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Honoree Headshot

Edgar Ramirez

President & Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Commons

Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 1894
Industry Group Specific: Nonprofit, Community Services

Presented by:

When Edgar Ramirez joined Chicago Commons as the associate executive in 2010, the organization was in a tough spot. It was recovering from a critical period in its 100-plus years of existence. Ramirez was brought in as the first leader the organization hired for some time and quickly learned the ropes. Two years later, he was appointed the CEO.

Chicago Commons is a social service agency with a mission to empower individuals, families and communities to overcome poverty and systemic barriers, embrace opportunities and thrive across generations. To fulfill that mission, the nonprofit provides high-quality early childhood education, family support services and senior services to more than 3,500 individuals annually.

Under Ramirez’s guidance, Chicago Commons underwent a remarkable transformation. For the next 10 years, the team managed to double the organization’s budget and become the second-largest Head Start system in Chicago. The adult education and youth programs found new life through the innovative Family Hub Program that offers health and wellness, employment services and financial wellness.

“Today, Chicago Commons stands in the best financial shape of its 130-year history, a testament to Edgar’s prudent management and strategic business acumen,” said his staff. “Thanks to his leadership, the organization is now poised for sustained success, continually expanding its impact within the communities it serves.”

In fact, with Ramirez at the helm, the organization was awarded a five-year, $115 million grant from the Office of Head Start to expand and enhance the early childhood offerings.

Over the next five years, Ramirez said his vision is for Chicago Commons to evolve into a dynamic hub of comprehensive services, offering an integrated approach that addresses the diverse needs of the community memes at every stage of life. “My vision is that the name Chicago Commons will be synonymous with transformative change, in which the communities we serve are thriving across generations,” he said.

In order to collaborate and continue the success of the social service agency, Ramirez has a presence on boards of organizations, including the Illinois Association of Community Care Homecare Providers and the Latino Policy Forum. He was also appointed to the Illinois Council on Aging by Gov. Pritzker in 2023.

“Edgar Ramirez’s journey, from a community organizer to the CEO of Chicago Commons, coupled with his extensive involvement in community organizations, government initiatives and educational accomplishments, makes him a true titan in the nonprofit and community development industry,” said his staff. “His dedication to improving the lives of individuals and communities is a shining example of leadership and service in action.”

For his continued service, Ramirez has been named a Titan 100.

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My superpower is compassion, amplified by my unique background and firsthand knowledge of the communities we serve. Coming from these very communities has endowed me with a profound understanding of their needs. This personal connection fuels my drive to do more and make a meaningful difference. It allows me to empathize with the challenges faced by the people we serve and motivates me to go above and beyond in addressing their needs. I channel this compassion and insight into action, helping to create a more inclusive and compassionate world for those who need it most.

What is Your Superpower?

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