A catalyst for business growth

The Chamber Foundation coordinates educational resources, programs, and research to advance the activities of the Chamber.

Foundation initiatives allow the Chamber to collaborate with strategic partners and organizations to address key business issues, and extend the scope of our activities. These initiatives serve a diverse audience including community leaders, entrepreneurs, business executives, employees, as well as educators and students.



The Foundation was originally incorporated in 1973 as the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry Foundation. In 1998, the name was changed to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

The Foundation Board

The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors and staffed by an Executive Director. It is housed within the Chamber’s offices in the Wrigley Building.

Board Directors

Rich Gamble

, Board Directors

Rich is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Magnificent Mile Association whose district is home to many of Chicago’s premier retail, dining, culture, hotel, and service businesses and residential communities. His previous experience includes 6 years as Chief Operating Officer at the Chicago Zoological Society responsible for: Human Resources, Plant & Facilities, Information Technology, Guest Services, Marketing & Digital Media, Police, Occupational Health & Safety, Institutional Planning, and a variety of strategic initiatives. He joined CZS after an impressive 16-year career with the Chicago Tribune where he last served as the Vice President & General Manager of Chicagoland Publishing and Publisher of Chicago Magazine. Prior to this, Rich served in the roles of Vice President of Finance & Operations, Publisher & General Manger of ¡Exito! Newspaper, Director of Business Development, and Director of the Packaging Division. Before Tribune Company, Rich held a variety of leadership roles in the quick service restaurant (Taco Bell) and industrial supply (McMaster-Carr) industries.
Rich is a lifelong Chicagoan and is civically active. He currently participates on several non-profit boards including: The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Loop Alliance, and Choose Chicago. Rich is completing his certification in Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy with MIT and is a Veritus Scholar with a certification in Major Gift Fundraising. He holds a Master of Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with concentrations in Marketing, Strategy & Planning, and Organizational Behavior and an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences. He, his wife (Melissa) and their daughter (Lily) live in Chicago’s South Loop. In his free time, he enjoys time with his family, travel, culture, fitness, and dining – a foodie at heart. Gamble enjoys adventure and challenges himself to grow by taking the road less travelled.

Jack Lavin

, Board Directors

Jessica Smith

, Board Directors

Jessica provides senior counsel and leadership to support corporate, non-profit and government clients.

Recent projects include helping the Chicago Park District celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics; working with the City of Chicago and World Business Chicago to produce the North American Climate Summit; supporting McDonald’s in opening its new West Loop headquarters; providing strategic media direction to the Women’s March Foundation based in LA; and developing communications strategies for public sector pension systems in multiple markets across the U.S.

Jessica also provides clients with crisis communications and issues management counsel, with a focus on labor relations. For example, Jessica has worked with corporate, non-profit and school district clients during union organizing efforts, contract negotiations, unfair labor practice disputes, threatened strikes, strikes and the aftermath.

In her current role, she also works with JT’s service areas, including public affairs, events and international advance, and digital media and video to develop and implement engagement strategies designed to grow JT’s business.

In 2013, Jessica was hired to build the community engagement and outreach department for a large suburban education system. She led the system through a complete re-branding process, developed a comprehensive three-year strategy for the department and provided ongoing strategic communications counsel, before returning to JT in 2014.

Jessica received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Marquette University. She continues to be active with her alma mater serving on the national Young Alumni Leadership Council. She also serves on the Associate Board of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, is past president of the Chicago Area Public Affairs Group (CAPAG) and previously co-chaired the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leaders group.

Matthew Summy

, Board Directors