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Staff Profile

Ryan Priester

Program Officer, Chicago Commitment

Ryan Priester


Ryan focuses on the Vital Communities portfolio within the Chicago Commitment program.

Prior to joining MacArthur, Ryan served as the Director of Community Programs at the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement. In that role, Ryan led the work of the Community Programs Accelerator, which supports nonprofits whose work benefits South Side neighborhoods in Chicago. He also designed and implemented the University of Chicago’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management for community leaders across Chicago’s South Side. A native of Chicago’s South Side, Ryan began his career working with youth and families in the Woodlawn neighborhood, serving as a community organizer in the New Communities Program Woodlawn. He also held leadership roles in community-based nonprofits, including as the Associate Director for the Woodlawn Public Safety Alliance. In addition, Ryan is a professional musician and voice actor.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago, where he graduated as a Carnegie-Mellon scholar, and pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School in Philosophy of Religion.

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