Chicago Community Trust names first female CEO

The 102-year-old Chicago Community Trust has selected its first female CEO.

Dr. Helene Gayle, the current CEO of the nonprofit McKinsey Social Initiative and one of Forbes' "100 Most Powerful Women," will take the reins of the nonprofit when longtime CEO Terry Mazany steps down at the end of the month.

Mazany, who announced earlier this year that he would leave the Loop-based nonprofit after 13 years, will leave his successor with a trust in strong financial shape — it has $2.5 billion in assets and a recently built development team. But there are challenges ahead, Gayle said in a news release.

"This region is at a critical time, amid concerning levels of violence, economic disparity and great uncertainty about the future," she said. "Yet ... I am certain that we have the tools necessary to confront these challenges and seize the opportunities facing the region."

Gayle, who will relocate to Chicago from Washington, D.C., will be the seventh CEO of the organization. She has spent much of her career focused on public health issues and global development, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and later the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on HIV/AIDS programs.

She serves on the boards of several public companies and nonprofit organizations, including the Coca-Cola Co. and the Brookings Institution.

The Chicago Community Trust often channels the contributions it receives to smaller, neighborhood-focused nonprofits. It has given out community grants to more than 11,000 nonprofits, including more than $236 million in 2016.

In addition to its grassroots programs, the trust works closely with national organizations that work to address larger issues including affordable housing and access to health care.

amarotti@chicagotribune.com

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