June 1, 2022
Dr. Helene Gayle – President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, in conversation with WTTW’s Brandis Friedman
Dr. Helene Gayle
Dr. Gayle has been president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, since October 2017. Under her leadership, the Trust has adopted a new strategic focus on closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region.
For almost a decade, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, a leading international humanitarian organization. An expert on global development, humanitarian and health issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. She worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.
Dr. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University. She has received 18 honorary degrees and holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University. She serves on public company and nonprofit boards, including The Coca-Cola Company, Organon, Palo Alto Networks, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America, ONE Campaign, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Economic Club of Chicago. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Council on Foreign Relations, American Public Health Association, National Academy of Medicine, National Medical Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics. She has authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and social justice.
Brandis Friedman is a co-anchor and correspondent for Chicago Tonight, and the host of Chicago Tonight: Black Voices, both on Chicago’s PBS affiliate, WTTW. Her reporting on education and criminal justice has appeared on PBS’ NewsHour and NPR’s The Takeaway. Before joining Chicago Tonight, Brandis worked as a reporter and anchor for WBBM Newsradio 780, and as a producer/reporter for WJLA-TV/ABC-7 in Washington, DC. In addition to earning multiple regional Emmy Awards for her work, she has earned multiple Peter Lisagor Awards, recognizing excellence in journalism, from the Chicago Headline Club.
Originally from Mississippi, Brandis’ work has taken her to numerous cities including Kansas City, Missouri, Little Rock, Arkansas and Wichita Falls, Texas. She has served on the board of the Chicago Headline Club, which is the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and is a member of the Education Writers Association and National Association of Black Journalists. Brandis is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans, where she earned a degree in Mass Communications, and Columbia University in New York City, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Journalism. Brandis lives in Evanston with her husband and two sons.