As Executive Director for the Gift of Hope Community Foundation and the Illinois Transplant Fund, Audrena Spence provides organizational leadership and operational management of philanthropy strategies, initiatives and projects for grants, major gift campaigns, fund development and partnerships that serve to increase contributions to the Community Foundation, research programs and the Illinois Transplant Fund.
Prior to joining Gift of Hope, Spence served as executive director for the Metropolitan Family Services Calumet Center. Under her leadership and through new development and partnerships, the Calumet Center’s annual budget nearly doubled from 2007 to 2021. She also founded the Metropolitan Leadership Academy designed to enhance, enrich, identify and develop future leaders within the organization.
Spence has received numerous awards and recognitions for her civic engagement including selection to the Leadership of Greater Chicago Fellows Class of 2013; the Rainbow PUSH Dr. King/President Johnson Faith in Politics: Game Changer Visionary Service Award; the Chicago Defender’s Women of Excellence; State Farm’s “Go To Bat” Community Service Award; the National PanHellenic Council Chicago’s Community Service Leadership Award; and the All Stars Project of Chicago Community Spirit Award.
She also completed the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership program. Her active civic involvement has included work with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of Black Social Workers, The Links, Inc. and others. Spence holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Catalina brings to ITF extensive administrative experience with health equity nonprofit organizations such as the UIC Institute for Minority Health Research, the Robert Crown Center for Health Education and Y-ME National Breast Cancer organization. Catalina also holds a MD degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Her portfolio includes managing the premium support program, screening new ITF patient applications, developing relationships with the transplant center social workers and financial counselors and leading ITF patient events and community education about the Fund.