Mary Haywood‐Benson moved to Champaign from Chicago in December of 1970. She holds an Associate Degree in General Studies and a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. She has worked at various jobs in the community including the Commercial Bank for 5 years and Kraft Foods for 25 years. She is a member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and has served as President of the Lu Anna Riley Missionary Society. She has served as President and Secretary for Bethel Lay Organization and as President of National Council of Negro Women Champaign County Section from 1991‐1995. She currently serves as President of Church Women United of Champaign‐Urbana. Her past community activities include serving on the Woman’s Fund Board, YWCA Board, as a volunteer at Joanne Dorsey Homes working with girls age 10‐12, with Girls Inc. teaching sewing to girls 10‐12 years old, with the United Way, the Steering Committee for Provena Hospice Celebration of Taste, and has delivered Meals on Wheels. She is mother of three, grandmother of five and great‐grandmother of three.

Mary was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication.