Our mission is

to empower Chicago’s underserved children to adopt healthy lifestyles, improve their academic performance, and build strong character through sports-based youth development programs.

We maximize our impact by collaborating with parents, schools, and community stakeholders.

Participants based
on Race/Ethnicity:

  • Hispanic/Latino: 51%
  • Black/African American: 43%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 2%
  • White & Other: 4%


93% of Urban Initiatives participants come from low-income families.


Urban Initiatives works in 46 Chicago Public Schools throughout the city.

Make an Impact

Your donations allow us to create positive change in the lives of Chicago’s youth. All donations are tax-deductible.

Make a Donation



Executive & Management Team

  • Jim Dower, Co-Founder & Executive Director, President

    newjimbio2Jim graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Political Science. He started his professional career as a substitute teacher at Cabrini-Green’s Byrd Academy, where the inspiration for Urban Initiatives began. Jim serves on the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness and is a member of Leadership Greater Chicago’s 2014 class. He is in his eleventh year as a professional soccer coach for the Wilmette Wings Soccer Club. Jim oversees the day-to-day external operations of Urban Initiatives.

  • Julie Chelovich, Managing Director, Vice President

    julie staff photoJulie graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science. She played many sports growing up and has always had an interest in youth development and health education. Previously Julie worked at Black River Farm and Ranch where she served as the Program Director. After volunteering as a Work to Play Assistant Coach at Schiller, she knew she had found a great organization for which to put her professional skills to work. Julie oversees day-to-day internal operations of Urban Initiatives.

  • Miguel Fernandez, Development Director

    Miguel graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a B.F.A. in Fine Arts. Prior to joining Urban Initiatives, Miguel was associate director of development for Window to the World Communications, Inc., parent company of WTTW and WFMT. A lifelong Chicagoan, Miguel has worked in development at the Art Institute of Chicago, Parkways Foundation, and the Joffrey Ballet. A longtime UI supporter and member of the Junior Board, Miguel was inspired to join the UI team from his years spent witnessing its impact on children and its invaluable work in bringing communities together. Miguel now leads UI’s fundraising efforts.

  • Lauren Johnson, Research & Evaluation Director

    lalabioOriginally from Destrehan, Louisiana, Lauren holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Seton Hall University and a M.A. from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago where she studied the effects of poverty and inequality on youth’s educational outcomes. Prior to graduate school, she worked as an out-of-school time program evaluator at the University of Chicago. Lauren manages foundation development efforts and program evaluation in order to support quality implementation and development efforts.

  • April Lillstrom, Program Partnerships Director & Senior Program Manager – PWP

    april staff photoApril received a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois and a M.Ed. from UIC, where she specialized in elementary education. April worked with AmeriCorps at educational non-profit groups including First Place School in Seattle and Jumpstart for Young Children in Chicago. Now, she oversees structured recess development. April manages the Play with Potential program at seven schools.

  • Brendan McAlpine, Program Director

    brendanbioBrendan earned a M.A. in Education and Community Development at Wheaton College. Brendan’s favorite Urban Initiatives memory is witnessing one of his Team Captains on the Claremont soccer team excitedly lead the team in pump-up cheers as they prepared for a Friday Game Day and then later that year be awarded with the Team Captain of the Year Award. Brendan spearheads program development and the development of new school partnerships.

  • Andy Neilsen, Training Director & Senior Program Manager – PWP

    andybioAndy graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with B.A. in History with a thesis on conflict resolution in Rwanda. After teaching at an elementary school-age nature camp, Andy spent more than two years with a housing advocacy organization, doing policy research and creating trainings for nonprofit housing developers. Andy leads Urban Initiatives’ training efforts and manages the Play with Potential program at six schools.

  • Cynthia Dominguez, Operations Manager

    Cynthia graduated from Grinnell College, where she received a degree in both Psychology and Spanish and she also played on the women’s soccer team. She has spent her whole life saying that she’s from Chicago, when in reality she was born and raised in the western suburb of St. Charles. Prior to UI, Cynthia lived in Spain for 2 years teaching English to children and adults alike, and she most recently worked as the Coordinator at Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation. Cynthia manages office operations at Urban Initiatives.

  • Kyle Haskins, Development Manager

    kylebioKyle graduated from the University of Virginia in 2010 with B.A.s in English and History and a minor in Art History. Prior to joining Urban Initiatives, Kyle spent two years in Hong Kong, where he taught English to adults and high school students and learned to count to ten in Cantonese. Kyle played soccer throughout his childhood and high school. Kyle manages Urban Initiatives’ individual and corporate development efforts.

