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: 50.48%
  • Black/African American: 44.80%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.77%
  • White & Other: 3.95%


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


Urban Initiatives works in 42 Chicago Public Schools throughout the city.

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Executive + Management Team

  • Jim Dower, Co-Founder & Executive Director

    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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Erica Heidrich, Operations Manager

    erica staff photoErica earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2008, and completed a M.A. in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Erica played all sorts of sports growing up, and earned all-state honors in the 100m backstroke three years in a row. Erica has always loved kids, and finds that her administrative skills are the best way to support them. Erica manages human resources.

  • Lauren Johnson, Development & Program Evaluation Manager

    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, 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.

  • Cris Martinez, Communications & Program Manager – WTP

    cris staff photoCris earned a B.A. in Journalism from Roosevelt University in 2009, and brings that academic experience to his writing for Urban Initiatives’ blog. After growing up in Little Village playing baseball, football, and basketball, Cris sees the Work to Play Program as a way for kids from difficult neighborhoods to experience the normalcy of an active and healthy childhood. Cris manages communications and Work to Play programming.

  • 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.

  • Andy Neilsen, Director of Training and 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.

  • 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.

  • Jeff Wozencraft, 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.

  • Ana Acosta, Administration Coordinator

    anabio Ana was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela until the age of nine. Living in those countries allowed her to experience more personally the adverse effects that inequality and poverty can have on youths’ educational, personal, and social development – leading her to choose a career in social change. Ana graduated summa cum laude from the Florida State University with a B.S in Economics and a minor in Political Science. Ana coordinates operational systems, finance, and communications.

Work to Play Staff

  • Patty Alfaro, Senior Program Associate

    pattybioGrowing up in Southeast Los Angeles, Patty experienced the lack of opportunities and educational inequalities that are prevalent in predominately African American and Latina/o urban communities. She attended UCLA and studied Chicana/o Studies and Education. After running her first marathon last year, she saw the positive impact that a healthy lifestyle can have, promote this idea among the children of Chicago. Patty is the Program Associate at Daley, Greene, NTA, Pasteur, and Walsh.

  • Helena Correa, Program Associate

    helenabioHelena was born in Brazil and lived there until she was 12 years old, so loving soccer is just in her blood! She moved to Indiana and later went to college at Indiana University-Bloomington where she received her B.A. in Political Science. She has always loved working with kids and got the chance to do so when she traveled to My Tho, Vietnam with Loving House Project in 2009 to teach English to 10 kids living in the Hoa Hung Orphanage. Helena is the Program Associate at Goethe, Lloyd, Nixon, Nobel, and Otis.

  • Bryant Craft, Program Associate

    bryantbioBryant grew up in Worcester, MA and was a soccer fiend from birth. He went on to play at UMass, where he majored in Sociology and received All Region honors from the NSCAA during his junior year. More than just a star on the field, Bryant believes in the ability of sports to change kids’ lives, and has coached players from ages 6 to 22. Bryant is the the Program Associate at Marquette, PECS, Reavis,Tarkington, and Ward, and probably has the best vertical leap at Urban Initiatives.

  • Brandon Reed, Program Associate

    brandonbioA lifelong enthusiast of sports and music, Brandon enjoys combining his passion for creative endeavors with athletics and staying fit. He earned a B.S. in Recreation, Sport, & Tourism from the University of Illinois in 2010. Growing up in Englewood on Chicago’s South Side, Brandon enjoys connecting with under-privileged youth to improve the quality of life in these communities. He previously worked for the “Becoming A Man” program as a sports mentor at Foreman High. Brandon is the Program Associate at Attucks, Fulton, Kozminski, Libby, and Ward.

  • Kevin Schoenfeld, Program Associate

    kjackbioKevin grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and attended high school on Chicago’s southeast side. He graduated in May from Illinois State University with a B.A. in Political Science and has spent time in Spain studying abroad where he fell in love with “futbol.” Kevin sees working with Urban Initiatives as a way to promote the importance of healthy and active lives to the children of Chicago. Kevin is the Program Associate at Howe, Lawndale, McNair, and Morton.

Play with Potential Staff

  • Earl Aaron, REC Coordinator at Barton

    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 for his second year as a REC Coordinator at Barton Elementary, his alma mater.

