Ellen Ray



Chicago Cares


Ellen Ray, currently Chief Program Officer at Chicago Cares, has a robust history of capacity building, program development, and community building. In the last three years at Chicago Cares, Ellen 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 and profitable approaches to igniting civic engagement in Chicago.

Prior to stepping into her role at 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. Previous positions included a Civic Action Organizer with Community Renewal Society and a number of direct service roles in social sector organizations across Chicago.

In addition to her full-time job, Ellen has a vibrant consulting practice, Partners in Change LLC, that brings coaching to organizational development, strategy, and change management efforts. As a national coaching training facilitator, Ellen leverages her expertise, experience, and charisma for organizations all over the country as they seek to develop and integrate coaching into their work.

Ellen holds a Master of the Arts degree from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and an Executive Scholars Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Ellen is passionate about building up leaders and organizations committed to a more just and equitable world. She currently has leadership roles in her faith community and as a Board member of Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

A third generation Chicagoan, Ellen spends much of her time and resources supporting organizations in Chicago that work on issues of affordable housing, criminal justice reform, and civil rights. In her free time, she likes to cook with friends, read dystopian fiction, and snuggle her niece and nephew. She and her partner live in Logan Square in Chicago.

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