Maribeth Vander Weele
Founder & CEO
Maribeth Vander Weele is President of the Vander Weele Group, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in oversight of large-scale grant programs. On behalf of the firm, Maribeth has overseen the creation and execution of grants monitoring programs in 24 U.S. states.
Maribeth began her career as a news reporter. In 1994, she authored Reclaiming Our Schools: the Struggle for Chicago School Reform, based on her award-winning investigative reporting for the Chicago Sun-Times. The book became the roadmap for reform of the city's $3.8 billion school system, then mired in allegations of corruption.
In 1995, Maribeth joined the system’s turnaround team, spearheading integrity initiatives that enabled the system—for the first time in more than a decade—to achieve an investment-grade rating. Maribeth managed departments involving investigations, Internal Audit, an Ombudsman’s Office, Safe Schools, and security. She created a Truancy Hotline that returned thousands of children to school and administered grants that reduced school violence. In 1998, she was appointed Inspector General, managing a staff that investigated thousands of allegations of employee and vendor misconduct; produced audits of key operational areas, enabling the system to save tens of millions of dollars, and monitored $3.8 billion in construction spending.
In 2003, Maribeth founded the Vander Weele Group, serving private and public sector organizations in an investigative capacity until 2018, when the firm restructured to focus primarily on grants monitoring.
Maribeth has consulted onsite in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, and in the United States and remotely in Indonesia, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. A Certified Inspector General and former President of the Illinois Association of Inspectors General, Maribeth was appointed as the outsourced Inspector General of the Public Building Commission of Chicago, which manages hundreds of millions of dollars of public construction projects. She also served on the Cook County Board of Ethics, the Illinois Gaming Board, and an investigatory panel to address abuses in a university admissions process.
Maribeth has lectured at seminars for Harvard University, the World Bank, the National Business Roundtable, the Public Broadcasting System, the United States Agency for International Development, the TIAA-CREF Annual Fraud Conference, the State of Indiana’s Annual Ethics Conference, the Association of Inspectors General, the National Association of Local Government Auditors, the Illinois CPA Society, the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the National Education Writers Association, the Golden Apple Foundation, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and other forums nationwide and in Canada.
Maribeth has been profiled in numerous books and publications, including the Wall Street Journal.