Helen Gayle led one of Chicago's largest foundations as the CEO of Chicago Community Trust. She thought it would be her last calling, but a new opportunity awaits.
According to WBEZ, on Monday (April 25), the physician announced she’d be stepping down from the Trust and taking on the role as president of the historically Black women’s college, Spelman, in Atlanta.
Making a departure hadn’t been in Gayle’s plans, but she said she couldn’t turn down “the opportunity to continue a legacy of shaping the lives of young women of African descent, many of whom have gone on to have illustrious careers.”
For five years, Gayle’s leadership led Chicago Community Trust to focus on closing the wealth gap and advancing racial and ethnic equity. The Trust also developed a 10-year plan to address these wealth inequity issues in Chicago.
During her tenure, the organization’s assets grew from an estimated $2.8 billion to $4.7 billion roughly. $1.7 billion in grants were made through the trust and associated donor programs last year.
Gayle was the seventh person, and the first Black woman to lead the 107-year-old foundation.
Gayle, 67, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Barnard College, a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s of public health at John Hopkins University.
Prior to her tenure at the Foundation, she worked as an epidemiologist and public health administrator.