Meet the Staff
Ellen Carmell joined the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (JWF) as its Executive Director in January 2015, bringing to her role over two decades of leadership in the non-profit sector and a strong commitment to the Jewish community.
Prior to JWF, Ellen was Director of the Bridging America Project at AJC (American Jewish Committee) a national initiative, supported by the Ford Foundation, to strengthen Latino-Jewish relations and advance immigration reform.
Ellen began her career as a museum educator and after many years as a museum professional and active lay leader, she decided to launch her "Encore Career" by putting her passions to work for the greater good - devoting the second act of her professional life to social change within a Jewish context.
Ellen has been involved with Facing History and Ourselves for over 25 years and currently serves on its Board of Directors, Committee on Governance, and Chicago Advisory Board as a past Chair. She also served in numerous lay leader positions at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook.
Ellen and her husband David live in Chicago; they have two children and two grandchildren.
Amy joined JWF as its Program Officer in April 2017. Amy brings a valuable skill set and fresh perspective to her position, including a wide range of knowledge about the Jewish non-profit sector in Chicago and Israel. Amy's work on grants administration for supporting foundations housed at the Jewish Federation involved reviewing grant applications and organizational budgets; synthesizing and analyzing information for foundation boards; communicating with grantees; conducting site visits; and performing due diligence on new organizations.
Prior to JUF/Jewish Federation, Amy served as an AmeriCorps member in Columbus, Ohio at I Know I Can, a college access non-profit that strives to make higher education a reality for all students.
Amy hails from Cleveland, Ohio and is a proud alumna of Ohio State University where she received both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education. She is an avid reader, sports fan, marathon runner, and volunteer at PAWS Chicago. In addition, she serves on the leadership board for TBD Minyan, a lay-led Jewish community in Chicago.
Dermer joined the Jewish Women's Foundation in
July of 2020 after working at JUF for
two years overseeing Right Start, a program to incentivize families to send their children to Jewish Early Childhood schools. She helped design a preschool finder website and served as preschool concierge, helping families identify the best school for their child.
Prior to JUF, Elana taught Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten at Chicago Jewish Day School. She has been teaching in the Jewish Early Childhood field for eight years.
Elana helped start a young professionals' chapter of NA'AMAT USA, a volunteer organization whose main focus is advocating for women's rights in Israel. She also serves as a member of the Illinois Holocaust Museums Young Professional Committee and served on the planning/host committee for a recent fundraiser.
Elana grew up in Skokie and is a graduate of Bradley University. Elana is an avid photographer and takes classes in her free time. She also enjoys biking, reading and spending quality time with family and friends.