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Cardinal Blase J. Cupich Announces the Appointment of Sally Blount as Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Former Kellogg Dean is the first lay person to lead one of the nation’s largest Catholic Charities agencies

Chicago, Ill. (April 23, 2020) – Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, today announced that he has appointed Sally Blount as Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Blount, 58, is the Michael L. Nemmers Professor of Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she is the former dean. The first lay person to lead the 103-year-old charity, she succeeds Monsignor Michael Boland who stepped down in August 2019 after 30 years with the agency. Blount will assume the position of CEO on August 1, 2020, working closely in the interim with Catholic Charities’ acting CEO Kathy Donahue, to transition into the role.

“We conducted a comprehensive nationwide search for a leader who combined a deep commitment to the Catholic faith with the expertise to re-envision Catholic Charities’ mission and impact for its next century of service to people and families in need,” said Janice R. Klich, M.D., chair of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors. “Our search committee found in Sally Blount a heart for the mission of Catholic Charities and the vision to help it thrive amid a growing need for its services and a challenging fundraising environment. We were pleased to unanimously recommend her to Cardinal Cupich.”

A record-setting fundraiser and transformational builder, Blount served as dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University from 2010-2018. Blount sits on the boards of directors for Abbott Laboratories, Ulta Beauty, the Joyce Foundation, and the Economic Club of Chicago, and serves on the advisory board for the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program. Since 2014, she has been a member of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago, where she co-chairs the People and Talent Development Committee.

“I am pleased to accept the recommendation of the Catholic Charities search committee and appoint Sally Blount as the organization’s chief executive officer,” said Cardinal Cupich. “Sally has contributed much to the Church through her service on the Archdiocese Finance Council and her work in priest development. With her organizational and leadership expertise, profound faith and strong commitment to social justice, she is the ideal person to lead Catholic Charities at this exciting and challenging time.”

Prior to Kellogg, Blount was dean of the New York University (NYU) Stern College of Business for six years. Under her leadership, Stern received a $15 million gift, the largest in its history. An award-winning instructor, she served on the faculties of NYU and the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago for nearly two decades. She will retain her appointment on the Kellogg faculty, teaching on a part-time basis.

Blount is a sought-after speaker and commentator on leadership development, board governance and organizational transformation. She is author of two books and more than 30 peer-reviewed academic publications in negotiations and behavioral economics and is a two-time recipient of National Science Foundation research grants. Blount holds a Master of Science and Doctorate in organizational behavior from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Science in engineering from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Princeton University.

“I’m grateful to Cardinal Cupich and the Catholic Charities Board for offering me this opportunity to use my gifts to serve the Church in such a foundational way,” said Sally Blount, incoming CEO of Catholic Charities of Chicago. “Becoming the first lay person to lead this century-old organization is not something I take lightly. The sense of honor I feel is profound. And I’m energized to work with Kathy Donahue and the talented and dedicated team at Charities to enact a smooth transition and set a trajectory that deepens the organization’s mission and impact for decades to come.”

Catholic Charities began in 1917, when Chicago business leaders petitioned Cardinal George Mundelein to create a central organization to relieve the charity care burden on Catholic parishes. The times were desperate, with World War I and a global influenza pandemic causing widespread illness and death. Waves of immigrants arrived every month, fleeing starvation and devastation in their homelands. Over the decades since, Catholic Charities has met different challenges presented by world wars, economic recessions, family instability, income inequity and other societal factors.

A century after its founding, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago is once again providing basic human necessities during a pandemic, the course and duration of which remain unknown. Catholic Charities has persisted in serving our communities despite an economic environment that has caused a disruption to its usual funding sources and a marked increase in requests for its services. The organization is committed to meeting the needs of a rapidly growing population, including, food, housing and legal assistance while taking the proper precautions to keep guests and workers safe.