Ellen Alberding - City Club of Chicago

Ellen Alberding

President & CEO, The Joyce Foundation
In conversation with Laura Washington

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024

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Ellen Alberding

As president & CEO and board member of the Joyce Foundation, Ellen oversees the charitable distribution of $65 million annually from assets of $1.3 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 serves as an independent director of the PGIM Mutual Fund's Board of Directors, a member of the Loyola University Board of Trustees, a member of the Chicago Public Education Fund’s Board of Directors, and 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.

Ellen also serves on the National Park Foundation’s National Council, having been a former board member of NPF, and has served as Vice Chair of City Colleges of Chicago. 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.

Laura Washington

Laura S. Washington is a contributing columnist for the Chicago Tribune and political analyst at ABC-7, Chicago’s ABC-owned station.   Before moving to the Tribune, she served as a longtime contributing columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.  

In 2015 and 2019 she served as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

Washington brings more than two award-winning decades of experience as a non-profit professional and multi-media journalist.  She specializes in African American affairs, local and national politics, race and racism, and social justice. From 2003 to 2009 she served as the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University and fellow at the DePaul Humanities Center. 

Washington earned bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from The Medill School at Northwestern University, where she has also taught and lectured.

Her work has been honored with dozens of local and national awards, including two Chicago Emmys, the Peter Lisagor Award, the Studs Terkel Award for Community Journalism and the Racial Justice Award from the YWCA. Washington is a founding inductee to the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement.  The Chicago Community Trust awarded her a Community Service Fellowship, for "exemplary service, commitment and leadership in individuals from the nonprofit sector."  In 2018, she was named an inaugural inductee to the Chicago Women’s Journalism Hall of Fame.  

Her civic activities include serving on the boards of The Field Museum, The Arts Club of Chicago, Block Club Chicago, Global Girl Media-Chicago, the Chicago Headline Club Foundation, and the Investigative Project on Race and Equity.

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