  • Shy Blunt, REC Coordinator at Lawndale

    shy with glasses picBorn on the West Side of Chicago and raised in a time of hip-hop, grunge and apartheid, Shy Blunt was born to become one of two things: an entertainer or a humanitarian (let’s all be grateful that she chose to the latter). After graduating with her Bachelors, Shy went on to work with and advocate for at-risk youth through various projects in the areas of sports and the arts. On her downtime, Shy loves hanging out with her daughter, Zoe, read, write, and meditate on good things to come. Shy is the REC Coordinator at Lawndale Elementary.

  • 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.

  • Katie Couyoumjian, REC Coordinator at Palmer

    katiecbioKatie has her BA in Educational Studies with a Psychology minor from Denison University, where she played four years of varsity Field Hockey. Her love of working with kids and playing recess games brought her to Urban Initiatives as a REC coordinator. Katie is a monster at Four Square, and plans on teaching kids a thing or two on the court. She cannot wait to begin her work at John Palmer Elementary school.

  • Madeline Cummings, School-Based Program Coordinator at Bateman

    Madeline was born and raised in Kansas City and recently graduated from the University of Missouri with her Bachelors in Health Science. She has played a number of sports throughout her life, but recently has been involved in Ultimate Frisbee and cycling. She is excited for her turn to coach and is devoted to the physical and mental development of youth through teamwork and sports. She is the School Based Program Coordinator to be at Newton Bateman Elementary.

  • Amanda Diaz, School-Based Program Coordinator at Prieto

    amandabioAmanda was born and raised in Chicago’s Logan Square and attended Whitney Young High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation with an emphasis in Therapeutic in 2013 from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Amanda is devoted to providing youth with recreation experiences in order to improve the quality of life and increase physical activity. Her hobbies include playing Rugby with the NorthShore Chicago Women’s Rugby Team and Game of Thrones. Amanda is the REC Coordinator at Prieto Math & Science.

  • Gabriel Diaz, REC Coordinator at Pasteur

    diazbioGabe is a Chicago-raised basketball enthusiast and all-around sports fan. He grew up playing at Kennedy High School and now coaches youth teams in Chicago Park District leagues. Gabe is pursuing a degree in Kinesiology, and is interested in all things related to kids and sports. Gabe is very excited to work with Urban Initiatives as a REC Coordinator at Louis Pasteur Elementary, as well as to coach their flag football and basketball teams.

  • Kenny Foster, REC Coordinator at Lara

     photo ScreenShot2015-01-07at85834AM_zps4d48eed4.pngBeing born and raised on the Southside of Chicago and being a product of the CPS system, Kenny knows a thing or two about what it likes to be underserved, therefore being a pretty good fit for Urban Initiatives to help serve the underserved communities and their schools. Kenny obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at Monmouth College in Monmouth, IL, where he also was a two year varsity basketball player. Always wanting to give back and help the youth, Kenny is dedicated in providing them with support and leadership in living a healthier and more active lifestyle while having fun doing so.

  • Pierre Garner, REC Coordinator at Marquette

    pierreBorn and raised on Chicago’s south side, Pierre is a product of the Chicago Public School system himself. After high school, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received his BS in Sports Management. While in college, Pierre earned the honor of completing an internship with the NFL’s New York Jets. He enjoys working with children because they are our future and we must help shape the future efficiently and effectively. Pierre is one of the new additions to Urban Initiatives as he will serve as REC Coordinator at Marquette School of Excellence.

  • Kevin Gray, School-Based Program Coordinator at Jahn

    kevinbioKevin 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.

  • PJ Harris, REC Coordinator at NTA

    pjbiorealPJ Harris earned her BA in History and Africana Studies from Union College where she developed a 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. She looks forward to actively engaging the youth to build healthier lifestyles. PJ is the REC Coordinator at National Teachers Academy (NTA).

  • JP Hernandez, REC Coordinator at Nobel

    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 REC Coordinator at Alfred Nobel Elementary.

  • LaSharon Jones, REC Coordinator at Oglesby

    LaSharon received her Bachelors degree from Chicago State University and is currently working on her masters in Education. She loves to play sports, especially basketball. Her favorite basketball players are Candace Parker, Larry Bird, and Derrick Rose. She is an advocate for youth and understands that implementing quality programming during recess will help youth cognitively, physically, and emotionally. She is excited about being a part of the team is looking forward to a successful and fun school year.

