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Ellen Ray  

Chief Executive Officer  

Chicago Cares  

Chicago, IL 


Ellen Ray is the chief executive officer at Chicago Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization.  At Chicago Cares, Ellen brings vision, strategic focus, and passion to the organization’s goal of building a more just and equitable Chicago.  In the past four years, she has successfully implemented the organization’s new community investment strategy, seeded new program models, and launched a Capacity Building and Advisory Services division.  Her work has reshaped the organization’s approach to service and launched innovative approaches to igniting civic engagement.  Prior to Chicago Cares, Ellen served as Center for Changing Lives’ (CCL) executive director.  During her successful tenure at CCL, the organization implemented and innovated upon a nationally recognized financial opportunity model and secured two Social Innovation Fund awards.  Ellen also has a vibrant consulting practice, Partners in Change LLC, that brings coaching to organizational development, strategy, and change efforts. As a facilitator, Ellen leverages her expertise, experience, and charisma for organizations all over the country as they seek to integrate coaching into their work. She currently has leadership roles in her faith community and as a board member of Palenque – LSNA and AMPT: Advancing Non-Profits. Ellen is a Fellow of the third class of the Civil Society Fellowship, a Partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. 

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