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Sujata Kankanhalli

Sujata Kankanhalli

  • Instructor, MS in Learning and Organizational Change Program


Sujata brings over twenty years of nonprofit experience to enhance the impact of philanthropy – foundations, donors and social change organizations. She has managed nonprofit organizations, led a community foundation and advised others in strategic planning, grantmaking, evaluation and research.

She has expertise is organizational development, fundraising, and team building, bringing extensive experience in turning around organizations with deficits to building reserves; improving employee retention; and establishing organizations as thought leaders in their fields.

She currently serves as a senior fellow with pfc social impact advisors, a global social investment consultancy where she is working on research and strategy impacting people living in poverty, community resilience in the face of climate change among other issues. She is gaining experience in impact investing, particularly on understanding social impact, addressing wicked problems with deliberate leadership.

Most recently, Sujata served as president and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women from 2011-2019, a grantmaking organization focused on basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls in the greater Chicago area. She worked closely with the board to advance racial and gender equity both internally and externally. Sujata led the foundation through double digit growth, managing a strategic alliance with the former Eleanor Foundation in 2012. She was instrumental in realigning a majority of the foundation’s assets with its mission.

Sujata has worked at several notable nonprofit agencies in Chicago: director of programs for the Eleanor Foundation, executive director of Apna Ghar, director of Chicago Continuum of Care (now Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness), and director of planning and development at Interfaith Housing Development Corporation.

Before joining the nonprofit sector, Sujata received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, received an MBA from IIT, and studied engineering in her native India.

She has previously served at the Chair of the Women’s Funding Network and the Asset Funders Network as well as on the boards of several nonprofits and public foundations.

You can find details of her experience at


  • PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University
  • MBA, IIT