  • Charles Kyle, School-Based Program Coordinator at Claremont

    charlesbioCharles is a native Chicagoan and CPS alumnus. His desire to give back to youth stems from him growing up in Chicago and understanding the importance of organizations like Urban Initiatives, and the impact they have on the success of young people from underserved communities. Having experience working in both public and parochial schools, Charles has understanding of what youth development looks like from all perspectives and wants to bring that experience to Urban Initiatives. Charles is the REC Coordinator at Claremont Academy.

  • Paul Marcinkowsi, School-Based Program Coordinator at Gunsaulus

    paulbioPaul received his BA in American Studies from George Washington University. After finishing college, he spent a year teaching English to elementary school students on the island of Chiloe, off the coast of Chile. Paul is a recess original, having assisted recess at six different schools, and is looking forward to his second year as the REC coordinator at Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy.

  • Eddie McClendon, REC Coordinator at Otis

    eddiebioEddie has his B.A in Communications/Sports Journalism from Olivet College, where he played football for 2 years. His love for working with youth has brought him to Urban Initiatives as a REC Coordinator at Otis Elementary School. Eddie has extensive coaching and mentoring skills, uplifting students while challenging them positively is his bread and butter. He plans on becoming a certified personal trainer while applying his skills and knowledge at recess! Eddie is very excited to begin his new journey working with youth and Urban Initiatives.

  • Chanelle McFarland, REC Coordinator at Kozminski

    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.

  • Nick Medina, REC Coordinator at Tarkington

    nickpic-thumb-150x148-1451Nick is the REC Coordinator at Tarkington School of Excellence now in his third year of work with Urban Initiatives. An avid soccer player and coach, Nick led the Westinghouse boys and girls teams through their first ever seasons two years ago. After a break to complete his BA at Calumet College of St. Joseph, Nick is back at coaching, this time with Phoenix Military Academy’s soccer team. A native of Chicago, Nick loves the opportunity get build relationships with kids through their shared of games of all kinds.

  • Rolando Perez, REC Coordinator at Brighton Park

    Rolando is pursuing a degree in Health and Wellness and loves working with kids. Having worked with kids in a variety of settings and as a wellness consultant, Rolando is looking forward to offering multiple ways to create a healthy, active life for the kids of Chicago. Rolando is the REC Coordinator at Brighton Park, and is excited to expand the options of physical activity options to the kids there.

  • Rose Phinick, REC Coordinator at Daley

    rosebioRose holds a BA in Secondary English Education from DePaul University and a Type 09 certification in English. She comes to Urban Initiatives with a background in high school education and summer camp directing, a love for games and playing outside, and tons of creative energy. She is excited to work with (now in her third year) Richard J. Daley Academy staff and students to make recess the best it can be and provide a space for positive emotional and social development during the school day.

  • Nestor Rico, REC Coordinator at Saucedo

    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

Development Director

Start Date: May 15

Strategic leader. Relationship builder. Communicator. This position is responsible for strategic direction, oversight, and implementation of development plan to support $2.7M annual budget with a specific emphasis on major gifts and integrated corporate partnerships. This person will support our ability to execute our strategic growth plan. This position will require the individual to work directly with the senior leadership team and manage a direct report; S/he will also train and lead other staff or volunteers to support fundraising efforts.

  • Responsibilities

    • A minimum of five years in fundraising
    • High energy level with a passion for Urban Initiatives’ mission and vision
    • Proven track record of success in developing and maintaining relationships with donors and prospects
    • Excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills
    • Strong project management skills; ability to prioritize and meet deadlines
    • Desire to work collaboratively with the Urban Initiatives team

  • Skills + Qualifications

    • A minimum of five years in fundraising
    • High energy level with a passion for Urban Initiatives’ mission and vision
    • Proven track record of success in developing and maintaining relationships with donors and prospects
    • Excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills
    • Strong project management skills; ability to prioritize and meet deadlines
    • Desire to work collaboratively with the Urban Initiatives team

  • Position Type

    This is a full time position.

  • Salary + Benefits

    Competitive compensation package including salary, health, life, 401K and paid-time-off 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 by Friday April 24.

