EMBARC CAME IN FIRST – BUT EVERYBODY WINS WITH A BETTER CHICAGO’S PROJECT IMPACT
Pictured (L-R): Liam Krehbiel (A Better Chicago Founder), David Jacobson, Thomas Elden, Imran Khan (Executive Director, EMBARC), Desiree Rogers, Gillian Darlow, Matt Ferguson, Kate Attea (Managing Director of A Better Chicago).
On Thursday, November 7, EMBARC - which stands for Empowering Minds, Building Achievement and Reconnecting Communities - won the second-annual Project Impact competition held by venture philanthropy fund A Better Chicago. The event included four nonprofit finalists giving dramatic TED Talk style presentations and answering questions from high profile judges in front of an audience of 250, including me.
EMBARC receives a $100,000 grant and twelve months of management support from A Better Chicago to help scale its program beyond the 200 Harper High School students it currently serves. The other nonprofit finalists – Intrinsic Schools, New Classrooms and Project SYNCERE – each receive $20,000 from A Better Chicago too.
Really though, everyone wins because of the affirming culture created by the competition. Chicago abounds with innovative, commited individuals determined to improve education and other opportunities for poor urban youth. Project Impact highlights this and provides rocket fuel support for early stage nonprofits already demonstrating effective practices.
Founded in 2010 by teachers at Harper High School in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood, EMBARC immerses students in social and cultural enrichment experiences and provides career development, life skills and academic support services, in order to improve academic achievement. With this well rounded approach, EMBARC aspires to increase its 200 participants’ standardized test scores, grades, graduation rates, and college enrollment rates, among other positive outcomes. The $100,000 and volunteer management consulting prize should allow EMBARC to grow elsewhere in Chicago too.
The panel of judges included Gillian Darlow, Chief Executive Officer of the Polk Bros. Foundation; Thomas Elden, Chief Executive Officer of Origami Capital Partners; Matt Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer of CareerBuilder; David Jacobson, Vice Chairman of BMO Financial Group; Timothy Knowles, John Dewey Director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute; and Desiree Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company.
This panel of rising business stars, as well as A Better Chicago’s committed board and impressive, engaged audience members also showcase real commitment to improvement and the impact that A Better Chicago already has.
Make It Better is proud to be a media sponsor of A Better Chicago’s venture philanthropy work.
Judges, Desiree Rogers and Thomas Elden
Imran Khan delivers a presentation.