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.

7. Project Impact finals event Judges, Desiree Rogers and Thomas Elden

11. Project Impact finals eventImran Khan delivers a presentation.

Smart With Heart Women, Like Kate Attea and You

Harvard MBA and venture philanthropy expert Kate Attea is perfectly poised to do the most good in the Chicago while juggling all the balls of a mother with 4 young children.

She’s a “smart with heart” Wilmette woman working part time for the venture philanthropy nonprofit, A Better Chicago.

Kate Attea

See the Make It Better article here.

Kate describes her work at A Better Chicago as “supporting cradle to career best practices.”

Cradle to career best practices — isn’t that what every mother works hard to accomplish for her own kids and others too?

We can all learn from Kate, and we would love to do so because she is just as lovely to talk to and be with as she looks in this photo.

Go Kate! Go mothers!