Christopher Cregan Ellis
Community Health Center of Cape Cod
Why is a 40 under 40 winner
- Christopher organized the most successful fundraising events to date, including a gala and two golf tournaments, with an average growth of 60% compared to prior events
- He raised the average annual gift amount by 78% over a five-year span, from $1,335 to $2,024
- Christopher is the founder and race director of the Woodlawn Run for a Cause, a 5K road race in the Bronx that has raised more than $160,000 for charity over 14 years
Q & A
1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
I started my career in public relations. I gained great experience and was part of a wonderful team, but never felt fully connected to the work. My dad was a social worker and my mom a nurse, so I grew up knowing that I wanted to do something that made a positive difference in the community. Early in my career I shifted gears to volunteer management and ultimately fundraising in the education sector in New York City. After working for a few different education organizations, an amazing opportunity presented itself to enter the healthcare philanthropy field, and I took advantage of it, joining the team at Community Health Center of Cape Cod.
2. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
I’ve had a few career decisions that involved the courage of making a change. Early in my career, that involved changing industries from PR to nonprofit. Later, it was shifting organizations from a known place of comfort to a new venture that I wasn’t as familiar with. And most recently, it was a decision to change location (New York to Cape Cod) and focus (education to healthcare), to do what I thought was best for my career, my family, and my life. This most recent “pivot point,” was definitely the hardest, but also the most satisfying. I work with a great team of employees and volunteers here at the Health Center, and I have been able to grow in the role and in the community.
3. What piece of advice would you give aspiring 40 Under 40 recipients?
Be confident in your career decisions and also be okay with being scared. I have made a number of job transitions or career-based decisions that were difficult to make that were nerve-racking at the time. Not knowing what the next steps are can be daunting, but it should be exciting as well. Not every decision that you make will be the right one—there will actually be plenty of missteps. Whatever it is you decide, stand by it, and know that things will ultimately work out in the end. It’s advice I still need to listen to and heed myself as well!