  • Jordan Lantz, Development Assistant

    Jordan graduated from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in History. While at Bowdoin, Jordan involved himself with nonprofits that focused on public health and youth development. Since 2009, Jordan has volunteered with Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, an international organization that inspires youth to engage in community service and develop leadership skills. An outdoor enthusiast, Jordan led hiking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding trips for his fellow Bowdoin students in the Maine wilderness. Jordan assists with Urban Initiative’s fundraising efforts.

  • Cristobal Martinez, Communications Manager

    Born and raised in Chicago’s Little Village community, Cris knows firsthand the difficulties of growing up in a tough neighborhood. Cris has a passion for sports and says if it weren’t for sports he would have gone down the wrong path. Instead Cris found his way to Urban Initiatives and started as a Program Associate where he implemented the Work to Play program in 5 schools. Today, Cris has graduated from program implementation and now manages Communications for Urban Initiatives.

  • Becca Martinson, Senior Program Manager – WTP

    A lifelong soccer player and lover of the arts, Becca likes to merge her creative spirit with her passion for the game. Becca earned a BA from DePaul University, where she was a Community Service Scholar and Art History major. She spent extensive time working in an after-school program with kids in Humboldt Park. Becca is the Program Manager for Work to Play and manages volunteers and events.

  • Savannah McKinley Program Manager – WTP

    10991230_10203646329271017_689704988116074954_nOriginally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Savannah graduated from Winona State University with a B.S. in Political Science and a B.A. in English. Following her undergraduate career, she spent a year in Sevilla, Spain where she got to witness the positive effects soccer could have on a student’s academic achievement. Prior to joining UI, Savannah worked for Girl Scouts as a Program Specialist helping to build girls of courage, confidence and character. Savannah is a Program manager for Work to Play.

  • Joy Nelson, Program Manager – PWP

    joybio Joy graduated from Butler University where she double majored in Chemistry and Anthropology. She received her MPH from Kaplan University and is now currently pursuing an M.Ed. from UIC where she is focusing on youth development. She has volunteered teaching ESL to Burmese refugees, teaching the importance of STEM careers to Girls Scouts, and helping young women transition into motherhood. Joy manages the Play with Potential program at seven schools.

  • Katie Sullivan, Manager – Program Evaluation & Volunteer Manager

    Originally from Connecticut, Katie holds a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in International Development with a focus in Public Health from the Catholic University of Milan, Italy. Following her graduate studies, Katie was commissioned by the World Health Organization to draft an evaluations policy paper on partnering for public health. Her love of soccer stems from watching her first derby games between AC and Inter Milan, a rivalry that is now as close to her heart as the Yankees/Red Sox. Katie manages program evaluation and volunteer engagement.

  • Preethi Varma, Program Manager – TTL

    Graduated from the University of Virginia, Preethi studied Public Policy and Gender Studies. Preethi was a large part of the University of Virginia Women’s Center where she assisted adolescent girls as they navigated middle school in the Young Women Leaders Program. Prior to Urban Initiatives, she taught 5th-8th grade special education and volunteered heavily with elementary and middle school youth here in Chicago. Preethi played a lot of soccer growing up and is looking forward to bringing that passion to UI’s Take the Lead Program.

  • Jeff Wozencraft, Senior Program Manager – WTP & TTL

    wozbiopicSports have always played an important role in Jeff’s life. Raised in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Jeff played almost every sport growing up, before concentrating on soccer and basketball. He played both at Knox College, where he graduated with degrees in Spanish and Economics in 2010. Jeff then joined the Peace Corps and served two years in Cape Verde, West Africa, working at a youth center. He enjoys facilitating youth development through sports and truly believes in its ability to help develop important life skills. Jeff manages the Work to Play and Take the Lead programs.

School-Based Program Coordinators

  • Earl Aaron, SBPC at Jenner

    earlbioBorn and raised on Chicago’s south side, Earl is a product of Chicago Public Schools himself. He joined City Year and served as a tutor, mentor, remodel, and School & Community Engagement Coordinator at Lafayette Elementary. He loves working with children because children are the future and he wants to have a positive impact on the future, so when the future is the present it will be better than the past. Earl is excited to become the SBPC at Jenner.

  • Kevin Gray, SBPC at Jahn

    Kevin is a lifelong sports fan and has played soccer since he was five years old. He was attracted to Urban Initiatives for the opportunity to work with other passionate people helping to improve Chicago communities and those living in the area. Before coming to Urban Initiatives as Program Associate last year, Kevin worked in a youth rehabilitation center outside of Kansas City and as the head coach of his former high school soccer team in Fort Scott, Kansas. Kevin is looking forward to his first year as the REC Coordinator at Jahn Elementary.

  • JP Hernandez, SBPC at Nobel & Little Village

    jprealbioJP was born in San Luis De La Paz Guanajuato Mexico, but raised on the South Side of Chicago. He is attending his second semester at Richard Daley College. JP volunteered for four years and now also works for Metropolitan Family Services working with after-school programs coaches the Metro Raptors for the Midway Youth Center. JP has worked for Marquette Elementary, Irene Hernandez middle school, Little Village Academy, and is currently the SBPC at Nobel and Little Village.

