Who We Are

Theresa Ellis

Theresa Ellis, Founder


As Founder and CEO, Theresa Ellis sets the strategy for Common Impact, working with the Common Impact team to realize the organization's mission, recruit the right people, and ensure the organization's financial viability. She works closely with the team to design solutions that create enduring value for both nonprofit clients and corporate partners. She also represents Common Impact in the field, speaking frequently about the need to take a strategic approach to cross-sector partnership in order to bring various constituents to the table. In concert with the Board's Nominations Committee, she is actively involved in developing Common Impact's Board of Directors. Theresa's vision in creating Common Impact was to find a way to unlock the talent resident in America's Fortune 500 companies, using this talent to create stronger communities for all. Through its innovative model, Common Impact channels critical, untapped resources into the nonprofit sector, while creating value for its corporate partners. By engaging employees who might otherwise not be involved in their community, Common Impact helps strengthen the social fabric of the communities in which it works. Common Impact has 7:1 social return on investment and partners with some of America's leading companies such as Bain & Co., Cisco, State Street Corporation, and Fidelity Investments. Common Impact has been widely recognized for its innovative model, including accolades from the Boston Business Journal, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Catalogue for Philanthropy, MITX (Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange), and the Social Innovation Forum. Theresa speaks frequently on the topics of making corporate social responsibility (CSR) "real" for companies' employees, creating true reciprocal value through cross-sector partnerships, and social entrepreneurship. Her recent speaking engagements include: the Exchange at Harvard Business School; the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; the First Annual Massachusetts Civic Summit; and the National Conference on Volunteerism and Service. Prior to founding Common Impact, she worked as the Director of Development and Evaluation at CADCA and as a Research Associate at Policy Studies Associates. She currently serves on the Board of Visitors for the Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College. Theresa earned an A.B. in Religion with honors at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She also received the Phillip D. McInnis Class of 1936 Award, given to the outstanding woman in the graduating class.