Evelyn J. Diaz is the former President of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, a global anti-poverty and human rights organization based in Chicago that provides a comprehensive array of services to nearly half a million people annually in the areas of healthcare, housing, economic opportunity, and justice. During her eight year tenure, she was responsible for directing domestic and global strategy and operations for Heartland Alliance’s five nonprofit corporate entities, with a combined budget of $190 million and 1,600 employees in 9 countries. Under Ms. Diaz’s tenure, the organization grew by 54% and designed and implemented the largest gun violence intervention demonstration in the United States.
Previously, Ms. Diaz was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services where she was responsible for administering an annual budget of $330 million to deliver social service programs to over 300,000 Chicagoans in the areas of children, youth, homelessness, domestic violence, aging, workforce development and human services. Before joining Mayor Emanuel’s cabinet, Ms. Diaz was chief executive officer of the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, Deputy Chief of Staff to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Associate Director of the Chicago Jobs Council. In these roles, Ms. Diaz has led large-scale initiatives that employed thousands of public housing residents, youth at high risk of gun violence involvement, and the formerly incarcerated. She received her graduate degree from the University of Chicago’s Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Notre Dame.
Evelyn currently serves as a board director of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Public Welfare Foundation, the Lab for Economic Opportunity at the University of Notre Dame, Beta Bank, and IFF (formerly Illinois Facilities Fund). She serves on numerous university and research institute advisory councils, as well as the Inclusion Council of the Obama Foundation.