Joyce Foundation President and CEO Ellen Alberding Stepping Down After 34 Years of Transformational Leadership



(CHICAGO – November 2, 2023) Today, Ellen Alberding, President and CEO of the Joyce Foundation, announced her intention to step down in 2024 from her position at the $1.3 billion philanthropy. The Board of Directors will launch a search for Ms. Alberding’s replacement in January and she will remain in her role until a successor is identified.

“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 everyday 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.”

Ms. Alberding’s 21-year tenure as CEO of the Joyce Foundation has been transformative for the philanthropic organization, which now oversees the charitable distribution of $65 million annually from assets of $1.3 billion, and for the many critically important causes that it supports: education, gun violence prevention and justice reform, democracy, environment, culture and journalism.

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Ellen for her decades of service and commitment to the Joyce Foundation,” said board chair José B. Alvarez. “Under Ellen’s leadership, Joyce rose to national prominence for its work advancing policy solutions to address some of the biggest challenges facing our region and nation. Hers is a remarkable legacy that leaves Joyce well-positioned to continue its critical investments in improving the lives and wellbeing of people in the Great Lakes region”

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

Ms. Alberding also ensured that Joyce maintained its long-held commitment to helping solve one of the nation’s most persistent challenges: improving education outcomes for all children in the region. Despite many challenges, Chicago’s public schools made significant improvements, increasing graduation rates, and became the fastest improving urban system in the country. Together with many partners, she helped launch new initiatives like Advance Illinois and the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, both aimed towards building an education system that stresses college and career readiness. She also served as vice chair of Chicago’s community college system for 5 years, which underwent significant reorganization with the help of investments from the Foundation.

Under Ms. Alberding, Joyce also began supporting small and mid-sized arts organizations based in communities of color, connecting legacy institutions to new audiences and encouraging institutional commitment to diversity at all levels. This ultimately led to the creation in 2004 of the Joyce Awards, a unique and coveted award that 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.

During this transition, Joyce will remain committed to playing the long game in advancing public policy solutions, grounded in the belief that comprehensive research and evaluation will build the evidence base to support smart policy change. The Foundation will continue its $250 million grant making strategy launched in 2021, which aims to improve outcomes for all young people, particularly those who disproportionately face structural barriers to social and economic progress.

About Ellen Alberding

Ms. Alberding 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 a founding board member of Advance Illinois. 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. Ms. Alberding serves on the National Park Foundation’s National Council, was vice chair of the National Park Foundation, and has served as Vice Chair of City Colleges of Chicago. She sits on several non-profit boards.

About the Joyce Foundation

Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

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