Tara Orris

Chief of Staff

Hailing from Chicago’s south side Hyde Park neighborhood, Tara brings a background in community engagement, political campaign management and local government administration to her position at the Foundation.  Her strong commitment to community service prompted her to leave college at the University of Illinois Chicago to tutor children in a low income predominantly Mexican suburb of Denver for AmeriCorps.  She next headed south to North Carolina where she finished her undergraduate training at Salem College in Winston-Salem and dove headfirst into the political and non-profit arenas.  Tara held the position of Operations Director for the RiverRun International Film Festival while simultaneously working as an independent political consultant for local, state, and national candidates. During this period, she served on the boards for several start up nonprofits and political organizations.  Upon her return to Chicago in 2015, Tara was recruited to be the Finance Director for the primary and run off of a nearly successful mayoral campaign whose candidate went on to win a US Congressional seat.  Over the last several years, convinced of the need to understand government from the inside, she worked as an administrator and community engagement director for several local government agencies, while earning a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

Tara still lives in Hyde Park with her husband and daughter.