Occupation: President and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust
The 105-year-old foundation that Gayle has headed since 2017 boasts $3.2 billion in assets and $360 million in annual grants and commitments. Translation: This woman directs the distribution of a lot of charitable dollars. Under Gayle’s leadership, those dollars — acquired through a vast donor network — are being redeployed under a new strategic plan. By directing its discretionary funds to Chicago-area programs that advance stable housing, improved mental health services, and violence reduction, and by supporting the local rollout of broader initiatives like the 2020 census, the foundation is seeking to eliminate what Gayle sees as the city’s most urgent problem: the racial wealth gap. And in March, it partnered with the city to establish the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to speed resources to local nonprofits helping the area’s most vulnerable residents.