  • Ella Ralston, SBPC at Bateman

    earlbioElla graduated from Florida State University with a BA in Theatre. Her mission since graduation has been to educate a diverse pool of communities on the benefits of using creative and performing arts as a healing tool. She has had the pleasure of managing a creative arts studio for kids 0-12, and co-founding a non-profit organization that focuses on “at risk youth” of all ages. She is currently the REC Coordinator and Soccer Coach (through the Work to Play program) at Bateman Elementary.

  • Kevin Schoenfeld, SBPC at Prieto

    Kevin Schoenfeld grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and went to high school on Chicago’s east side. He graduated Illinois State University in 2014 with a BA in Political Science. It was there he developed his passion for community involvement. He spent the past year at UI as a program Associate running our Work to Play program at five west side schools. He is SUPER excited to experience his first year of recess as an SBPC at Prieto Elementary on Chicago’s Northwest side.

  • Jared Thomas, SBPC at North River

    Jared “Uncle Jerry” Thomas is a corn-fed, born and raised Hoosier. He is from South Bend, IN and received a B.A. in Art History and Fine Arts from Indiana University. Jared grew up playing baseball, but in the last several years has fallen in love with the “beautiful game.” He also enjoys watching (and usually weeping like a small child during) Notre Dame football, IU basketball, Chicago Cubs and Bears games. This is Jared’s second year with Urban Initiatives, and his first at North River Elementary. He couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to coach and impact Chicago’s youth through sports.

  • Greg Washington II, SBPC at Claremont

    Gregory A. Washington II was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. Through sports and recreation Greg was able to steer clear of the negative influences Chicago has to offer. Greg was also given the opportunity to further his education and athletic experience in college as a defensive back at Millikin University. He now owns a small business and enjoys working with kids.

Work to Play & Take the Lead Staff

  • Kaitlyn Klapperich, Program Associate

    Kaitlyn was born and raised in the very cold land of Wasilla, Alaska! She attended Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri where she double majored in Communications and Sociology and minored in English. Kaitlyn will be the Program Associate at Faraday, Lee, Marquette, Tarkington and Ward.

  • Frank Nares, Program Associate

    Frank was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. He attended Indiana State University where he majored in Sports Management. Growing up, Frank played basketball and baseball and says sports played a huge role in his life. Frank will be the Program Associate at Libby, Sherman, Beethoven, Reavis and Morill.

  • Nefeteri Okine, Program Associate

    Nefeteri is a loyal Illinois resident, having lived in Harvey, Maywood and Carbondale. She attended Southern Illinois University on a Track & Field Scholarship where she majored in Social Work. Nefeteri will be the Program Associate at Beidler, Morton, NTA, Kozminski and PECS.

  • Alex Salsky, Program Associate

    Alex was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas. She attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida where she double majored in Environmental Studies and Spanish and minored in Visual Arts. Alex will be the Program Associate at Lloyd, Otis, Lorca, Nixon and Goethe.

  • Eugene Tsipris, Program Associate

    Eugene grew up in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He attended DePaul University in Chicago where he majored in Sports and Fitness Management and claims to have soccer running through his blood. Eugene will be the Program Associate at Howe, Lawndale, McNair, Jordan and Bateman.

  • Christina Valencia, Program Associate

    Christina is a native Chicagoan and grew up an still resides in the city’s Pilsen community. She attended Northern Illinois University where she majored in History with a minor in Anthropology. Christina will be the Program Associate at Greene, Daley, Walsh, Davis and Pasteur.

Play with Potential Staff

  • Jennifer Ajuzie, REC Coordinator at Daley

    Jennifer joined Urban Initiatives in the Fall of 2015.

  • Alexia Bacon, REC Coordinator at Stowe

    Lexi received her BA in Sociology with minors in Religion and Gender Studies. After graduation she found what she believes to be her life’s work, which is to serve youth in programs that provides them with the tools to be the people they want to become. Lexi has worked with young people in after school settings, academic enrichment programs, and through wilderness therapy.   Currently she is working on her masters in Youth Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lexi is excited to become a member of the team at Stowe, and to begin building relationships with the students.

  • Hassan Chaudhry, REC Coordinator at Castellanos

    hasssanbioHassan received his BA in Psychology from Arizona State University. After graduation, Hassan joined a year-long volunteer program in 2009 which brought him to the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. During his time in Chicago, Hassan has worked for various non-profits, which has inspired his passion in sports-based youth-development. After working at Greene Elementary last year, he is excited to work at Castellanos Elementary as the REC Coordinator.

