About Me
My consulting practice is designed to bring a variety of resources to nonprofits, including foundations.

Oak Park, IL 60304
alicecottingham (at) gmail.com

My Credentials

I began to build a consulting practice in January 2007, while winding down my job as executive director of Girl's Best Friend Foundation, a family foundation led by a mix of family and community members. I led GBF for 5 1/2 years, helping the board and staff craft and implement a theory of change that was fully realized by the time the Foundation closed, as long planned, in late 2007.

Previously, I directed the Fund for Immigrants and Refugees, a grant makers' collaborative, for 5 years and the Crossroads Fund, a public foundation supporting grassroots social and economic justice, also for 5 years. Fifteen years experience as a grant maker has proven an important source of insight into the needs and interests of foundations and organizations that provide resources to them.

Likewise, 15 earlier years in service and advocacy organizations informed my grant making. I worked against violence against women and for women's health. Youth work with national and local hotlines, and a stint as head of a department that included programs for refugees, homeless adults, and women further developed my management and leadership skills.

I  have served on the boards of the Center for Impact Research, Chicago Abortion Fund, Donors Forum, Funding Exchange, and Project Exploration.  Short-term advisory group experiences have included Apna Ghar, Chicago Girls' Coalition, and Latinos Progresando, as well as editorial board of the Chicago Reporter. I co-founded the Women's Justice Fund.

In my community, I was a classroom volunteer in my son's school through 7th grade, served on and chaired a school improvement team, was a member of a district task force on the minority student achievement gap, and was campaign treasurer for a successful school board candidate.

I'm honored to have been recognized by the Asian Health Coalition of Illinois (Leadership Award, 2002), Erie Neighborhood House (La Voz de la Comunidad Award, 2002), and the Chicago chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Professional Grantor Award, 2001).

My education includes undergraduate studies at DePaul University (School for New Learning) and Louisiana State University (English honors), as well as the certificate for Springboard to Creative Problem Solving (2006), Interim Executive Director Training (2007, Executive Service Corps), and the Shannon Institute for Leadership Renewal (2007/2008, Wilder Foundation).