Robin Rue Simmons is a strategist, civic entrepreneur and alderman of Evanston’s 5th Ward. Ald. Rue Simmons began her career 22 years ago when she launched her first business as a real estate broker. Troubled by the wealth disparities and concentrated poverty in urban communities, she wanted to help young adults build wealth early through homeownership. Over the course of her entrepreneurial career, she has launched and operated multiple businesses, including a bookstore that offered free afterschool programming and a construction firm that employed dozens of minority skilled tradespeople, and has developed dozens of affordable homes funded by the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Rue Simmons was elected 5th Ward alderman for the City of Evanston in 2017. Since taking office, she has prioritized improving the lived experience and expanding opportunities for Black residents. Most notably, she led the passing of the nation’s first reparations program, which will be funded by the first $10 million of Adult Use Cannabis sales tax revenue. Robin is the chairman of the Reparations Committee and a strong advocate for social equity applicants in the cannabis business.
Known for her “Solutions Only” approach in service and business, Ald. Rue Simmons is the director of innovation and outreach at Sunshine Enterprises, which has supported over 1000 neighborhood entrepreneurs (98% African American, 74% women) in launching or growing a business. She also serves as chief strategist at Ujima Solutions Group, LLC, in addition to managing residential and commercial property that she owns. In her free time, she enjoys her family, new experiences and forest bathing.