  • Jonathan Cruz, REC Coordinator at Otis

    Jonathan studied in the Philippines and got his Bachelor’s Degree in IT at AMA University and played basketball for them for 3 years, He loves sports and engaging with the kids. He has been working with kids for almost 4 years now and is excited to start a new chapter at Oits to guide and help the kids to their fullest potential. His goal is to help the organization as much as he could by applying his knowledge and skills from his previous experiences. Coach Cruz is very thrilled and happy to be part of Urban Initiatives.

  • Charles Dent, REC Coordinator at Faraday

    Charles Dent is born and raised on Chicago’s west side, and attended the University of Illinois where he was a Student Manager for the Illini Men’s Basketball team. As an all-around sports-based youth development specialist, Charles has worked for the YMCA, the Park District, and the Boys & Girls Club. Charles is excited to join the Urban Initiatives team and bring his passion for sports to his role as REC Coordinator at Faraday Elementary.

  • Kenny Foster, REC Coordinator at Shoop

    Kenny joined Urban Initiatives in the Fall of 2015.

  • Ruth Guerra, REC Coordinator at Gunsaulus

    Ruth was born and raised in Back of the Yards and attended CPS growing up. She is experienced with alternative educational engagement through arts programming, and grew up playing every kind of sport imaginable at recess. Ruth is excited to get build relationships with her school community and help kids be more aware of each other’s feelings.

  • PJ Harris, REC Coordinator at Northwest Middle School

    PJ Harris earned her BA in History and Africana Studies from Union College. There she developed a strong passion for education and youth development. After college she served with City Year where she worked as a tutor, mentor, and role model as the Behavior Coordinator at Roberto Clemente Community Academy.  This is PJ’s second year with Urban Initiatives; she enjoys working with youth and truly making a difference. From school wide health initiatives to physical activity, PJ is always working towards actively engaging the youth to build healthier lifestyles. PJ is the REC Coordinator at Northwest Middle School.

  • Vernon James, REC Coordinator at Tarkington

    A New Jersey native, James received his BFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Teaneck NJ. At FDU he was a two year captain, MVP and a NCAA regional qualifier. After graduating Vernon pursued a career in the arts working as a Graphic Designer. But after working with children at the Chicago Urban Art Retreat, James realize his true passion was within youth development.

  • Ciara Miller, REC Coordinator at Esmond

    Ciara joined Urban Initiatives in the Fall of 2015

  • Chanelle McFarland, REC Coordinator at Marsh

    Chanelle has a BA in Sports Administration from Southern Illinois University. Next to her love for coaching basketball, she has always had a passion for working with children and being a positive role model. She has worked in child-care, summer camps, and after school programs that has helped shape her passion of working with children. Chanelle looks to promote healthy lifestyles and teamwork during recess at Kozminski Community Academy.

  • Michelle Ramos, REC Coordinator at Palmer

    Michelle is originally from the Ashburn neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago and studied Therapeutic Recreation at Southern Illinois University. She had worked with several youth programs over the past 10 years. She’s played rugby for the past 5 years and currently plays with the Will County Morrigans. Last year she was a REC facilitator and Work to Play Assistant Coach with Urban Initiatives. This year she will be at Palmer Elementary as  REC Coordinator. Michelle is very excited to be a part of the UI team and look forward to making a positive impact on Chicago youth.

  • Nestor Rico, REC Coordinator at Davis

    Nestor holds a BA in Communications with a Sports Management minor from the Loyola University of Chicago, and is pursuing a master’s degree in Educational Studies with a concentration in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois Chicago. A lifelong soccer player, Nestor has extensive coaching experience in both school and club settings. Nestor is excited about the potential to help kids develop into strong adults through sports and physical activity.

Available Jobs

Play with Potential REC Facilitator

Start Date: Immediately

You will work with the school’s REC Coordinator to oversee recess for all ages, implementing Urban Initiatives’ Play with Potential recess curriculum. This curriculum emphasizes positive youth development and scaffolds students towards self-directed play. Our goal is for students to be safe, active and engaged in play that contributes to social and physical development.

  • Responsibilities

    Recess Facilitators will organize students in the play space (usually outdoors or in the gym) and offer a series of structured games as well as opportunities for self-directed play. The goal is to teach students how to play games, then supervise and support them until they are familiar enough to play in a more self-directed capacity. Facilitators will also be responsible for managing behavior during recess to ensure that all students are safe. A variety of equipment (playground balls, cones, etc) will be available, although the curriculum is adapted for minimal equipment needs. The Recess Facilitator will train with the Urban Initiatives staff in order to be prepared to serve all functions of this position.

