As president and board member of the Joyce Foundation, Ellen oversees the charitable distribution of $50 million annually from assets of $1 billion. Under her leadership, Joyce has gained national prominence with a grant portfolio rooted in the core belief that communities are stronger when they share benefits broadly. The Joyce Foundation funds the development and advancement of policy reforms to address racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation. It invests heavily in research to gather facts and data so that proposed policy solutions are based on solid evidence.
As chief executive of Joyce, Ellen is active in the regional and national policy arena. She is one of the founders of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC), a funder collaborative investing in community-based strategies to reduce gun violence in Chicago. Ellen is a founding board member of Advance Illinois, which advocates for public education reform. She was also a founding board member of Skills for America’s Future, which works to meet the needs of business and improve employment opportunities for community college students. She served as Vice Chair of City Colleges of Chicago and is a former member of the National Park Foundation board. From 2010 to 2016, Ellen was a board member of the Economic Club of Chicago. She is frequently invited to speak on a range of issues, from the impact of public policy, the role of foundations in addressing the nation’s challenges, and philanthropic accountability and governance.
Ellen holds a bachelor’s degree in English with honors from Brown University, and an MBA from Northwestern University.