GilliganWebIMG_6544.jpgPresident & CEO

Contact Ellen

Main: 414.272.5805

Executive Assistant

Aileen Rogers

Direct: 414.336.7025

Main: 414.272.5805

E-mail: arogers@greatermilwaukeefoundation.org


Ellen M. Gilligan has led the Greater Milwaukee Foundation as President and CEO since 2010. Serving Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties, the Foundation is the region’s largest community foundation and was among the first in the world. Since being established in 1915, the Foundation has awarded more than $621 million in grants – including a historic $60 million in 2016 – supporting a wide variety of nonprofits and initiatives that advance a higher quality of life in greater Milwaukee and beyond.

Ellen’s tenure at the Foundation has been marked by growth, collaboration and a deep commitment to strategies that strengthen the community and improve lives. Under her leadership, the Foundation organized and launched Milwaukee Succeeds, a communitywide educational partnership focused on success for every child in every school, cradle to career. She has also guided the Foundation in making a generational commitment to advancing racial equity, inclusion and access to opportunity throughout the region.

Spanning more than 30 years in the nonprofit sector, much of Ellen’s career is dedicated to the community foundation field. Before coming to Milwaukee, she spent 12 years at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, most recently as its vice president of community investment and president of the $30 million HealthPath Foundation.

Ellen is the chair-elect of CFLeads, a national network of community foundations leading change. She serves on the national board of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Locally, she is on the Executive Committees of Milwaukee Succeeds and the MKE United downtown action agenda. She is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and co-chairs its Creative Placemaking Committee. Ellen is also a member of the City of Milwaukee Black Male Achievement Advisory Council and is a past board member of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado. Ellen and her husband, Charlie DeSando, have two college-age sons.

Contact Ellen

Main: 414.272.5805


Executive Assistant

Aileen Rogers

Direct: 414.336.7025

Main: 414.272.5805

E-mail: arogers@greatermilwaukeefoundation.org