Program Evaluation and Volunteer Manager

Start Date: July 15

This individual will dedicate his/her time to managing Urban Initiatives’ process evaluations and volunteers for our three sports-based youth development programs. This position will support effective and efficient program implementation by gathering, managing, and analyzing data. In order to do this effectively, this person will engage regularly with program management and implementation staff—both in the office and in the field—to review and learn from implementation information. This data will be collected both through in-field data collection and staff reporting processes. This position will also support the engagement of volunteers through the management of volunteer administration, independent program volunteers, volunteer group events, the Urban Initiatives Student Board, and the Junior Board Volunteer Committee.

  • Responsibilities

    • Visit school sites to observe program sessions, collect observational data, and assist program staff with reporting
    • Administer, collect, and enter surveys
    • Manage and maintain program participant database
    • Conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses
    • Develop quarterly program performance reports based on analyses of implementation data
    • Assist in the design and execution of program outcome evaluations, including literature reviews, surveys, focus groups, and analysis
    • Respond to volunteer inquiries and work with the program team to determine program placement
    • Recruit and coordinate individual as well as group volunteers
    • Manage volunteer recruitment and engagement for Urban Initiatives events
    • Conduct volunteer orientation sessions on-site

  • Skills + Qualifications

    • Bachelor’s degree required; degree in the social, political, or health sciences preferred
    • At least two years experience with program evaluation preferred
    • High energy level with a passion for Urban Initiatives’ mission and vision
    • High personal motivation, self-management, and detail-orientation; ability to take responsibility in meeting deadlines and making progress without direct supervision
    • Articulate and tactful communications skills, both written and verbal
    • Strong project management skills; ability to prioritize and meet deadlines
    • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret professional journals, technical specifications, and project management documentation
    • Willingness to collaborate with other members of a team
    • Capacity and will to learn new software and work routines quickly
    • Willingness to work both in the field as well as in the office regularly; requires local travel
    • Strong existing computer skills with Microsoft Office (especially Excel) and general Internet and electronic communications
    • Past experience working in nonprofit organizations and with diverse populations desirable
    • Knowledge of SPSS preferred

  • Position Type

    This is a full-time position.

  • Salary + Benefits

    Competitive compensation package including salary, health, life, 401K and paid-time-off 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 by Friday, May 1.

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 jobs@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)
    About Urban Initiatives:
    Please look at our

  • 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


    • Attucks 5055 S State St

    • Barton 7650 S Wolcott Ave

    • Bateman 4220 N Richmond St

    • Beidler 3151 W Walnut St

    • Brighton Park 3825 S Washtenaw Ave

    • Castellanos 2524 S Central Park Ave

    • Claremont 2300 W 64th St

    • Daley 5024 S Wolcott 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

    • Lara 4619 S Wolcott Ave
    • 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
    • Marquette 6550 S Richmond St

    • McNair 4820 W Walton St

    • Morton 431 N Troy St

    • Nixon 2121 N Keeler Ave

    • Nobel 4127 W Hirsch St

    • National Teachers Academy 55 W Cermak Rd

    • Oglesby 7646 S Green St

    • 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

    • Saucedo 2850 W 24th Blvd

    • Sherman 1000 W 52nd St

    • 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
  • Grand Boulevard

  • Hermosa

  • Humboldt Park

  • Hyde Park

  • Irving Park

  • Kenwood

  • Logan Square

  • Lower West Side 
  • McKinley Park

  • Near North Side
  • Near South Side

  • New City
  • North Center

  • North Lawndale
  • Rogers Park

  • South Lawndale

  • West Elsdon

  • West Englewood

  • West Lawn

  • West Town


Board of Directors

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

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
  • Marley Bellwood, Vice President/Events
  • Paul Damato, Awareness
  • Ashley Dobbins, Events
  • Greg Friend, Fundraising
  • Young Kwak, Fundraising
  • James Hitch, Volunteering
  • Daniel Thomann, Awareness
  • Genna Waldman, Volunteering


