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Why I Champion Cara: Elaine Ross


Meet Elaine Ross, this week’s highlighted Champion for our Giving Tuesday campaign. We spoke with Elaine to hear her story and find out why she champions Cara.

What is your current affiliation to Cara?

“I am the Manager of Placement Services team at Cara. I’ve been on staff for five years now.”

How did you originally become connected to Cara Collective?

“I got connected to Cara when I was doing research on workforce development models in grad school. At the time, I was pursuing my master’s degree in social work and Cara naturally came up in my research. When I relocated to Chicago from Baltimore, Cara was one of the first nonprofits that I reached out to when I was looking for employment.”

How and in what areas has Cara helped/inspired you to grow?

“Over the past five years, I think I really grew a personal and professional voice. Not only that, some of the friendships that I’ve made with people through Cara Collective are truly people that I will have in my life forever.”

Elaine (Bottom Right) at Cara Gala, 2019

What about Cara motivates you to champion us in the various ways that you do?

I would have to say there’s truly no mission I will ever be more passionate about supporting than Cara’s. I think that everyone can understand the stability, the confidence, and the sense of structure that having a job holds well beyond financially. I believe a job brings so much to someone’s sense of self and there’s no better way to help others get back to work then leveraging personal networks. That’s a part of it. I would also say that regardless of someone’s potential missteps, misfortune, or just the broken structures that are present in our society, everyone deserves a champion. That’s what motivates me to be that Cara to as many people as I can.

If you would like to support Elaine in championing Cara, visit her fundraising page and consider giving a gift to help carry our mission.

What’s your favorite Cara memory?

I mean, “RING THAT BELL!!!” but I truly can’t pick just one. I think one is every time a company says yes to a participant, but also every time a participant says yes to a company and that match is made. I get so much joy in that. Those are my favorite memories, when that “yes!” happens.

“Everyone deserves a champion.”

– Elaine Ross

Motivations Question: Who/what inspired you give 100% this year?

“Every frickin’ job seeker that I meet. Finding a job is not easy, but the motivation and the friendship from our community of job seekers, they are what keeps me inspired. This is also a little cliché, but I love my team so much and they also motivate me to give 100 percent.”

As we wrap up our 30th year, we want it to make it the best one yet. Your support ensures that more rituals, milestones, and celebrations will be honored with our community over the next 30 years to come. Please consider donating a gift or becoming a Cara Champion this Holiday season for our Giving Tuesday campaign.