    Other duties will include:
    Participating in periodic evaluation/report meetings with Urban Initiatives and/or school staff
    Completing time sheets and minimal administrative tasks
    Emphasizing healthy lifestyles and positive character development during recess time

  • Skills + Qualifications

    Ability to engage with students in physical activity by demonstrating, supervising and enjoying recess games
    Commitment to positive discipline; desire to keep recess safe, active and engaging for all students
    Ability to be creative and adapt play spaces as needed (for example, when recess is indoors for winter months)
    Ability to work independently and in a team environment
    Ability to work a flexible schedule
    Fingerprint Background Check (required in-house)
    CPR certification (training provided by Urban Initiatives)
    Negative TB test (required)

  • Position Type

    This is a part-time position. During the school year, the Recess Facilitator hours are approximately 10:00am-1:00pm every day school is in session. You may also attend periodic trainings and meetings with supervisors at the school or Urban Initiatives (approx. 20 hours total for the year).

  • Salary + Benefits

    This position pays $10/hr and does not include benefits.

Apply by sending your resumé and a cover letter describing why you would be a great addition to the team to april@urbaninitiatives.org.

Play with Potential REC Coordinator

Start Date: Immediately

At an elementary school site, coordinators will implement the Play with Potential recess curriculum for students in grades K-8. This curriculum emphasizes positive youth development and scaffolds students towards self-directed play. Our goal is for students to be safe, active and engaged in play that contributes to their social and physical development.

  • Responsibilities

    Recess Coordinators will organize students and additional staff in the play space (planned for outdoors or indoors) and organize a series of structured games as well as opportunities for self-directed play. Coordinators will work with school support staff to train them on games and develop effective behavior management during recess to ensure that all students are safe. A variety of equipment (playground balls, cones, etc) will be available, although the curriculum is adapted for minimal equipment needs and diverse spaces. The Recess Coordinator will complete an advanced (paid) training in order to be prepared to serve all functions of this position. Apart from facilitating recess time at a partner school, your role will expand outside of recess to address health and character in other ways that are fitting to the school. This will vary according to each school site, and will involve teaching lessons in the classroom.
    Other duties will include:
     Participating in bi-weekly meetings with other Recess Coordinators to share best practices and problem-solve
     Collaborating with school staff to implement programming
     Participating in school community activities and contributing to the Urban Initiatives blog
     Completing weekly reviews of recess, working to meet chronological milestones
     Completing evaluation tools, time sheets and as-needed administrative tasks
     Actively emphasizing positive character development and healthy lifestyles at all times

  • Skills + Qualifications

     Bachelors Degree in Education or a related field preferred
     Minimum of 18 years of age, US citizen or permanent resident status
     Desire and ability to work with families and children living in low-income, distressed neighborhoods
     Ability to engage with students in physical activity by demonstrating, supervising and
    enjoying recess games
     Sincere belief in the power of sports to change kids’ lives
     Ability to be open and flexible and meet challenges head-on
     Commitment to positive discipline; belief that physical activity is an essential part of the
    school day
     Ability to be creative and adapt play spaces as needed (for example, when recess is
    indoors for winter months)
     Ability to work independently and in a team environment
     Self-starter
     Ability to complete periodic constructive program evaluation
     Good written and oral communication skills
     Ability to work a flexible schedule
     Access to a car (recommended)
     Fingerprint Background Check (required in-house)
     CPR certification (training provided)
     Negative TB test (required)

  • Position Type

    This is a part-time, 30-hour per week position based at a single school site. Schedule is generally 9am-3pm.

  • Salary + Benefits

    Coordinators work all student attendance days. Starting salary is $22,000 and the position does not offer benefits.

Apply by sending your resumé and a cover letter describing why you would be a great addition to the team to jobs@urbaninitiatives.org

