Beth Swanson is the CEO of A Better Chicago. In this role, she leads the organization’s work to change how Chicago fights poverty by investing in bold ideas that are creating opportunity for youth from cradle to career. Prior to taking the helm at the venture philanthropy nonprofit in May 2019, Beth spent 20 years spearheading education and youth development work across the city with leadership roles in the nonprofit, government, and philanthropic sectors. Under her leadership, A Better Chicago has applied its unique model to amplify the impact of high-potential organizations on the South and West Sides, provided urgent support throughout the pandemic to more than 600,000 youth and families, and engaged thousands of donors to raise and deliver millions in unrestricted grants to high-impact Chicago nonprofits and leaders.
Beth is currently vice chair of the City Colleges Board of Trustees, board chair for The Partnership for College Completion, and was appointed by the Governor to the Illinois P-20 Council. In 2014, she founded Thrive Chicago—a collective impact initiative working to align efforts by service providers, city agencies and funders to help children succeed from cradle to career—and serves on the organization’s board.
Beth was a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow in 2006 and Crain’s Chicago Business named her to its list of 40 Under 40 in 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American Studies from Amherst College, and a master’s in public policy from the University of Chicago. Beth, her husband, and their three children live on Chicago’s North Side.