Meet the Staff
Ellen Carmell joined the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (JWF) as its Executive Director in January 2015, bringing to her role over two decades of leadership in the non-profit sector and a strong commitment to the Jewish community.
Prior to JWF, Ellen was Director of the Bridging America Project at AJC (American Jewish Committee) a national initiative, supported by the Ford Foundation, to strengthen Latino-Jewish relations and advance immigration reform.
Ellen began her career as a museum educator and 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 and her husband David live in Chicago; they have two children and three grandchildren.
Genna joined JWF in November 2022 bringing to her role a strong professional background in the Jewish non-profit sector and solid experience in communal grantmaking.
Prior to JWF, Genna served as the Senior Program Director of Teen Philanthropy and Engagement at the Jewish United Fund, building cohorts of teen philanthropists in Chicago through Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation, community giving circles, and other philanthropic initiatives. Since starting at JUF in 2016, she has held multiple roles with the Youth Initiatives team as well as the Young Families team, cultivating meaningful Jewish experiences for Chicagoland families and teens through philanthropy, volunteering, and Jewish values.
Genna completed her Master’s in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in 2021 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, receiving her teaching license from The University of Iowa in 2014. Prior to beginning her professional career at JUF, Genna completed a year as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Rishon Lezion, Israel. She is currently a fellow in the inaugural M² Chicago Educators Cohort, exploring experiential education through values and meaningful experiences. Genna is a member of the Young Professional Committee for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. When not working, she loves reading, exploring Chicago’s best restaurants, and being with family and friends. Genna grew up in Deerfield and currently lives in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.
Gabrielle joined the Jewish Women’s Foundation in October 2021. She brings to her role experience in nonprofit work and public policy research. Before coming to JWF, Gabrielle participated in the Avodah Jewish Service Corps program in Chicago and worked as case manager at
the Broadway Youth Center, a resource center for homeless and queer youth. Gabrielle also spent time working at the Greenberg Team, a consulting firm that focuses on Jewish education projects, and the Government Accountability Office in DC.
Gabrielle became interested in women’s issues when she took part in the Research Training Internship program (a past grantee of JWF). She had the chance to examine some of these issues in more depth in college where she researched the gender wage gap in the United
States and hijab laws in France. Gabrielle looks forward to engaging with these types of issues as part of her work with the Jewish Women’s Foundation.
Gabrielle grew up in Skokie and currently lives in Lakeview. She is a graduate of Brandeis University where she studied economics, psychology, and history. Gabrielle is an avid reader whose favorite genres include historical fiction and memoir. In her free time, she
also enjoys biking, singing, and spending time with friends and family.