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Name: Levin, Fay Hartog
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

Yet another Chicagoan tapped by President Barack Obama, Fay Hartog Levin is a longtime Democratic activist and fundraiser and an early supporter of the president’s who also has family roots in the Netherlands. Levin was sworn in August 13, 2009, and presented her credentials to Queen Beatrix six days later. She announced her resignation August 8, 2011, effective the following month.

Hartog Levin’s parents, Ada and Jo, were Dutch Jews who lived in The Hague and owned a meat-processing factory in Oss when World War II broke out. They fled to Suriname, then a Dutch colony, where her father served in the Dutch army. In 1948, the family emigrated to the U.S., where their daughter was born shortly afterwards. The family eventually settled in the Chicago area.
A resident of Winnetka, Hartog Levin graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Russian language and literature. She received her JD from Loyola University School of Law.
Her legal career began as an attorney for Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather and Geraldson, primarily representing school boards, private and public colleges, and social service agencies. Her specialties were school and employment law, handling cases in the areas of first amendment rights, AIDS in schools, teachers’ strikes, and school district boundary changes.
Hartog Levin then served as a legal advisor to the Illinois State Board of Education, advising the State Superintendent and Regional Superintendents of Education on the interpretation and application of the Illinois School Code.
She moved over to Chicago’s Field Museum in 1997, where she was the vice president for external affairs until 2005. In that capacity, she led the museum’s campaign that raised more than $60 million through grants from city, state and federal agencies. She was the museum’s liaison to the city of Chicago and led the museum’s outreach activities to community organizations. She also supervised the Department of Public Services, human resources and information technology for the museum.
Hartog Levin joined the Res Publica Group, a Chicago-based public affairs and media relations firm, as a senior consultant. At Res Publica, she advised clients on internal and external communications and relationship building, with an emphasis on the non-profit and cultural sector. She assisted non-profits to develop strategic partnerships and increase their support among audiences and donors.
She was a member of the board of directors of Arts Alliance Illinois from 1997 until her appointment as ambassador, and served as chairman 2006-2008. She also served as vice chair of the board of directors of the Merit School of Music and as a trustee of DePaul University. She has been a member of the advisory board of U.S. Bank in Chicago, and previously served on the boards of Columbia College Chicago and the North Suburban Special Education District Foundation.
Hartog Levin is wel- connected politically to Obama and other Democrats in Washington. Her husband, Daniel Levin, is the founder of the East Bank Club and chairman of The Habitat Company, a real estate firm where Valerie Jarrett, now a White House senior advisor, was the president and CEO. Her husband’s cousins are Michigan Democrats Carl Levin (U.S. Senator) and Sandy Levin (congressman).
Hartog Levin and her husband have donated more than a half million dollars to Democratic candidates since 2003, including more than $30,000 for campaign funds controlled by President Obama, according to and The Washington Post.
The Levins have two children.
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