Where We Work


    • Bateman 4220 N Richmond St

    • Beethoven 25 W 47th St

    • Beidler 3151 W Walnut St

    • Castellanos 2524 S Central Park Ave

    • Claremont 2300 W 64th St

    • Daley 5024 S Wolcott Ave

    • Davis  3014 W 39th Pl

    • Esmond 1865 W Montvale Ave

    • Faraday 3250 W Monroe St

    • Goethe 2236 N Rockwell St

    • Greene 3525 S Honore Ave

    • Gunsaulus 4420 S Sacramento Ave

    • Howe 720 N Lorel Ave

    • Jahn 3149 N Wolcott Ave

    • Jenner 1119 N Cleveland Ave

    • Jordan 7414 N Wolcott Ave

    • Kozminski 936 E 54th St

    • Lawndale 3500 W Douglas Blvd

    • Lee 6448 S Tripp Ave

    • Libby 5300 S Loomis Blvd

    • Little Village 2620 S Lawndale Ave

    • Lloyd 2103 N Lamon Ave

    • Lorca 3231 N Springfield Ave

    • Lowell 3320 W Hirsch St

    • Marquette 6550 S Richmond St

    • Marsh 9822 S Exchange Ave

    • McNair 4820 W Walton St

    • Morrill 6011 S Rockwell St

    • Morton 431 N Troy St

    • Nixon 2121 N Keeler Ave

    • Nobel 4127 W Hirsch St

    • North River 4416 N Troy St

    • Northwest 5252 W Palmer St

    • National Teachers Academy 55 W Cermak Rd

    • Otis 525 N Armour St

    • Palmer 5051 N Kenneth Ave

    • Pasteur 5825 S Kostner Ave

    • Prieto 2231 North Central Ave

    • Providence Englewood Charter 6515 S Ashland Ave

    • Reavis 834 E 50th St

    • Ruggles 7831 S. Prairie Ave

    • Sherman 1000 W 52nd St

    • Stowe 3444 W Wabansia Ave

    • Tarkington 3330 W 71st St

    • Walsh 2015 S Peoria Street

    • Ward 2701 S Shields Ave

Communities Served

  • Albany Park

  • Armour Square

  • Auburn Gresham
  • Austin

  • Avondale
  • Belmont Cragin

  • Brighton Park

  • Chicago Lawn

  • East Garfield Park
  • Gage Park

  • Grand Boulevard

  • Greater Grand Crossing

  • Hermosa

  • Humboldt Park

  • Hyde Park

  • Irving Park

  • Kenwood

  • Logan Square

  • Lower West Side 
  • McKinley Park

  • Morgan Park
  • Near North Side
  • Near South Side

  • New City
  • North Center

  • North Lawndale
  • Rogers Park

  • South Deering
  • South Lawndale

  • West Elsdon

  • West Englewood

  • West Lawn

  • West Town


Board of Directors

  • Ralf Hilpuesch, Board Chair, Storck North America
  • Neil Hirshman, Board Vice Chair, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  • Shawn Broadfield, Allstate Insurance Company
  • Chris Campbell, C.B. Campbell & Co.
  • Pete Cherecwich, Northern Trust
  • Bill Considine, Considine Financial
  • Patrick Croke, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Thomas Dammrich, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
  • Jim Dower, Urban Initiatives
  • Joni Duncan, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Connie Falcone, Chicago Cubs
  • Kemmons Feldman, BMO Capital Markets
  • ME Girgenti, Civic Leader
  • Adam Hitchcock, Guggenheim Partners
  • David Mahoney, CBRE
  • Michael McGrew, Constellation Brands
  • Richard S. Parisi, Silver Point Capital
  • Ron Redd, BMO Capital Markets
  • Katy Reichert, Civic Leader
  • Randy Rivera, BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc.
  • Ben Rodman, Raymond James Financial, Inc.
  • Jimmy Samartzis, United Airlines
  • Karen Schweickart, Citadel LLC
  • Stacy Stutz, North Highland
  • Joe Taets, Archer Daniels Midland Company

Junior Board

The Urban Initiatives Junior Board is a group of young professionals dedicated to raising awareness about and funds to support Urban Initiatives.

Executive Committee

    • Annie Couyoumjian, President
    • Paul Damato, Vice President
  • Jason Batliner, Volunteering
  • Ashley Dobbins, Events
  • Greg Friend, Fundraising
  • Young Kwak, Fundraising
  • James Hitch, Volunteering
  • Sarah Lewis, Awareness
  • Annie Luecke, Events
  • Derek Skoog, Awareness
  • Ariella Varley, Awareness
  • Catie Wilber, Volunteering
  • Jay Wilson, Fundraising


  • Brad Archibald
  • Gene Barrett
  • Chelsea Barry
  • Jessica Bechtel
  • Kevin Berliner
  • Liz Bell
  • Ben Blankenship
  • Sarah Bonk
  • Maegan Boucher
  • Isabel Brown
  • Bill Buhr
  • Reggie Bynum
  • Shreya Canakapalli
  • Becca Candler
  • Nicholette Cameron
  • Mike Carlson
  • Jarrod Carter
  • Annika Clutch
  • Tori Conway
  • Sean Cook
  • Ellen Dammrich
  • Matt Dammrich
  • Shaun Deliberato
  • Victor Diaz
  • Jillian Duffy
  • Brian Flanagan
  • Rachel Flanagan
  • Brian Fox
  • Catherine Fox
  • Christopher Fry
  • Mauro Fuzetti
  • Katie Grass
  • Jeremy Guterl
  • Noor Hasan
  • Steven Herrmann
  • Irene Hickey
  • Ella Himmelrich
  • Sam Hong
  • Oliver Kupe
  • John Jefferson
  • Brad Jensen
  • Hannah Jones
  • Anthony Knierim
  • Jeff Larentowicz
  • Andreas Laxgang
  • Maggie Lee
  • Christie Maliyackel
  • Cale Mannesto
  • Shayan Masoudpour
  • Brian Massimino
  • Nidhin Mattappally
  • David Mielcarek
  • Ronald Milsap
  • Lauren Monaghan
  • Zack Mulhall
  • Heather Nadeau
  • Avi Nagaraja
  • Jake Nast
  • Brandon Nolde
  • Heather Nooks
  • Maria Okeke
  • Matthew Otto
  • Mike Perconte
  • Alejandra Piers-Torres
  • Brian Plotkin
  • Patrick Quay
  • Brian Quirke
  • Patrick Quirke
  • A.J. Riddell
  • C.C. Ryan
  • Simon Saddleton
  • Noha Salah
  • Shereen Sater
  • Kate Schnake
  • Courtney Schultz
  • Rusty Scott
  • Kyle Smith
  • Eric Sullivan
  • Sam Sustarich
  • Martin Syvertsen
  • Dan Thomann
  • Michael Videira
  • Jon Wagner
  • Ronnie Westmoreland
  • David Whitfield
  • Scott Wozencraft
  • Cassie Yarbrough
  • Patrick Yoon
  • Herbert Yu

