(November 1, 2022) – The Chicago Community Trust (the Trust) announced today the selection of Andrea Sáenz as the eighth President and CEO of the 107-year-old organization, succeeding Helene Gayle. Sáenz will bring over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and public sectors, where she has led efforts to improve neighborhood, citywide, and national systems. Her relationships with and ability to work across philanthropic, business, and government institutions – as well as an understanding of the issues shaping the region’s future – make her uniquely suited to lead the organization.
From her time as a community organizer in college, where she worked to improve conditions for communities harmed by poverty and racism, through a career that led to the last four years serving as the Trust’s first Chief Operating Officer, Sáenz has led with her heart and mind to advance equity, opportunity, and prosperity for all.
“We are thrilled that Andrea has accepted our offer to serve as President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust,” said Jim Reynolds, chair of the Trust’s Executive Committee. “She brings a lifetime commitment to the issues central to the Trust, and a solutions-oriented approach that will allow her to build on the incredible foundation of this prestigious institution. We are also grateful that our new leader helped craft the strategic vision the talented Trust team is working to make a reality.”
Sáenz, who will be the institution’s first Latinx leader, most recently served as Chief Operating Officer and Interim President and CEO of the Trust. She was an integral member of the leadership team at the Trust that established the 10-year strategic plan to address economic inequity. In 2019, the Trust announced it would focus discretionary spending over the next decade on working to close Chicago’s growing racial and ethnic wealth gap. This work is happening alongside the Trust’s foundational work to address critical needs and connect philanthropy to impact.
Previously, Sáenz led strategy, program design, evaluation, and organizational development for Chicago Public Library, a system of more than 80 neighborhood branches. Before joining the Library, Sáenz was Chief of Staff to the Chicago Public Schools CEO and Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. She also served as Executive Director of HACE, the national nonprofit working collaboratively with employers, universities, and schools to increase Latinx entry and success in professional careers. Sáenz began her social sector career leading community-based adult education and workforce development services at Congreso de Latinos Unidos in Philadelphia.
Sáenz thanked the Trust’s Executive Committee for allowing her the opportunity to serve.
“As an immigrant from Ecuador who grew up in Los Angeles and came to Chicago as an adult, I have long felt embraced by Chicago and energized by our city’s diversity, cultural vibrancy, and civic commitment,” said Andrea Sáenz, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. “I was initially drawn to the Trust because of the opportunity to invest in and help support committed leaders and organizations working to improve their communities. Since joining, I’ve been proud to work with colleagues, donors, and partners who have such a deep love and commitment to this City and region, and I look forward to doing all that I can to continue bringing resources and visibility to community-led solutions for our future.”
In 2019, Sáenz was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Chicago’s Most Powerful Latinos. She has participated in leadership and learning opportunities through membership in the Economic Club of Chicago, the Broad Residency in Urban Education, and Leadership Greater Chicago. She has volunteered as a mentor at 1871, Chicago’s tech entrepreneurship hub, the Baumhart Center at Loyola University, and the Ladder, a program of Chicago Innovation.
Her board service includes National Louis University, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Albert Pick Jr. Fund, Chicago Public Education Fund, Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago United.
A search committee appointed by the Executive Committee of the Trust led a rigorous, national search in partnership with Koya Partners, a search firm that specializes in placing CEOs in mission-driven roles.
Sáenz holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Scripps College.
About The Chicago Community Trust The Chicago Community Trust is a community foundation dedicated to strengthening the Chicago region by creating equity, opportunity, and prosperity for all people who call it home. For more than 100 years, the Trust has united generous donors, committed nonprofits, and caring residents to effect lasting change. In 2019, The Chicago Community Trust embarked on a 10-year strategic plan to address one of the most critical challenges of our times — closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap for the Chicago region while responding to our most vulnerable residents’ critical needs. Thanks to its generous donors, in the fiscal year 2021, more than 7,000 organizations received more than $1.4 billion in funding from the Trust, and affiliated donor advised fund programs. To learn more, visit www.cct.org.