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Ellen Gilligan

Nonprofits and Education
President and CEO
Greater Milwaukee Foundation | Milwaukee  

Ellen Gilligan has led the Greater Milwaukee Foundation as its president and chief executive officer since 2010. Before joining GMF, she worked for 12 years at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, including as its vice president of community investment and president of the HealthPath Foundation. 

Gilligan has led Wisconsin’s largest community foundation as it has shifted its priorities to make racial equity and inclusion one of its four core grant-making areas, culminating in a generational commitment in 2016 to put racial equity at the heart of its efforts.   

Gilligan was influential in the development of the foundation’s impact investing program, which has committed $30 million over five years to support small businesses, job creation and economic opportunity in communities that have lacked investment. She is also guiding the foundation’s lead role in the ThriveOn Collaboration, a partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin and Royal Capital Group to advance health equity on Milwaukee’s north side. 

Earlier this year, GMF went public with its multi-year $700 million philanthropic campaign, which is focused on addressing systemic racial disparities related to housing, health, education and economic opportunity. 

Gilligan is immediate past board chair of CFLeads, a national network of community foundations. She serves on the national board of the Local Initiatives Support Corp., is a member of the Milwaukee Succeeds Leadership Table and a co-chair of the MKE United Downtown Action Agenda.  

Education: Bachelor’s, University of Colorado Boulder 

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