Chicago State Foundation Names Melanie Sillas New Executive Director

Sillas continues CSF’s focus on building relationships, securing support to further enhance University’s offerings to students

CHICAGO (August 17, 2022) - The Chicago State Foundation (CSF) and Chicago State University (CSU) is proud to announce Melanie Sillas as the Foundation’s new Executive Director. Sillas is a public services professional with more than 10 years of experience across the nonprofit, higher education, and government sectors.

Melanie Sillas“Melanie’s in-depth experience of development and creating partnerships will help take the Foundation to the next level,” said Christina Steed, Chicago State Foundation’s Chairman of the Board. “Under her leadership, the Foundation will continue to position Chicago State University as the place to find, nuture, and grow the diverse leaders of the future.”

Prior to joining CSF, Sillas served as the Vice President of Membership and Development for Chicago United, where she was responsible for the recruitment and stewardship of the organization’s nearly 100 Member Companies and led general fundraising efforts. During her tenure at World Business Chicago, Sillas served as Vice President of Development, where she was responsible for the design of a comprehensive development strategy for creating key external alliances through the cultivation of corporate, individual and philanthropic support. Sillas’ experience also includes serving as the Associate Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations for  the University of Chicago and as Senior Development Officer for the Chicago Urban League.

“We’re excited for Melanie to continue to build Chicago State Foundation’s support to the University and our students by opening doors to opportunities unique to Chicago State,” said Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Esq. “Corporate partners, such as Discover, Hyatt, Leo Burnett, Sterling Bay and others have been working with Chicago State to develop and source top, diverse talent in the region, and we look forward to Melanie’s efforts to grow these opportunities for our students.”

Sillas received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Science degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from North Park University. 

The mission of Chicago State Foundation is to advance the interest and welfare of Chicago State University by building relationships, securing philanthropic support, stewarding assets and otherwise procuring private support on behalf of the University. Working in concert with the President of Chicago State University, the Chicago State Foundation helps to identify strategic priorities, raise public awareness for the University and secure private support to create new opportunities for students. Over the past three years, CSF’s endowments have grown from below $6 million to nearly $10 million, creating more scholarships and new initiatives for the CSU community.

Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus. For more information, visit here.