President/Chief Executive Officer
When Marlin Livingston was named President/CEO of Cunningham Children’s Home in September 2008, it was as if his life had come full circle. Born and raised in nearby Charleston, Marlin worked at Cunningham for four years as a therapist and a cottage director during the 1990’s. When the opportunity to return to Cunningham arose, it was his love for Cunningham and an opportunity to be closer to family that brought him back.
“I’ve always had a fondness and love for Cunningham,” Marlin said.
Marlin has more than 25 years of experience in the field of child welfare. Before returning to Cunningham, he served as the Executive Director of the Florida Region for Kids Hope United and was responsible for the public to private transition of adoption, foster care, and in-home protective services for more than 3,000 children. Prior to his work with One Hope United, Marlin played key roles in startups including the Lincoln’s Challenge Program in Rantoul, Ill., and the Pavilion Foundation School in Champaign.
Marlin’s passion for helping kids has continued at Cunningham. Under his leadership, Cunningham has seen enormous growth and change. Expanding transitional living services, opening CIRCLE Academy-Vermilion in Rossville, adding the Vocational Options Program, and creating HopeSprings Counseling Services as a way to offer counseling expertise directly to individuals in the community, are just some of the steps Cunningham has taken over the past ten years to address the ever changing child welfare climate.
But perhaps Marlin’s charge to renew the efforts to raise $8.5 million for the Education and Recreation Center (ERC) is one of his most notable contributions. Our students now enjoy a state-of-the-art learning environment in the now called Rosann Gelvin Noel Education Center (NEC) and Coach Lou and Mary Henson Gymnasium (Henson Gym). In addition to Henson Gym, the NEC houses our Gerber residential and CIRCLE Academy day education programs and the Beulah and Edward Schmidt Cafeteria. The 50,100 foot building has ample space for educational and therapeutic activities including music and art therapy rooms all designed to meet the special needs of the young people in Cunningham’s care.
Active within the Champaign-Urbana community, Marlin sits on several Boards including the Mahomet-Seymour Education Foundation, the United Methodist Association (UMA), and the United Way. He is a member of Representative Carol Ammons’ Health Care & Human Services Panel, the UMA Eagle Commission, and the Champaign West Rotary. Marlin also participates on the statewide advisory committee for Lincoln’s Challenge Academy as well as the New Horizon Methodist Church Strategic Planning Team. In recent years, Marlin also served on the Policy Committee and the Board of Directors of the Child Care Association of Illinois and has been an adjunct lecturer for the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois.
Marlin holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Sociology degree from Eastern Illinois University. He served 23 years in the United States Army National Guard. In 2007, Marlin was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for exemplary conduct and bravery in ground combat against insurgents during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. He completed 20 combat logistic patrols and oversaw 18 medical evacuations after hostile actions during his tour.
Marlin resides in Mahomet with his wife and their three sons. The Livingston’s will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year. They are proud adoptive parents and over the years have been foster parents to more than 20 children.