Student Board

  • Allyce Armstrong Loyola
  • Nathan Barry Francis Parker
  • Bella Broccolo Loyola
  • Cross Daffada Loyola
  • Jack Daffada Loyola
  • Annabel Doerr Walter Payton College Prep
  • Anjan Ghosh Northside College Prep
  • Nikki Guttadauro Francis Parker
  • Anna Hirshman Glenbrook North
  • Georgia Hurst New Trier
  • Kasey Kozak Lab School
  • Cari Lieberman Francis Parker
  • Ben Lissner Francis Parker
  • Steph Lyman Loyola
  • Michael Neff Francis Parker
  • Elizabeth Nichols Loyola
  • Jack Nichols Loyola
  • Rosenthal Paris Francis Parker
  • Richard Pigott New Trier
  • Kelly Reichert Loyola
  • Will Reichert Loyola
  • Charlie Rice New Trier
  • Sam Roggekamp New Trier
  • Will Silberg Francis Parker
  • Charlie Thesing New Trier
  • Allison Thuet Loyola
  • Noah Wolff Francis Parker


Champion Partners

  • The Crown Family
  • Stuart Family Foundation
  • Solomon Barnett
  • Alison & Robin Winslow
  • Northwestern University
  • The Orlebeke Foundation
  • The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation
  • The Helen Brach Foundation
  • Chris Campbell 
  • Bewo Foundation
  • The Sun Times Foundation, a Fund of The Chicago Community Foundation


  • Paul and Nancy Armstrong
  • Lisa & Dan Barry
  • Richard Batliner
  • Ellenna Berger
  • Bob Bernstein
  • Mary & Brad Bissell
  • Pamela Bless
  • Jim and Sue Blomberg
  • Michael Boyce
  • John & Kim Braeseke
  • David and Mary Madeleine Brett
  • Brittany and Eben Britton
  • Marc Brown
  • Kim & Nick Calamos
  • Andrew Campbell
  • Doug Carlson
  • Robert Chapman
  • Cindy & Peter Chelovich
  • Chris Cole
  • Bill & Cheryl Considine
  • James & Rita Crimmins
  • Laine & Martin Cobb
  • Michael Croke
  • Patrick Croke
  • Thom and Carol Dammrich
  • TJ Dammrich
  • Kittie & Bill Devers
  • Beth Dickstein and Brad Slavin
  • Peter & Lisa Doerr
  • Richard & Ellen Douglas
  • Jim & Susan Dower
  • Dayle Duchossois
  • Joni Duncan
  • Barry and Kathleen Dunn
  • Rochelle Edens
  • Dave Edington
  • Connie & Charlie Falcone
  • Julie & David Farina
  • Lauren & Kemmons Feldman
  • Timothy Flood
  • John and Joanne Fox
  • Alice & Jim Forrest
  • Helen & Kipp Friedli
  • Joshua Friess
  • Patrick & Anne Gallagher
  • Andrew and Katie Geant
  • General Iron Industries Charitable Foundation
  • Dan and Deb Gill
  • Christopher & ME Girgenti
  • Grainger
  • Grippo & Elden
  • Dalton Hastings
  • Daniel Hastings
  • Christina & Richard Heidrich
  • Maike & David Height
  • Helmer’s Helpers
  • Mair & Rich Hill
  • Jutta & Ralf Hilpuesch
  • Beth & Neil Hirshman
  • Adam Hitchcock
  • Tony and Cammie Hoban
  • Adam and Denise Hoeflich
  • Stephanie Hoit
  • Nancy & David Hyser
  • Bob and Phyllis Jaffee
  • Sue & Bill Johnson
  • Adrianne & Paul Johnson
  • Darrin and Michelle Jolas
  • Bryan and Debbie Keyt
  • 0John Koutoupis
  • Michael and Merrillee LePore
  • Daniel and Allyson Lewis
  • Jeanne and Michael Licata
  • LTS Chicago
  • Arjen Mackaay
  • Larry and Mary Mages
  • Dave & Rachel Mahoney
  • Jonathan Martinson
  • David and Leslie McGranahan
  • Michael and Sheila McGrew
  • McMaster-Carr Supply Company
  • Mary Dower & Eric Miller
  • Matthew and Sheila Miller
  • Sylvia & Constantine Mitsopoulos
  • Charles Mulaney
  • Jeannette Mullins
  • Dan Nudelman
  • Joe O’Connor
  • Matthew Otto and Marissa Strassel
  • Richard Parisi
  • Batra Paritosh
  • Bruce Pfaff
  • Kathy Pick
  • James & Heather Pigott
  • Sheila & John Pigott
  • Tom & Susan Pigott
  • Play for Life International
  • Mary & Barry Quirke
  • Joe and Marianne Quoyeser
  • Thomas Raines
  • Susan Rancourt
  • Geri & Ron Redd
  • Katy & Kurt Reichert
  • Laura & Michael Rice
  • Robertson-Ryan & Associates
  • Mimi & Ben Rodman
  • Jonathan and Piper Rothschild
  • Steven Roy
  • Gary and Maureen Sagui
  • Jimmy and Elizabeth Samartzis
  • Karen Schweickart
  • Darlene Vorachek & Clifford Shapiro
  • Roy Sharda
  • Michaela Sheehan
  • Brooke Skinner and Laura Ricketts
  • Gary and Nancy Strassel
  • Joseph Stratico
  • Rob and Stacy Stutz
  • Jonathan Taylor
  • The Boston Consulting Group, Inc
  • Joe and Margaret Tilson
  • Anand and Shivani Twells
  • Michael and Audrey Weishuhn
  • Wilmette Wings Soccer Club
  • William and Denise Wozencraft

