Edward Coleman leads West Side Forward, an impactful nonprofit organization focused on the economic transformation of communities in Chicago that have suffered the consequences of long-term disinvestment. Effective August 1, 2019 West Side Forward emerged from Bethel New Life, which has served Chicago's West Side communities since 1979. As CEO of Bethel since 2016, Ed has been guiding Bethel and its West Side Forward operation toward establishing and implementing initiatives geared toward transforming Chicago’s West Side communities into attractive places to live, work, and play. The execution of this mission is based on a combination of job and income creation, high-demand career fulfillment, and planning and influencing industrial development investment.
Ed joined Bethel New Life in January 2012 as Vice President of Community Economic Development, and immediately assumed the responsibility for establishing and driving impactful economic initiatives for Chicago’s West Side communities. He brings decades of experience leading operations in large and small corporate environments, as an entrepreneur, in government agencies, in higher education institutions, and in nonprofits. Over the years, Ed had leadership roles with HOPE Fair Housing Center, as owner and CEO of EAC Enterprises, Inc., and with leading telecommunications businesses, including Lucent Technologies and AT&T. He has also taught business at Purdue and Governors State Universities, and at City Colleges of Chicago.
Ed is a Chicago native and graduate of Morgan Park High School. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from DePaul University, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. While at Purdue, Ed was one of six students that led the formation of the National Society of Black Engineers. Among Ed’s professional honors is a Purdue Engineering Alumni Association Service Award, a number of civic recognitions, and many industry awards in quality control, financial management, and product realization. Ed currently serves on the Board of Directors of West Side Forward, mHub, the Austin (Chicago) Chamber of Commerce, and Community and Youth Development of DuPage County. Ed is also on the Advisory Committee for Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, the Advisory Board of the Chicago Development Fund, the Community Leaders Council of CIBC, and the Community Advisory Council of Associated Bank. In recent years, he has been on the Boards of the Joliet Diocese Catholic Charities, HOPE Fair Housing Center, the City of Naperville Fair Housing Commission, the Purdue University Black Alumni Association, and AALR.
Ed has always felt an obligation to make contributions that have a positive impact on society, and believes that his current responsibility with West Side Forward helps him fulfill those aspirations. His interests include domestic and international travel, competitive card playing, golf, and spectator sports. Ed has a spouse (Melody), a daughter (Lisa), and a grandson (Peter).