Who's Who of Professional Women


Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend

Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, who holds a Master of Science in Social Work (MSW), is the president of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust. She believes that the power of empathy and the value of her instincts have guided her professional path. Growing up as the beneficiary of social services, she attributes her success to the numerous opportunities she was given. Today, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend possesses a strong desire to pay her good fortune forward to others. She considers helping those in need to be her calling and believes that giving back to young people can be a transformative intervention.

Dedicated to ensuring that the less fortunate have the resources and support necessary to achieve their goals and become the best versions of themselves, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend has fought to overcome barriers throughout her career. She leveraged her expertise in nonprofit management, youth development, and support services as the former president and chief executive officer of the Philadelphia Youth Network. The nonprofit organization provides education and employment opportunities. From 2005 to 2013, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend was the organization’s vice president of program services.

In 2013, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend was named to 40 Under 40 in the Philadelphia Business Journal. The same publication recognized her with the Women of Distinction Award in 2020. The Chronicle of Philanthropy deemed that Ms. Fulmore-Townsend as One of the People Quietly Changing Philanthropy, and America’s Promise Alliance bestowed her with the Promise of America Award in 2019. As a testament to her achievements and the impact of her professional efforts, she was named a Champion of Change by the White House under President Barack Obama in 2016. In 2007, the Groton School honored her with the Cui Servire Est Regnare (“For Whom Service Is Perfect Freedom”) Alumni Award. Ms. Fulmore-Townsend was further recognized with the Marquis Who’s Who Humanitarian Award.

During her tenure with the Philadelphia Youth Network, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend facilitated employment opportunities for more than 135,000 individuals, an achievement she considers the most notable accomplishment of her career. Now, as the president of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, she manages a portfolio of 150 grantees. She handles stewardship, reviews reports, oversees grant applications, and reviews letters of intent. Ms. Fulmore-Townsend supports grantees, manages grant resources, and attends meetings with stakeholders and board members. From 1998 to 2002, she was a research coordinator with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, after which she served as the senior director of emerging workforces with the Philadelphia Working Development Corporation. Her elite experience and qualifications in social services stem from earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and her MSW from the same institution in 2002. Alongside her formal degrees, she is a certified efforts-to-outcomes site builder, better known as ETO; and she completed her certification in strategic perspectives in nonprofit management with the Harvard Business School in 2021.

Outside of her primary roles, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend authored “Conversations with Experienced Backbone Leaders” with the Collective Impact Forum in 2016. In 2015, she wrote “Equity and Inclusion: Sustaining Commitment” with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. To keep abreast of developments in her field, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend has maintained membership with the National Association of Social Workers since 2005 and with the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority since 2009. She is proud to participate in breaking the cycle of poverty, both in her own family and for others.

In the next five years, Ms. Fulmore-Townsend has an ambitious goal to revolutionize the philanthropic ecosystem through a new type of relationship between nonprofit organizations and philanthropists. By implementing a well-balanced portfolio, she aims to showcase the significant impact of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust. She also plans to write a book that will help emerging women leaders by sharing her experiences and strategies. When Ms. Fulmore-Townsend isn’t working, she enjoys yoga, gardening, and African dance.


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