Elspeth Revere

Governance Committee Chair

Elspeth Revere is the founder and CEO of Ravenswood Consulting Group where she advises donors and nonprofits on effective philanthropy, strategic planning, and nonprofit management.

Her recent clients include Chicago Public Media, Albany Park Theater Project, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation,The Field Foundation of Illinois, the National Public Housing Museum, the Alliance for Media Arts + Culture, CHANGE IL, Memphis Partners for Resilient Communities, New England Foundation for the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Forefront, the Illinois membership organization of nonprofits and philanthropy. Each of these projects drew on her skills in strategic planning, project design and management, and writing, as well as her large national network of funders and non-profit leaders spanning many fields.

Ms. Revere retired from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation at the end of 2015 after 24 years, where she was Vice President of Media, Culture, and Special Initiatives. Her responsibilities included support for journalism and media in a technologically changing environment, the arts in Chicago, the MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, Discovery grants, and a changing set of special initiatives – most recently on strengthening American democracy. In her many years at the Foundation, Ms. Revere designed and implemented grantmaking initiatives on topics ranging from human rights to copyright to community service for young adults.

She helped refresh two long-standing areas of MacArthur’s work: its support for journalism, which made grants to nonprofit organizations conducting thorough explanatory and investigative reporting at a time of rapid change in the information environment; and arts and culture in Chicago, which supported the vital cultural community by providing essential operating support grants to over 300 arts organizations. She developed new programs, including the MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, which provided funds for cash reserves, endowment, and other institution-strengthening purposes, and Discovery Grants, a cross-foundation collaborative program to identify and support promising ideas in fields outside of MacArthur’s regular grantmaking. Ms. Revere’s most recent special project was an initiative designed to to protect voting rights, modernize the system of voting administration, and reduce the impact of money in politics in order to ultimately produce better public policy.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Revere was President and CEO of the Woodstock Institute, a nonprofit policy research organization working to increase private sector investment in low-income neighborhoods; Director of Program Development for the city of Chicago's Department of Housing; and a Senior Planner in the Department of Development and Planning. She also worked on community development projects in Guatemala.

Ms. Revere published an essay in 2016 in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, reflecting on her many years as a grantmaker. More recently she published a short piece for nonprofits on fundraising.

Revere holds a master's degree in urban policy and planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago. She serves on the Boards of Directors of Kartemquin Educational Films and the Center for Public Integrity.

Films by Elspeth Revere

The Homestretch 2014
A Very Special Thanks to