Remembering Our Friend and Colleague, Erika Cornelisen

Posted on October 12, 2021

It is with deep sorrow that we share the news that our wonderful and beautiful friend and Executive Director Erika Cornelisen passed away on October 7, 2021.

As many of you know, Erika was living with cancer for several years. It was only very recently it got the best of her. For the entire time after her diagnosis, Erika continued with the work that she loved and thrived and fully enjoyed life.

Erika was an extraordinary advocate for nonprofits and the people they served. She strived always to make our community stronger, safer, gentler, and more inclusive. She was a collaborator extraordinaire. She operated under the principle that 1 plus 1 must equal more than 2. Many nonprofits and their staff know and work with each other because of an introduction from Erika.

Her qualities and traits are legendary. She was extremely smart, hardworking, passionate, empathetic, optimistic, gentle, inquisitive, cheerful and supportive.

At this moment, we are thinking about all the thousands of meetings Erika and and Joel had with many organizations across Chicago, all the site visits, all the projects initiated, and all the wonderful friends made.

We are also thinking about her husband, Eno, and Erika’s two beautiful children, Atticus and Cora Jean.

We all have suffered an unimaginable loss and are trying to cope. Memorial details will be pass along as we have them.

Many thanks to all of Erika’s friends and colleagues for their contributions to her life.

Joel M. Friedman
Alvin H. Baum Family Fund

Laura Jansen
Program Coordinator
Alvin H. Baum Family Fund