Soccer Ball Sponsors

Benefactor Sponsor

Allstate Insurance Company

Anniversary Sponsors

  • Attorney’s Title Guaranty Fund
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • Boeing
  • Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
  • The Hirshman Family
  • IMC Financial Markets
  • Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
  • National Student Leadership Conference
  • The QBE Foundation
  • Sprint
  • Storck
  • Themis Bar Review
  • United Airlines

Goal Sponsors

  • Advocate Children’s Hospital
  • Chicago Fire & Chicago Fire Foundation
  • Direct Food Service
  • Ellen & Richard Douglas
  • ME & Chris Girgenti
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Leslie & David McGranahan
  • North Highland
  • The Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation
  • J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
  • Katy & Kurt Reichert

Trophy Sponsors

  • AbelsonTaylor
  • Bansley & Kiener
  • Katherine & John Buehler
  • Exelon
  • Stacy & Rob Stutz

In-Kind Sponsors

  • Beam Suntory
  • Chicago Indoor Sports
  • DJ Freddy Phatz
  • Goose Island
  • InnerWorkings
  • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
  • Optimus
  • Sound Investment

Work to Play Cup Sponsors

Team Sponsors

  • Chris Campbell
  • Chubb Insurance
  • Dayle Duchossois
  • Douthit Family
  • Eerie Insurance
  • Feldman Family
  • Fortier Family
  • Girgenti Family
  • Glew Family
  • Grainger
  • Group One
  • Harper Families
  • Hearn Family
  • Hirshman Family
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • KPMG
  • Loeb & Loeb
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • McGranahan Family
  • Performance Trust
  • Princetonians of Chicago
  • Sue Rancourt and Andrew Campbell
  • Redd Family
  • Rodman Family
  • Skender Foundation
  • Sterling Bay
  • Storck USA
  • Student Board
  • Jonathan Taylor
  • Woodman Cison & Associates

In Kind Sponsors

  • Aramark
  • C & D Distributors
  • Chicago Fire
  • Chicago Park District
  • Farm Team
  • InnerWorkings
  • Quaker

Corporate Challenge Cup Sponsors

Team Sponsors

  • 1871
  • AbelsonTaylor
  • Allstate Insurance
  • CBRE
  • Citadel
  • Groupon
  • GrubHub
  • JLL
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • KPMG
  • Kraft
  • Macquarie Bank
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Northern Trust
  • Spencer Stuart
  • Storck USA

In Kind Sponsors

  • Chicago Park District
  • Inner Workings
  • Limelight
  • Revolution Brewing

Financial Archive


Urban Initiatives is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating in the state of Illinois. 93% of expenses directly support our programs.

For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2014, Urban Initiatives had:

  • Total income: $1,926,881
  • Total program expenses: $1,607,501
  • Total fund raising expenses: $69,915
  • Total administrative expenses: $155,843
  • End of year net assets: $547,998