As I settle into my role as the third CEO of The Coleman Foundation, I’ve been inspired by the depth of knowledge and experience our team has in building impactful programs in entrepreneurship, supportive cancer care, and disability services. I realize that there is an opportunity to tell the Coleman story in a way that amplifies the work of our grantees, expands our community, and illuminates the lessons learned through decades of creating impact in our three program areas.
When I was recruited for this role, I thought carefully about what I could bring to the next chapter of this iconic, philanthropic institution. I offer my perspective as a lifelong Chicago Southsider who has witnessed the systemic underinvestment in housing and businesses in communities of color. I offer my perspective as an alum of Chicago Public School and UIC — institutions where talent is often undervalued and overlooked. And I offer over a quarter of a century of service to the nonprofit sector with philanthropic expertise accumulated from seven foundations.
In this Impact Series, we will hear from Michael Hennessy, Coleman’s beloved, immediate past CEO. We will highlight moments of the Foundation’s history and legacy. We will share turning points that inspired a shift in our thinking. Finally, we will celebrate the impact of 2020 Coleman Foundation grantmaking.
Let this series remind us how powerful investing in community and institutions can be, especially in times of crisis and change. Here’s to a continually improving 2021 and a brighter future for all of us.