Felicia Davis named President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women
May 21 2019

Felicia Davis named President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women

(May 21, 2019) – Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) today announced the appointment of Felicia Davis as President and CEO, effective May 28, 2019.

A lifelong Chicagoan and South Side resident, Davis brings to the foundation a strong commitment to public service and community engagement. Throughout her career as a law enforcement professional, academic administrator and civic leader, Davis has worked to increase access to opportunity and build safe, thriving communities for all Chicago residents.

Following an extensive national search led by executive search firm Koya Leadership Partners, Davis was recommended to the CFW Board of Directors by a Search Committee comprised of current and former CFW Board members, and led by CFW Board Chair Patricia Costello Slovak. Koya is a leading national executive search firm with a strong Chicago presence and deep experience leading mission-driven President and CEO searches.

“Felicia’s diverse professional and lived experience, commitment to public service and deep belief in the transformational power of opportunity make her uniquely qualified to grow our impact and deepen our community relationships,” Patricia Costello Slovak said. “Felicia is the perfect leader to join CFW at this critical moment to advance CFW’s mission to invest in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all.”

In the last 8 years, CFW has built a strong financial foundation that has allowed the organization to double annual grantmaking; grow community-led collective giving and grantmaking; and launch new and innovative programming. “We are excited to build on those achievements with Felicia at the helm of CFW,” said Slovak.

“Felicia has been an integral part of CFW’s community as a founding member of the South Side Giving Circle of CFW, as well as a member of the Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative Advisory Board,” Sunny Fischer, CFW co-founder and Interim President/CEO, said. “She is intimately familiar with CFW’s values of community-led philanthropy, collective impact, and empowering women as leaders and philanthropists. Felicia will be a superb leader for CFW in this new chapter.”

“I am deeply honored to take the helm of CFW at this important moment,” Davis said. “I hope to expand the strategy to make philanthropy more inclusive, engaging committed women and men from all communities and walks of life who value eliminating the inequities women continue to face. These inequities don’t just negatively impact the women and their families; they undermine the very fabric of our community.”

As a ten-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, including as a Detective in the Department’s Violent Crimes section, where she also oversaw the Community Policing Strategies, Davis has first-hand knowledge of the diverse array of challenges facing Chicago communities.

Davis led the creation of the Office of Public Engagement under Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2012, serving as a direct link between the Mayor’s Office, city departments, sister agencies and communities across the city, and working to make government more accessible to the people it serves.

She also served as Executive Director of the Public Building Commission of Chicago, where she directed development projects totaling $1 billion, and increased Women’s Business Enterprise participation in contracting by 30 percent. She was Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Buildings, where she managed a budget of $37 million and enforced local ordinances enhancing tenant rights and resident safety.

Davis served as Interim President of Olive-Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, where she increased early college enrollment by 28 percent and year-over-year student retention by 8 percent. She also served as the Vice President of Administration at Kendall College.

Davis was a Delegate of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership in 2016 and a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow in 2014. She served as a member of the Illinois Senate Sexual Discrimination, Harassment Awareness and Prevention Task Force, and is a member of the Board of Regents of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.

Davis holds a Bachelor’s degree from Kendall College, and is completing a Master’s in Public Administration from Illinois Institute of Technology.

She succeeds K. Sujata as President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women. Sujata served in the role for eight years. She stepped down in March 2019.


About Chicago Foundation for Women

Chicago Foundation for Women invests in women and girls as catalysts, building strong communities for all. CFW funds organizations working to solve the biggest problems facing women and girls: economic insecurity, violence, and access to health care and information. In addition to grantmaking, CFW invests in developing women leaders and advocates, and brings together diverse coalitions to collaborate, share resources and develop solutions. To learn more, visit www.cfw.org