Ms. Saks is the founding Executive Director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media. The Institute is a creator and curator of innovative work and ideas investigating issues relating to women and gender through all the arts and media. The first and only entity of its kind in the nation, the Institute offers an innovative approach that merges arts and cultural production with critical theory, research and education. The Institute addresses human rights, access, representation, equity and participation, as well as race and class, using the arts and media as a central means of social change, educational, policy engagement and advocacy.
As a cultural advocate, arts producer, writer and educator she has worked to challenge and champion issues of gender, sexuality, human rights, race and power within the worlds of arts and culture, politics and civil rights, policy and advocacy, academia and philanthropy.
Currently, she serves on several boards and committees including: Trustee Nathan Cummings Foundation, Program Committee Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs, Co-Chair, Chicago Foundation for Women's Lesbian Leadership Council, Radio Diaries of National Public Radio, Friends of the South Africa Constitutional Court Architecture and Art Programme Committee, OUT at Chicago History Museum, Program Committee, Chicago Committee of the African Women's Development Fund and Human Rights Watch. She is a Fellow in the Chief Executive Program of National Arts Strategies, 2011-2013. She is a member of the Mayor's Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago.
She is a published poet and, as a writer collaborates with visual artist and architects including, Jim Hodges, Kerry James Marshall and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle.