stakeholders to ensure we fully understand the evolving needs of our Chicagoland LGBTQ+ community, especially as we face heightened violence and persecution both locally and nationally.

We will work to strengthen all of our programming and ensure we’re meeting the needs of all our community members, from youth to seniors, and commit to deepening our work with transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary community members who face increased threats. Our goal is to make Chicago a safe place for LGBTQ+ people of all backgrounds, and we can’t do that without the voices of those who it is our mission to serve – the community. The learnings from this stakeholder engagement will help shape an inclusive and equitable national search to find the right leadership to help us meet these needs going forward.  

I know Tico will share his reflections on his tenure with you all soon. I look forward to a bright future ahead for Center on Halsted, shaped through community input and a shared belief in continuing to work together to meet whatever challenges the future holds.


Victor Ravago, Chair

Board of Directors, Center on Halsted