A Better Chicago CEO Takes a Stand for Chicago Charter Schools

The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (which is part of the University of Minnesota Law School) recently published a repoA Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicagort that assessed how Chicago’s charter schools are performing relative to comparable CPS schools (aka neighborhood public schools).  The report concluded that charter schools are no more effective (and perhaps less effective) than neighborhood schools on a number of performance metrics.  Additionally, the report recommended a three-year moratorium on opening new charter schools in Chicago, as well as a host of other actions that would make it harder to open additional charter schools in the future.A Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicago

After reading this report, Liam Krehbiel, Founder and CEO of A Better Chicago felt compelled to write an op-ed for two reasons.  Here’s what he had to say; “First, we at A Better Chicago want to share a different approach to thinking about charter school performance.  It is absolutely true to say that there are some underperforming charter schools. However, it is misleading to only think about charter school performance in the aggregate.  As you’ll see in the op-ed, many of our city’s veA Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicagory best open enrollment public schools are charter schools.

He continues; “But, the bigger point is that we need to change the conversation.  Rather than focusing on charter schools versus neighborhood schools, we need to think about how to create more great schools (of all types) and how to fix or shut down more bad schools.  In other words, let’s end the ideology debate and instead focus on pursuing whatever practical solutions are available to us to give Chicago’s students the best chance of getting a great education.”

Finding and growing the best practices to insure a good education shouldn’t be a political issue.  Collaborative efforts to support and grow what works is the future.  Liam Krehbiel is spot on.

I’m very proud to be an advisory board member of A Better Chicago. Consider getting involved yourself.

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.

Liam Krehbiel Scores 100% With A Better Chicago

Social Entrepreneur Liam Krehbiel Scores 100% With
A Better Chicago
Venture Philanthropy Fund

It takes vision and courage to launch a new entrepreneurial concept in the business or philanthropic worlds. Liam Krehbiel’s got it – inherited from his ancestors who built Molex Corporation from a plastic invention. But he’s more interested in counting lives made better than items sold.

With auction help from life long friends Leslie Hindman and Trish Rooney, his venture philanthropy fund, A Better Chicago, scored a great success last night at it’s first gala. 100% of the funds raised by the 400 guests and the auction of unique travel experiences went directly to the mission – of funding the most effective nonprofits in Chicago.