Ellen Rolfes used her entrepreneurial skills as a book packager who developed seventeen titles for the New York book trade. She now is a self-styled philanthropy consultant working with non-profit organizations, foundations and for-profit institutions to help them create sustainable models that result in societal change. As founder of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy, she was instrumental in shifting the university’s cultural giving patterns by bringing parity for women at the philanthropy table through building a 12 million dollar endowment for scholarships. As consultant to the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, she formed Mei-Ann’s Circle of Friends, a women’s giving circle of 150 diverse community leaders, who share a mission to be an instrument of inclusion, leading the MSO to build diversity and inclusion as a core organizational value. As the creative consultant to the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation, she worked primarily to develop entrepreneurial initiatives that deepen the system’s community engagement in the greater Memphis area. Of greatest note, was the opening of the Universal Parenting Place (UPP) at the Baptist Women’s Hospital, which is a signature project of the ACE Awareness Foundation.
Currently she also serves as Executive Director of the ACE Awareness Foundation. There she uses her entrepreneurial strengths towards its mission to create a trauma informed community that universally comprehends the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on child and adult health and well-being as well as the silent, long-term social and economic impact on the inter-generational population.
She is the former executive director of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, past president of the Junior League of Memphis, a member of Leadership Memphis, New Memphis Institute and the Tennessee Women’s Forum. She served as the only women president of the Society of Entrepreneurs.
Creative philanthropy consultant and cause-related publishing
“Entrepreneurs respect the system, but for some indefinable reason, they are internally driven to follow a vision beyond the one recognized by the status quo. They just see things differently. They were those kids in kindergarten who colored outside the lines, and thank goodness they did. The world is a better place because they had the imagination and courage to use those crayons to draw a different picture for everyone else.”
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