B. Carmell has been named Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Foundation
of Metropolitan Chicago, one of the largest and oldest philanthropic bodies of
The foundation is an independent program of the Jewish United Fund
of Metropolitan Chicago.
“Ellen is a wonderful match for JWF, which has grown
into one of the preeminent Jewish women’s foundations in the country,” said
foundation board chair Gerri Kahnweiler. “She has a long commitment to a wide
range of Jewish communal efforts, and a strong focus on advocacy to further
social change and strengthen families and communities. She is a recognized
leader, both locally and nationally, and is skilled at working collaboratively
to accomplish programmatic goals.”
Prior to joining the women’s foundation, Carmell headed the American
Jewish Committee’s Bridging America Project, a Ford Foundation-funded national
initiative to strengthen Latino-Jewish relations and advance immigration
reform. She also has served for many years as a lay leader at Facing History
and Ourselves,an international organization that uses study
of the Holocaust to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of
racism, prejudice and anti-Semitism. She currently serves on
the program’s Board of Directors, Committee on Governance, and Chicago Advisory
Previously, Carmell was a lay leader at Temple Beth-El in
Northbrook, and has worked at various museums in Chicago, Evanston and Dallas.
She received her Bachelor’s in Art History and Psychology from Smith College,
her Master’s in Museum Education from George Washington University, and studied
nonprofit board governance at the Center for Nonprofit Management at
“I'm thrilled about this opportunity,” Carmell said, “because the
mission of the Jewish Women's Foundation resonates with me on many levels, both
personally and professionally. I'm particularly drawn to this unique model of
social-change philanthropy as a means to positively impact the lives of Jewish
women and girls. And I couldn't be more delighted about working with the JWF
Trustees, a truly extraordinary group of women, to achieve that goal.”
Carmell takes over from Emily MuskovitzSweet, who is the new Executive Director of
JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council and Government Affairs. Carmell and
her husband, David, live in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. They have two
adult children and one grandchild.
Jewish Women’s Foundation was a pioneer,” said JUF President Steven Nasatir.
“From the start, it has provided a forum for women to express themselves and
their values through their philanthropy, to highlight critical issues impacting
Jewish women and girls, and to mentor women as leaders in the philanthropic
world. The foundation has earned its outstanding national reputation in these
areas, and Ellen Carmell will continue to grow and define that tradition.”
its founding in 1997, the foundation has raised a pledged endowment of over
$8.6 million, and awarded more than $2.6 million to 134 projects.
month, it announced grants totaling nearly $350,000 to support 21 unique
projects that improve the lives of Jewish women and girls locally, in Israel
and around the world. Efforts focus on securing women's health and safety,
growing strong and self-assured girls, increasing women's economic power, and
promoting Jewish women's education and leadership.
foundation also is a founding member of the Jewish Women's Collaborative International Fund, a coalition of
17 Jewish women's funds – 14 in the U.S., three in Israel – that has awarded a
collaborative grant to Shutafot (Partnership), a newly created
partnership of seven prominent women's organizations in Israel.