  • George Aliaga
  • Chelsea Barry
  • Jason Batliner
  • Kevin Berliner
  • Jessica Bechtel
  • Liz Bell
  • Dana Birch
  • Sarah Bonk
  • Talia Bucci
  • Bill Buhr
  • Shreya Canakapalli
  • Mike Carlson
  • Jarrod Carter
  • Kate Catherall
  • Annika Clutch
  • Tori Conway
  • Ellen Dammrich
  • Matt Dammrich
  • Shaun Deliberato
  • Jillian Duffy
  • Miguel Fernandez
  • Brian Fox
  • Catherine Fox
  • Emily Franchi
  • Christopher Fry
  • Mauro Fuzetti
  • Jen Gamber
  • Jose Garcia
  • Andrew Gensch
  • Heather Grant
  • Maggie Guidotti
  • Jeremy Guterl
  • Amy Heuberger
  • Irene Hickey
  • Ella Himmelrich
  • Sam Hong
  • Joanna Hornbeck
  • Hannah Jones
  • Joseph Katelman
  • Peter Kuzma
  • Jeff Larentowicz
  • Andreas Laxgang
  • Kyle Lee
  • Dan Lewis
  • Sarah Lewis
  • Annie Luecke
  • Christie Maliyackel
  • Shayan Masoudpour
  • Brian Massimino
  • Nidhin Mattappally
  • Colin McCormack
  • Ronald Milsap
  • Brandon Mitchel
  • Zack Mulhall
  • Avi Naagaraja
  • Heather Nadeau
  • Jake Nast
  • Brandon Nolde
  • Heather Nooks
  • Maria Okeke
  • David Orozco
  • Matthew Otto
  • Taylor Parsigian
  • Mike Perconte
  • Alejandra Piers-Torres
  • Brian Plotkin
  • Patrick Quay
  • Brian Quirke
  • Patrick Quirke
  • A.J. Riddell
  • Kyle Rose
  • Lauren Ruddick
  • C.C. Ryan
  • Simon Saddleton
  • Noha Salah
  • David Schumacher
  • Rusty Scott
  • Derek Skoog
  • Eric Sullivan
  • Sam Sustarich
  • Martin Syvertsen
  • Steven Torrez
  • Ronnie Westmoreland
  • Jared White
  • David Whitfield
  • Caitlyn Wilber
  • Jason Wilson
  • Evan Wright
  • Scott Wozencraft

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 Sponsors

  • The Crown Family
  • Stuart Family Foundation
  • Solomon Barnett
  • Alison & Robin Winslow
  • Northwestern University
  • The Orelebeke Foundation
  • The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation
  • The Helen Brach Foundation
  • Chris Campbell 
  • Skender Foundation
  • Bewo Foundation


  • Paul and Nancy Armstrong
  • Lisa & Dan Barry
  • William Barry
  • Richard Batliner
  • Ellenna Berger
  • Nicole & Dave Berger
  • Peter Berger
  • Bob Bernstein
  • Mary & Brad Bissell
  • Pamela Bless
  • Michael Boyce
  • John & Kim Braeseke
  • David and Mary Madeleine Brett
  • Brittany and Eben Britton
  • Marc Brown
  • Kim & Nick Calamos
  • Doug Carlson
  • Robert Chapman
  • Cindy & Peter Chelovich
  • Christ Church
  • Laine & Martin Cobb
  • Katherine & Thomas Coleman
  • Cheryl & Bill Considine
  • Laura Coy
  • James & Rita Crimmins
  • Michael Croke
  • Patrick Croke
  • Thom and Carol Dammrich
  • TJ Dammrich
  • Kittie & Bill Devers
  • Beth Dickstein and Brad Slavin
  • Rick and Karen Duffy
  • Joni Duncan
  • Barry and Kathleen Dunn
  • Edelman
  • Rochelle Edens
  • Dave Edington
  • Gary Elden
  • 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
  • Ed Giangiorgi
  • Dan and Deb Gill
  • Linda & Chuck Glew
  • Morgan Hartman
  • Dalton Hastings
  • Daniel Hastings
  • Christina & Richard Heidrich
  • 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
  • ITW
  • Bob and Phyllis Jaffee
  • Sue & Bill Johnson
  • Adrianne & Paul Johnson
  • Darrin and Michelle Jolas
  • Bryan and Debbie Keyt
  • Andrew Killion
  • 0John Koutoupis
  • Michael and Merrillee LePore
  • Daniel and Allyson Lewis
  • Jeanne and Michael Licata
  • LTS Chicago
  • Arjen Mackaay
  • Larry and Mary Mages
  • David and Leslie McGranahan
  • Marie Murphy School
  • Michael and Sheila McGrew
  • McMaster-Carr Supply Company
  • Mary Dower & Eric Miller
  • Matthew and Sheila Miller
  • Sylvia & Constantine Mitsopoulos
  • Betsy & Greg Moerschel
  • Charles Mulaney
  • Edward Mulé
  • Dan Nudelman
  • Joe O’Connor
  • Steve O’dell
  • Matthew Otto and Marissa Strassel
  • Richard Parisi
  • Batra Paritosh
  • Bruce Pfaff
  • Kathy Pick
  • James and Heather Pigott
  • Sheila and John Pigott
  • Camp Out For Kids
  • Quaker Foods & Snacks
  • Mary & Barry Quirke
  • Joe and Marianne Quoyeser
  • Thomas Raines
  • 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
  • Salesforce Foundation
  • Jimmy and Elizabeth Samartzis
  • Karen Schweickart
  • Darlene Vorachek & Clifford Shapiro
  • Michaela Sheehan
  • Brooke Skinner and Laura Ricketts
  • Mitchell Skinner
  • Gary and Nancy Strassel
  • Joseph Stratico
  • Rob and Stacy Stutz
  • The Boston Consulting Group, Inc
  • The Lawlor Foundation
  • The Melville Foundation
  • Joe and Margaret Tilson
  • Anand and Shivani Twells
  • Michael and Audrey Weishuhn
  • Wilmette Wings Soccer Club
  • William and Denise Wozencraft

