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Gloria Castillo tapped to lead Chicago Region’s Equitable Economic Recovery Initiative


CHICAGO (HINA Wire) – The Chicago Community Trust announced Gloria Castillo will serve as director of Together We Rise: the initiative for an equitable and just recovery from the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and the deep-seated inequities amplified by the pandemic.

Castillo is a pioneering advocate for diversity and inclusion in business who has worked to achieve social and economic justice for communities of color. In this role, she will lead a coalition of partners to assure that Black and Latinx communities most hard hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic can build back better, stronger, and more resilient.

“Gloria’s belief in the power of collaboration to advance equity as demonstrated throughout her career makes her uniquely qualified for this role,” said Helene Gayle, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. “At this moment of awakening to the effects of racism, poverty, and bias, her steadfast leadership to ensure inclusive opportunity for all Chicagoans is what is needed to guide this once in a generation opportunity to build back better.”

As the director, she will partner with philanthropy, business, government, nonprofits, and communities to establish ambitious community-focused economic recovery goals, as well as oversee the initiatives grant making and fundraising operations. Most recently, Castillo served as president and CEO of Chicago United, the city’s leading advocacy organization for multiracial leadership in business.

“I am energized by the opportunity to be bold in our quest for equity as we look to ensure those who are typically left behind recover from this recession,” said Gloria Castillo, director of the Together We Rise initiative at The Chicago Community Trust. “I have long believed that public, private and local partnerships have the power to advance transformative social change and we have an unprecedented opportunity to seize this moment in pursuit of a region that works for all of us.”

During her tenure at Chicago United, Castillo collaborated with business, philanthropic and local community leaders and organizations across the Chicago region to advance a variety of groundbreaking initiatives. Most notably, she spearheaded the advancement of multiracial leadership in corporate governance, executive-level management and business diversity through the Business Leaders of Color program. The program is responsible for identifying more than 400 diverse corporate board candidates, with election to 230 corporate directorships.

A Chicago native, Castillo is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Field Foundation, director of Mather, and a former member of the Executive Committee of The Chicago Community Trust. Numerous organizations have recognized her work advocating for inclusion, diversity and minority business executives. In 2019, she was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Chicago’s Most Powerful Latinos and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition presented her with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award in 2018. In 2017, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Social Justice from Roosevelt University.

“Gloria has demonstrated her unique ability to understand and advocate for the needs of Chicago’s business and neighborhood community while advancing economic opportunity for all,” said Ghian Foreman, CEO of Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative and member of the Together We Rise Steering Committee. “Her appointment signals our commitment to ensuring that community voice and input is central to our efforts to marshal inclusive economic growth.”

Together We Rise is supported by a coalition of funders that have raised more than $33 million.  This includes a $1 million pledge from the Mars Wrigley Foundation, an extraordinary statement of commitment to Chicago’s equitable recovery. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, contributions received by December 31, 2020, may be matched up to $10 million.

For this recovery to look different from the past recoveries, Together We Rise will marshal efforts and resources to ensure inclusive economic growth through funding, business practices, and policy. Through a coordinated effort, the initiative will mobilize and distribute philanthropic resources to?ensure no community is left behind. Additionally, it will work to align business practices and policies that foster economic equity. Together We Rise will be governed by a steering committee tasked with approving grant recommendations and leading the multi-pronged initiatives’ overall strategy.