A Better Chicago’s Project Impact Finalists

I’m very excited to have served on the judging panel for A Better Chicago and congrats to the Project Impact finalists; Curt’s Café, The Dovetail Project, Foundations College Prep, Intrinsic Schools, VOCEL.. Here’s a quick summary from A Better Chicago!


Congratulations to the Project Impact finalists!  These six nonprofits will present at the Project Impact finals event for their chance to win up to $100K and become part of A Better Chicago’s portfolio for one year.  Learn more about the finalists’ inspiring work the community, and attend the finals event on 11/13 to cast your vote!  Buy $20 tickets here.

Project Impact is a social innovation competition awarding a total of $200K and 12 months of management support to three early-stage nonprofits using innovative strategies to improve the lives of low-income Chicagoans. MORE >

A Better Chicago

Part 2; Best Annual MIB Supported Fundraisers

Welcome back to Part 2 of my posting of top MIB Supported Fundraisers.

Today, we’ll look at top NFP Gala’s in the area of Service and Schools.

1. City Year Ripples of Hope Gala (4/2015) This year’s Gala was a huge success; it took place on April 9, 2014 and raised a total of $903,685 in support of our service to the students of Chicago. View photos from the evening on City Year’s Flickr Page. Thanks were given out to ;

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
City of Chicago

Mark Furlong
CEO, BMO Harris Bank

Read and subscribe to the City Year Blog, as well.

2. Posse Foundation Chicago Golf Outing and Cocktail + Dinner Reception, (9/2015)

Their website says it all; “Posse is one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States. In fact, President Barack Obama said in an interview in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “One of this year’s MacArthur awardees—the ‘genius’ awards—is an innovator named Deborah Bial. She proposed a model to identify promising students from…urban backgrounds using an alternative set of qualities as predictors of success in college. …The students that are selected form a ‘Posse’ and are provided with extra supports, and end up graduating from selective colleges with a very high success rate.”

3. After School Matters Annual Gala (9/2015)

There’s still time to attend the 2014 After School Matters Annual Gala or simply plan for 2015.

After School Matters organization

After School Matters® is a non-profit organization that offers Chicago high school teens innovative out-of-school activities.

4. Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund 25th Anniversary (10/25/14)

Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund

This event is just around the corner so find out more and buy tickets here.

5. Invest For Kids Conference (11/6/14)

Invest For Kids is a unique forum that brings together portfolio managers, family offices, private investors and analysts to learn about strategies and specific investment ideas from a leading group of investment managers.  Their Sixth Annual Event is coming up in a little over a month at Harris Theater. You can register now.

6. A Better Chicago Project Impact Awards (11/13/14)

Watch a video overview of the Project Impact, which is fascinating. Project Impact is a competition that harnesses the power of innovation to move the needle for those in need. Nonprofits across the country can use this prize to launch or grow their presence in the Chicago metropolitan area. We support this initiative and hope you will too. See who gets awarded this year on 11/13/2014.
7. KIPP Chicago Schools KIPP Talk (Spring 2015 )          KIPP Chicago

MIB has been a big supporter of KIPP for some time. We appreciate their mission;  To create a network of schools that empower students with the character and academic skills necessary to succeed in top-quality high schools and universities, to be happy in the competitive world, and to have a positive impact on their communities.

8. Chicago High School for the Arts Kerfuffle (5/2015)

Kerfuffle! is ChiArts’ annual fundraising event featuring performances and exhibitions by Scholar-Artists from the Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts conservatories at ChiArts . The evening will feature four “Arts Partner All-Stars” representing some of the 72 Chicago arts institutions that partner with ChiArts as well as a reception with a strolling Cabaret Dinner.

Please also take a look at the first in this series; Part 1; MIB 2013 Philanthropy Award Winners. 

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.