Ernest Sanders, Founder and Managing Partner for COMEUNITY Based Solutions, is a first generation college graduate and business professional of more than 30 years and has worked on national causes to 1) reduce recidivism and unemployment, 2) enhance literacy and academic enrichment in middle and high schools, 3) increase access to healthcare, housing, and social services, 4) promote digital and network excellence in lower income populations, and 5) lead supply chain processes.
As an African American male, Sanders continues to share his personal and professional stories of racism and oppression faced in his adolescent and adult days. His decision to share these particularly graphic and personal encounters are not rooted in finger-pointing, but more so modeling and creating exceptional leaders of tomorrow. As a former seminarian, Sanders’ foundation is based in accepting people as themselves. However, when it came to his fellow African Americans, his work would be even more intentional in modeling leadership characteristics. Through counseling, working in low-income communities, and a sheer passion for truth, Sanders repurposed and retooled his narrative to Black Lives Mattering in the larger story of America’s history.
Specializing in community and economic development activities such as youth workforce development, promoting healthcare equity, language development, civic engagement, team building, and strategic planning, Sanders continues to write grants, participate as a national grant reviewer, and lead a variety of significant projects in Chicago and other U.S. cities.
In 2014, Sanders was named the University of Chicago’s Community Partner of the Year for his work on the Southside of Chicago encompassing issues such as youth workforce development (MAPSCorps) community-based participatory research, and broadband adoption/use for low-income families. In 2016, he contributed to the University’s MAPSCorps Guidebook. This guidebook is a framework created for the New York State Health Foundation engagement, and is intended to be a tool for those interested in replicating MAPSCorps in their region.
He attended Harvard University’s Divinity School and earned a certification in Faith Based Community and Economic Development.
Sanders served for 10 years as an executive board director for Healthy Schools Campaign, while also working in a similar capacity with other organizations and institutions as his alma mater Loyola University of Chicago’s Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs.