Joanna Trotter


Joanna Trotter is the senior program officer in economic and community development for The Chicago Community Trust. Trotter leads grant making that supports regional and community-based organizations forwarding equitable development. This includes efforts to build an inclusive economy, unlock the full potential of local underserved markets, as well as develop, preserve and improve access to quality housing options.

Prior to joining the Trust, Trotter served as director of neighborhood development for the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement where she guided and coordinated University investments largely in the Woodlawn and Washington Park communities. At the University, she forwarded efforts to develop an arts corridor in Washington Park, develop a new school facility, support community engagement around the Obama Presidential Center, and revamp the University’s long standing Employer-Assisted Housing Program to better align its incentives with neighborhood reinvestment goals. Trotter also spent ten years forwarding the Metropolitan Planning Council’s community building work across the seven-county Chicago region. By providing technical assistance and support to communities, Trotter worked to inform and increase opportunities consistent with MPC’s broader policy goals of creating a more equitable, sustainable and competitive region, such as enhancing local connections between housing, employment and transportation. In 2013, she was promoted to vice president of programs, directing MPC’s community development activity and providing leadership to the organization as whole as part of MPC’s management team.

Prior to MPC, Trotter was the commercial district planner for DevCorp North (now the Rogers Park Business Alliance), the community and economic development organization in Rogers Park. She helped the Chicago neighborhood revitalize its commercial districts, while encouraging balanced growth to meet current community needs. She managed a local Special Service Area, provided technical support for local businesses, and led community-wide planning processes.

Trotter serves as the co-chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Public Policy Committee and is on the board of the Quad Communities Development Corporation. Trotter earned a M.A from the University of California Los Angeles in Urban and Regional Planning.