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Gillian Darlow


CEO, Polk Bros. Foundation

Gillian Darlow is the CEO of the Polk Bros. Foundation, whose grants aim to reduce the impact of poverty and provide area residents with better access to quality education, vibrant arts experiences, preventive health care and basic human services. Polk Bros. Foundation is one of the largest funders of Chicago nonprofit organizations, making $25 million in grants and investing in nearly 400 Chicago nonprofits every year.

Before joining the foundation in early 2013, Gillian was a principal with the Civic Consulting Alliance where she guided numerous initiatives to transform Chicago Public Schools, tourism, workforce, and City operations and led Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first-term transition, including writing his 2011 transition plan. Previously, Gillian held leadership positions with education, arts, and economic development organizations throughout the country, including the Field Museum and Redmoon Theater in Chicago.

Gillian is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism agency, and sits on several nonprofit boards, including Civic Consulting Alliance and Positive Coaching Alliance. Gillian holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, an MA in education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and a BA in psychology from Harvard University.

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