Jane Ramsey joined JCUA in 1979 and served as executive director from 1982 to 2012. Jane is a long-time community activist with a strong commitment to social and economic justice. She has been at the forefront of many critical issues affecting Chicago.
Jane was a principal organizer of coalitions that bring diverse groups together to address common concerns, including the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative.
Jane’s leadership enabled the JCUA to become one of Chicago’s most active and important organizations speaking on behalf of human and civil rights issues. In 1986, she took a leave of absence from JCUA for two years to join Mayor Harold Washington’s cabinet, serving as director of community relations for the Office of the Mayor.
In addition to providing leadership training and public speaking, Jane currently serves as lecturer and field instructor for the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, teaching “Organizing Communities and Coalitions for Social Change” and “Multi-Cultural Understanding.” Jane has served on numerous boards and is currently a board member of CAN-TV, the Leadership Greater Chicago Fellows Association, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Shalom Center. She has also served on the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago, Chicago Coalition to Protect Public Housing, Ethics Coalition, KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation, Women in Charge; and as commissioner for Private Industry Council (PIC), the Women’s Commission of the City of Chicago, and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism.
Ramsey earned a master’s degree from The University of Chicago, School of Social Administration and a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis. A long-time resident of Chicago, Ramsey is married to Lewis Rice and has four children: Joshua, Laura, Bari and Brandon.
As executive director, and later, president, of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Jane Ramsey’s spirit, commitment and dedication to improving the lives of people in Chicago’s marginalized communities defined JCUA for decades.