Detroit Nonprofit BasBlue Welcomes Ellen M. Gilchrist as New CEO

Detroit Nonprofit BasBlue Welcomes Ellen M. Gilchrist as New CEO
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Ellen Gilchrist
Ellen Gilchrist

BasBlue, a Detroit-based nonprofit working to uplift and empower women and non-binary individuals, named Ellen Gilchrist as CEO.

Gilchrist brings experience and a record of leadership in education and community initiatives to the job. Her approach and commitment to equity “make her an excellent fit to lead BasBlue into its next phase of growth and innovation.”

The CEO of BasBlue is a new position created to drive growth, maximize operations for sustainability, and partner closely with the board and staff to develop and implement a strategic, financial, operational and leadership plan for BasBlue’s future.

“Ellen is an exceptional leader whose talent, compassion, and dedication are transformative,” says Nancy Tellem, co-founder of BasBlue. “Her work with youth and community initiatives has been remarkable, and we are thrilled to have her join BasBlue. Ellen’s entrepreneurial spirit, relationship-building skills, and unwavering commitment to Detroit will undoubtedly propel our organization to new heights, positively impacting countless lives in our community. We are incredibly fortunate to have Ellen’s leadership illuminating our path forward.”

Gilchrist joins BasBlue from United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM), where she served as senior director of education and community initiatives. She helped implement programs like Summer Discovery, a $47 million initiative that provides summer programming to more than 100 schools and 22,000 students across Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, and the Building Foundations juvenile intervention program, which delivers care to at-risk youth in Wayne County.

Gilchrist also led UWSEM’s work to address the generational literacy crisis by using partnerships to distribute more than 40,000 books to students across Wayne and Oakland County.

Prior to her role at United Way, Gilchrist served as the executive director of social studies and accelerated programs for Detroit Public Schools Community District. Gilchrist oversaw a $14 million budget, serving students and educators at more than schools while leading initiatives aimed at addressing systemic inequities and improving student outcomes.