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Community leader K. Sujata Named Chicago Foundation for Women President

November 19, 2010
As an Asian American Leadership Council member, current board member and programs chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Sujata as our new President!  Under Sujata’s leadership, we are on our way to many more wonderful successes in serving women and girls in the Chicago area.
Stay tuned for a special piece where we’ll hear more from Sujata on her new role in the Chicago philanthropic community…  Here’s the full press release:

CHICAGO — K. Sujata, a leader with broad experience in Chicago’s philanthropy, business and nonprofit communities, has been named President of Chicago Foundation for Women, effective January 3, 2011.

“Sujata’s experience as a grantmaker, advocate and strategic leader in both the business and social sectors will be an incredible asset to our organization and couldn’t come at a better time as we celebrate 25 years of connecting need, money and solutions for women and girls,” said board chair Gail Ludewig, president of TotalWorks, Inc.

Currently director of programs for the Eleanor Foundation, Sujata has also served as executive director of Apna Ghar, a domestic violence agency supporting Chicago’s South Asian and other immigrant communities. At Apna Ghar she doubled the budget and strengthened and expanded programs while raising the organization’s profile and increasing awareness of domestic violence in the Asian community.

Sujata also served as director of Chicago Continuum of Care (now Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness) and, as director of planning and development at Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, Sujata increased operating funds by 35 percent and worked closely with community partners to build their organizational capacity.

“Sujata has the drive to lead our fundraising efforts and the depth of experience to help direct those funds where they’re needed most to help grantees improve the lives of women and girls in our communities,” said Search Committee Chair Andrea Kramer, a partner at McDermott Will and Emery LLP.

Sujata takes over CFW at a time when many nonprofits are struggling to raise money. Despite tough economic times, Sujata finds encouragement in a recent survey by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. That report shows women give to charity more frequently than men–and in greater amounts–at just about every comparable income level.

“People at the upper end of the income scale are sitting on cash that isn’t being spent and isn’t being invested. What better investment to make than in women and girls?” she said. “The professional staff at CFW does the work to find out about organizations, how effective and efficient they are. When you give to CFW, your money goes to the places where it will have the greatest impact on women and girls.”

For Sujata, running CFW is a dream job building on her varied experience.

“I am excited to join Chicago Foundation for Women and to work closely with its remarkable board, effective staff, and dedicated, innovative grantees to address some of the most critical challenges facing Chicago,” Sujata said. “I share the Foundation’s commitment to helping women and girls thrive, and I deeply admire its reputation for creativity, inclusivity and integrity.”

Sujata is a passionate advocate for women and girls and brings to CFW a wealth of experience in Chicago’s business and social sectors. She trained as a scientific researcher at Northwestern University and studied engineering in her native India. She holds a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern, and an MBA from Illinois Institute of Technology.

Sujata has been a board member of Deborah’s Place, the Resource Center, and Crossroads Fund, chair of the Chicago chapter of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, co-chair of the Asian Giving Circle, and a 2009 Leadership Greater Chicago fellow. She is an ACLU of Illinois board vice president and a director of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute.

About Chicago Foundation for Women:
Chicago Foundation for Women raises money to fund and support organizations that help women and girls–it’s all about making smarter connections between need, money and solutions. We believe that when women and girls are secure, whole communities are made better. We are a community of people who share the excitement of giving to help women and girls thrive. We improve the lives of women and girls through grants, advocacy, leadership development, and public and grantee education. Since 1985, we have given more than 2,800 grants totaling more than $18 million and helped thousands of women and girls become philanthropists.

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Editor’s note: Please note that K. Sujata is her full name, on second reference she should be referred to as “Sujata.”

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