Joyce Foundation CEO and president stepping down

By Chicago 3 Min Read

The longtime leader of one of the city’s most prominent philanthropic organizations will step down next year.

Ellen Alberding announced Thursday that she intends to leave her role as president and CEO of the Joyce Foundation in 2024 after 21 years.

The foundation’s board of directors plans to launch a search for Alberding’s replacement in January, and she will remain in her role until a successor is found, the organization said in a statement. Alberding has been with the organization since 1990.

“My three decades at Joyce have been a tremendously fulfilling experience. Our mission — to achieve racial equity and economic mobility in the Great Lakes region — compelled me every day to utilize all of the resources at our command to achieve progress,” Alberding said.

“Joyce has a great team, with extremely strong leaders throughout the organization. The Foundation is in a very good place to take on new leadership now as it continues its critical work.”

The foundation oversees $65 million in charitable distributions annually on assets of $1.3 billion, its website says. It supports such causes as gun violence prevention and justice reform.

Under Alberding’s leadership, the organization became one of the largest funders of gun violence prevention research and policy development, long before the issue was on the national radar, the foundation said.

Alberding helped launch new education initiatives, including Advance Illinois and the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, both aimed at building an education system that stresses college and career readiness.

“Hers is a remarkable legacy that leaves Joyce well-positioned to continue its critical investments in improving the lives and well-being of people in the Great Lakes region,” board chairman Jose Alvarez said of Alberding in a statement.

The Joyce Foundation also began supporting small and mid-sized arts organizations based in communities of color under Alberding’s leadership, the organization said.

This ultimately led to the creation in 2004 of the Joyce Awards, which each year commissions three to five new works by diverse artists. Joyce Award winners have gone on to win Grammy Awards, Pulitzer Prizes and MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowships.

The Sun-Times receives funding from the Joyce Foundation.

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