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For Immediate Release:                                                                    Contact: Jennifer Jones
November 5, 2021                                                                     

Defining Moment in History: Chicago Debates Selects Ed Briscoe as Its First Director of Development

Chicago Debates is bridging the opportunity gap for Chicago Public School (CPS) students by providing them with an after-school program that supports their academic, career, and leadership success.  They envision a world in which Chicago youth are empowered to find their voice, succeed in college and career, and become leaders in their community.

Edward (Ed) Briscoe brings 12 years of philanthropy work and more than 14 years of nonprofit experience to Chicago Debates. He has served as the most senior Advancement Officer at Urban Prep Academies and in Director level roles at the University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, and Blessings in a Backpack. A native Chicagoan, Ed brings an intense understanding of issues facing students and educationally focused institutions in the community.

Chicago Debates’ success is rooted in mission driven work—for which I have served as a frontline champion for over 15 years. I recognize the need and sense of urgency for enhancing the opportunity to further develop both students’ academic growth and donor prospect awareness,” he said.

Ed earned an MA in Educational Leadership and Organizational Change from Roosevelt University and a BA from Fisk University, majoring in Psychology.

Chicago Debates continued its long-standing relationship with KEES, retaining the firm as its executive search partner for the Director of Development role earlier in 2021. Ed was selected as the leader with the most experience and potential, amongst many candidates, to contribute to and participate in Chicago Debates’ long-term success.

The hiring of our first Director of Development is a defining moment in our history and for our future as we grow to meet our goal of serving nearly 3000 students over the next five years.  Ed brings a real passion for the work and the students we serve at Chicago Debates. We are confident that he will broaden and deepen the engagement that supporters have for our mission and our students. The entire team looks forward to working with Ed as we cultivate the future leaders of Chicago and our country,” said Dr. Toinette Gunn, Executive Director, Chicago Debates.

Since its inception in 1995, Chicago Debates, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, has grown from an initial five high schools on the south side to over 90 middle and high schools throughout the city. Chicago Debates has become one of the most competitive policy urban debate leagues in the country, and a national model for other urban leagues. To learn more about Chicago Debates, please visit

You can support Chicago Debates by making a donation at or by texting CHIDEBATES to 243725.


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams and dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public entity sectors. A woman-owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. To learn more about KEES, visit

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