Helene Gayle, CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, will be the next President of Spelm – BOTWC

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She wants to help shape young black women!

Chicago Community Trust CEO resigns to become president of Spelman College. WBEZ Chicago reports.

The Trust is an organization established more than 100 years ago to bring together private donors, non-profit organizations and local residents under one philanthropic arm. Today it is one of the largest foundations in the world and is led by CEO Helene Gayle. Gayle is a public health physician and disease expert who joined the organization in 2017. She was previously director of the international humanitarian organization CARE and previously worked in the HIV/AIDS area at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for twenty years.

During her tenure, Gayle has grown the trust’s assets from approximately $2.8 billion to $4.7 billion. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation, Gayle mobilized a response within days and managed a relief fund for Chicagoans that proved invaluable. She also oversaw $1.7 billion in grants through the Trust and its donor-advised programs, and also led the foundation to implement a 10-year strategic plan to address wealth inequality in the region, create a new policy team, and launch the Art and to change the way it handles the awarding of grants.

Now Gayle has announced that she will step down as CEO in June to head up the famed Spelman College. Though unexpected, Gayle said she “could not miss an opportunity to continue a legacy of shaping the lives of young women of African descent, many of whom have gone on to have illustrious careers.”

She initially thought her work at the Trust would be her last job and is grateful to the City of Chicago and everyone at the Trust for helping make her time there so successful. She specifically pointed to the effective coalition building in the city that triggered an expansion of Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit and a cap on payday loans. The community involvement is something Gayle said she’s never seen in any other city, and hopefully now she can bring that same spirit to Atlanta’s beloved Spelman.

“Chicago welcomed me so warmly. This was a city that bleeds Chicago and cares about its neighbors. And although this city is still deeply divided, there really is a feeling of deep concern for the city. It has an incredible civic footprint, a civic community that sticks together in a way I’ve never seen in any city,” Gayle said.

Congratulations, President Gayle! I wish you all the best as you step into your next role.

Photo courtesy Chicago Community Trust

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