Special Workshop for Leadership Council Members

5:30-7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010
1 E. Wacker Dr., 20th floor

Registration for this event is now closed. Please contact Jordan Granet at (312) 577-2822 with any questions. Note: Only current members of our leadership councils are eligible to attend this workshop. Thank you for understanding.

The Landscape of Philanthropy
All members of Chicago Foundation for Women's five Leadership Councils are invited to an exclusive workshop on philanthropy. Merri Ex, president of Philanthropic Solutions Inc., will discuss women and philanthropy, explore how individuals give, and teach participants how to create a case statement.

About Merri Ex
Merri Ex is the president of Philanthropic Solutions Inc., created in 2007 to assist corporations, families and individuals to maximize the impact of their charitable giving. The company also provides fundraising and strategic planning consultation for nonprofits. From 2000 to 2007 Merri served as the vice president of philanthropic services at The Chicago Community Trust, the country's second-oldest community foundation. There, she managed a development and donor services staff to further philanthropic partnerships in the region. During her tenure annual gifts to the Trust increased from $10 million to $89 million. During that same period the African-American Legacy Initiative, Asian Giving Circle, Latino Giving Circle, Nuestro Futuro (Latino Fund) were established to encourage philanthropy in communities of color. She played a leadership role in developing donor-advised giving programs for financial institutions, including the Northern Trust Company. In partnership with volunteer leadership, the Lake and Will County Community Foundations were created during her tenure.

Prior to her work at The Chicago Community Trust, she was the associate vice president of donor advised funds at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, assisting individuals and families to implement their philanthropic goals. Between 1994 and 2000 at the Federation she created and supervised programs for 650 donor advised funds, supporting foundations and field of interest fund donors with a value of $320 million which granted $25 million in 1999.

From 1984 through 2004 Merri was a program officer for Chicago-area corporate foundations including Borg Warner, McCormick-Tribune, Marshall Field’s and Sara Lee. During her eight years with the Sara Lee Foundation, she recommended grants in the “disadvantaged” category which included homelessness, hunger prevention and women’s organizations.

From 1977-1984 Merri Ex held the position of executive director for Erie Neighborhood House, a multi-service, Presbyterian-affiliated settlement house, in one of Chicago’s Latino communities. She began her career in 1974 at Erie House as a community organizer.

In 2003, Merri was awarded the Professional Grantor Award from the Chicago chapter of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals and is a frequent speaker on family giving and the status of philanthropy in the United States.

Merri holds degrees in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Newcomb College of Tulane University in New Orleans and a graduate degree in Ibero-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.