Meet the Staff

Ellen Carmell photo

Executive Director
Ellen B. Carmell

Ellen joined JWF as its Executive Director in January 2015. With over two decades of leadership in the non-profit sector and a strong commitment to the Jewish community, Ellen comes to JWF with experience in grants, board development, program administration, volunteer management, community outreach and advocacy.

Prior to JWF, Ellen was Director of the Bridging America Project at AJC (American Jewish Committee) where she was responsible for the strategy, operations and finances of a national initiative to strengthen Latino-Jewish relations and advance immigration reform.

Ellen began her career as a museum educator and was the first Director of Education at the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago. After many years as a museum professional and active lay leader, she decided to launch her "Encore Career" by putting her passions to work for the greater good -- devoting the second act of her professional life to social change within a Jewish context.

Ellen has been involved with Facing History and Ourselves for over 25 years and currently serves on its Board of Directors, Committee on Governance, and Chicago Advisory Board as a past Chair. She also served in numerous lay leader positions at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook.

Ellen holds a Master's Degree in Museum Education from The George Washington University and a Bachelor's Degree in Art History and Psychology from Smith College. She studied Non-profit Board Governance at the Center for Non-profit Management at the Kellogg School of Management. Ellen and her husband David live in Chicago; they have two children and two grandchildren.

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Amy Saltzman

Program Officer
Amy Saltzman

Amy joined JWF as its Program Officer in April 2017. Amy brings a valuable skill set and fresh perspective to her new position, including a wide range of knowledge about the Jewish non-profit sector in Chicago and Israel. Amy's work on grants administration for supporting foundations housed at the Jewish Federation involves reviewing grant applications and organizational budgets; synthesizing and analyzing information for foundation boards; communicating with grantees; conducting site visits; and performing due diligence on new organizations.

Prior to JUF/Jewish Federation, Amy served as an AmeriCorps member in Columbus, Ohio at I Know I Can, a college access non-profit that strives to make higher education a reality for all students.

Amy hails from Cleveland, Ohio and is a proud alumna of Ohio State University where she received both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education. She is an avid reader, sports fan, marathon runner, and volunteer at PAWS Chicago. In addition, she serves on the leadership board for TBD Minyan, a lay-led Jewish community in Chicago.

Amy looks forward to working with JWF's trustees, grantees, and community partners.

Mary Thomas photo

Program Associate
Mary E. Thomas

Mary joined the Jewish Women's Foundation team in February 2014. She offers a range of valuable skills, including digital marketing and communications, web and social media content development, event planning, and project management.

Her career at JUF began in 2012 as a Secretary III in the Planning & Allocations department and worked closely with the Community Foundation for Jewish Education on the Ta'am Yisrael 8th Grade Israel Experience trip. After staffing the 2014 trip to Israel, Mary joined JWF as Administrative Assistant and was promoted to Program Associate in July 2016.

Mary graduated from The College at Brockport, State University of New York (SUNY) with a Bachelor of Science in English Literature and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. After graduation, she moved from upstate New York to Chicago to pursue a career in nonprofit.