How Will Peggy Davis Shape CCT’s Grantmaking?

The Chicago Community Trust is of those giant community foundations that makes our heads spin. It has a dual focus on both raising money and giving it away, manages innumerable donor-advised funds, and has its own endowment and grantmaking programs. Last year, CCT pulled in just over $200 million and moved $161 million out the door, including $37 million through its own grantmaking programs that went out via 606 competitive grants to 395 organizations (Read Chicago Community Trust: Chicago Grants).

That's a lot to keep track of. And you could imagine how things could get unfocused at a place like this, with things shooting off in different directions

Which may explain why CCT recently hired an attorney as its new Chief Officer of Programs and Strategic Integration to chart its vision into the next decade. Peggy A. Davis will be tackling programmatic leadership, grantmaking, and a unified vision all at once. She’s also tasked with connecting donors with the resources they need to fuel meaningful philanthropy. 

“Peggy’s experience and personal values reflect the core values of the Trust, said Terry Mazany, CCT President and CEO. “She is a person of great integrity who brings to the Trust deep knowledge of Chicago and a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Also, of course, lawyers are always good at sorting out complicated situations and institutions, especially if they have executive experience, as Davis does.

Before joining CCT, Davis served as the Executive Director of the Chicago Committee, a law firm membership organization aimed at advancing diversity in the legal profession. She previously worked as an attorney for Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and as Exelon Corporation’s Vice President for Diversity and Staffing.

So what does Davis’ hiring mean for the future vision of CCT grantmaking?

Well we sure wouldn’t be surprised to see CCT stepping up its game around education in the years ahead. Aside from her legal expertise, Davis has a passion for public education in Chicago. Davis served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, back when he was the Chicago Public Schools CEO. She was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2006. Davis has also been active on the boards of the Chicago Public Schools Board of Trustees and the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.

Education is just one of ten grant program areas at CCT, but it’s consistently been one of the biggest. CCT awarded $7,299,137 in education program grants in 2013.

Given Davis’ background, we’re also expecting to see more of an emphasis on diversity and meeting the needs of vulnerable populations. Davis has served on the boards of the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, the Chicago Bar Foundation, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency—all of which support legal services for the poor and at-risk populations. New diversity inclusion initiatives could easily infiltrate CCT’s arts & culture, workforce development, and housing grant programs.

You can reach Davis directly at pdavis@cct.org or by calling 312-616-8000 x 182.