Matthew Bruce

Matthew Bruce

Executive Director


The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance


I see time and again ambitious and creative leaders in non-profits and government who are able to "do well and do good" in the same career.

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
In high school, I envisioned a career in international development, starting with the Peace Corps after going to the college I had picked for that purpose.
In college, I did get to study abroad in Africa and Europe, and remained interested in international development. But, I also got very interested in early childhood development.
So instead of Peace Corps I did Americorps, and worked in an inner city Boston Head Start Center.
I also fell in love with my future wife and followed her back to her home town of Chicago after we graduated. My Americorps job helped get my first "real job" at The Ounce of Prevention Fund.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund introduced me to Chicago and Illinois, and also to the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
With a Masters from Harris and my wife needing me to find a job in Boston (where she went back to school) I found a job with the City of Boston in its Office of Jobs and Community Services.
Working for the City of Boston I learned a lot about workforce development and a little bit about the foundations we partnered with.
This led to the job I'm in now, where I still work in workforce development but work even more with foundations and philanthropy.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
Hamden High School
undergrad
Bachelor
International Relations and Affairs
Tufts University
graduate
Graduate
Public Policy Analysis, General
University of Chicago
Career

Career

Executive Director

I work with foundations and corporations to help people in the Chicago region earn more money.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Non-Profit Organizations
Government
Government
Helping People
Helping People

Day to Day

A typical day is filled with a lot of meetings and phone calls, sometimes at our office, and often at other foundations or organizations. Almost all of my time not in meetings or on the phone is spent on some kind of writing or document creation, or reading/consuming the documents of others. Much of that reading/writing is email, but other typical documents include grant proposals, concept papers, budget/financial spreadsheets, evaluation/outcome reports and powerpoint decks.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

The essential qualities and skills to my job are ALL about communication. My job is to understand and then to convey complex ideas and build consensus about those ideas across diverse constituencies. It requires a constant and large amount of written and oral communication to a diverse set of stakeholders. These are skills one builds over time as a writer and speaker in professional settings.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Meet as many people as possible, the power of social networks and loose connections is enormous in the labor market. I met a lot of people through informational interviews and was always amazed by how generous people can be with their time. Now that I'm in a position to share, I try to be just as generous.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
International Relations and Affairs
graduate
Graduate
Public Policy Analysis, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"You will always struggle to get by if you work in the non-profit sector."

I just kept looking for and came to learn that there are more entrepreneurial opportunities in the social impact sector than advertised. I see time and again ambitious and creative leaders in non-profits and government who are able to "do well and do good" in the same career.

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Financial

I graduated from college 18 years ago and I am still paying off students loans. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, they do get paid off. And the loan forgiveness programs available for those entering social impact work are much better now.