Soccer Ball Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors

Goal Sponsors

  • Adams Street Partners, LLC
  • Angel’s Envy
  • Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation
  • Ariel Investments
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • Boeing
  • CBRE
  • Chris Campbell
  • Chapman Spingola, LLP
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Chicago Fire & Chicago Fire Foundation
  • Cindy & Peter Chelovich
  • Constellation Brands
  • Ellen & Richard Douglas
  • IMC Financial Markets
  • J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
  • Quaker
  • Jefferies
  • Katy & Kurt Reichert
  • Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
  • Leslie & David McGranahan
  • Lisa & Peter Doerr
  • ME & Chris Girgenti
  • Mike Hill
  • Nancy & Paul Armstrong
  • National Student Leadership Conference
  • Novack & Macey, LLP
  • Sheehan, Dammrich, & Fox Families
  • Silver Point Capital
  • Solomon Barnett
  • Sue & Bill Johnson
  • Susan & Jim Dower
  • Themis Bar Review
  • United
  • Winston & Strawn, LLP
  • Wozencraft Family

Trophy Sponsors

  • Advocate Children’s Hospital
  • Bansley & Kiener, LLP
  • Chris & Steve Cole
  • Connie & Charlie Falcone
  • Devers Group
  • Edward A. Anderson Company
  • Exelon
  • Flood Brothers Disposal/Recycling Services
  • Katherine & John Buehler
  • Katie & Kurt Reichert
  • Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP
  • Paine Family Foundation
  • Robin & Tony Armour
  • Stacy & Rob Stutz
  • Telos Group
  • William Blair

In Kind Sponsors

  • Beam Global Spirits & Wine
  • Constellation Brands
  • DJ Freddy Phatz
  • Events.org
  • Goose Island
  • InnerWorkings
  • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
  • Optimus
  • Revel
  • Sound Investment
  • Storck USA, L.P.
  • Print Media Sponsor: Splash

Work to Play Cup Sponsors

Team Sponsors

  • AccessAlpha Worldwide, LLC
  • Edward A. Anderson Company
  • Attorneys’ Title Guaranty
  • Blomberg Family
  • DLA Piper
  • Dayle Duchossois & Edward Fortino
  • Glew Family
  • Harper Families
  • Hyde Park Families
  • Hirshman Family
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Kitchen Cabinet Distributors
  • Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
  • LGC Class of 2014
  • Loeb & Loeb, LLP
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Paine Family Foundation
  • The Jarrett Payton Foundation
  • Julie & William Penn
  • Pigott Family
  • Reichert Family
  • Ricketts Family
  • Sidley Austin, LLP
  • Silver Point Capital
  • Storck, USA
  • U.S. Equities Realty, LLC
  • Urban Initiatives 2014 Student Board
  • William Blair

In Kind Sponsors

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

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