Cheryl Mendelson has more than 25 years of experience in fundraising and management across higher education, academic medicine, and the arts.
Most recently, she served as the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of External Affairs at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park, where she had executive responsibility for all areas of operation, financial performance, and community engagement. She served as the chief architect for the $38 million Imagine Campaign, and under her leadership, annual giving increased by 300 percent. In her eight years there, she played a central role in ensuring the fiscal health and growth of programs through initiatives to increase income and investments totaling more than $50 million.
Prior to joining the Harris Theater, Cheryl spent 14 years with the world-renowned Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, now known as the Shirley Ryan Ability Center, and led the organization’s fundraising growth. She managed campaigns raising more than $150 million and as Senior Vice President of Philanthropy, led the planning and execution of the award-winning fundraising campaign, Transforming Medicine – Transforming Lives.
She also has held fundraising positions with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Boston’s Beth Israel hospital, an academic partner of Harvard Medical School.
Cheryl received her BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and completed the Management Institute Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She currently serves as a trustee of Kartemquin Films and is a member of the Executives’ Club of Chicago. She was named to the Top Ten List of 30 Professionals of the year by Musical America and was featured in the inaugural publication of FW Magazine as a “Philanthropic Powerhouse.”