Dawn Frances Reese
Director of Strategy | Cleveland Avenue Foundation For Education
"My hope for Chicago is that all of its young people have access to the necessary resources to achieve their goals. I will continue to be an advocate for quality education, adequate opportunities and a narrative that reflects the wonderful gifts of our young people."
Undergraduate Degree: Auburn University, '09
Fun fact: I love making gumbo and will challenge anyone to a cook off.
In addition to receiving Chicago Crain’s prestigious 40 under 40 honor, Dawn Frances advances the mission of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education to support and mentor underserved Chicago students & professionals by investing in organizations focused on college access and career success. Dawn Frances brings vast career experience spanning start-ups in advocacy, venture capital, and higher education focused on organizational advancement and strategic investments. Before moving to Chicago in 2012, Dawn Frances led and then sold her family’s real-estate investment firm in Mobile, Alabama.
Most recently, she was the Associate Director for Advancement for Urban Labs at the University of Chicago, with a focus on improving lives in the five key areas of Education, Crime, Poverty, Health, and Energy & Environment. Before joining Urban Labs, Dawn was Senior Associate of Business Development working with the Clean Energy Trust, an accelerator focused on early stage clean energy businesses in the Midwest.
Dawn Frances sits on the board of City Year Chicago and the Development Leadership Consortium. She is a 2019 Chicago Urban League IMPACT fellow and a 2016 Development Leadership Consortium fellow. She previously served on Chicago Foundation for Women’s grant making committee, the Young Women’s Giving Council, and the foundation’s Civic Agenda Committee. She is a former member of the Chicago Women in Philanthropy and has lived and volunteered in Cape Town, SA.
Dawn Frances enjoys trying new eateries on the Chicago restaurant scene and random cook offs with her friends.