Our mission is

to empower Chicago’s youth to become community leaders through academic success, healthy living, and social-emotional learning.

We build on the inherent power of sports and teamwork to unify diverse stakeholders and strengthen communities.

Our Participants:

  • Hispanic/Latino: 53%
  • Black/African American: 38%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 3%
  • White & Other: 6%


83% of UI participants come from families who qualify as low income


Urban Initiatives works in 57 Chicago Public Schools throughout the city.

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

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Executive & Management Team

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

    Jim 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 graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science and has a Kellogg Executive Scholar Certificate in Nonprofit Management. 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 at Urban Initiatives as an Assistant Coach, 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.

  • April Lillstrom, Program Partnerships Director

    April 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 catalyzes program partnerships to help Urban Initiatives leverage the best allies in the field to benefit the kids in our programs.

  • Becca Martinson,  Director of Special Events

    Rebecca graduated from DePaul University as a Community Service Scholar with a BA in Art History. She is passionate about the role of sports in youth development specifically as a method to address gender equality. You can find Rebecca putting her youth development skills into practice on the weekends when she coaches soccer and roller derby. In her spare time, Rebecca skates for the internationally ranked Windy City Rollers derby team or can be found rescuing puppies and traveling the world. Rebecca is the Director of Special Events at Urban Initiatives.

  • Brendan McAlpine, Program Director

    Brendan earned a M.A. in Education and Community Development at Wheaton College before joining the Urban Initiatives team as a Program Associate in 2012. Brendan oversees the Continuum of Programming and Evaluation departments, ensuring that the Work to Play, Take the Lead, and Coach for Success programs operate at high levels of quality and impact. In addition to the amazing students, families, and teammates that make this organization great, Brendan loves his job because it allows his inner nerd to make peace with his love of sports.

  • Sara Shanley, Program Director – WTP & TTL

    Sara is from Arlington, Virginia and earned a M.A. in International Studies with a focus in African Studies and sports-based youth development. Following her graduate studies, Sara joined the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club where she directed the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s sports-based childhood obesity prevention program. Prior to joining Urban Initiatives, Sara spent a year in Rwanda as the Program Manager for Kids Play International where she managed their sports-based gender equality education program. Sara spearheads program development for WTP, TTL and CFS.

  • Kurt Miller, Program Director – Play with Potential

    Kurt is a Program Director of the Play with Potential Program.

  • Scott Wozencraft, Director of Individual Engagement

    Scott graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in Environmental Science.  He has spent the last five years working in development for the Advocate Charitable Foundation, most recently as a Development Manager at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.  Prior to joining the Urban Initiatives staff, he was a member of the UI Associate Board for four years.  Born and raised in Arlington Heights, he is a life long soccer player and coach.  Soccer, track and basketball have slowly given way to breakdancing and yoga though and he is currently completing his 200 hour yoga teacher training.  Scott oversees individual donor relations.

  • Cynthia Dominguez, Administration Director

    Cynthia grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, but now resides in Pilsen. She graduated from Grinnell College, where she received a degree in Psychology and Spanish, and she played on and captained the women’s soccer team (GC PRIDE!). Prior to UI, Cynthia worked as an English Language Assistant in Galicia, Spain for two years, and later she worked as the Coordinator at a nonprofit in the western suburbs for another year. Cynthia has been with UI for two years and oversees office operations including finance and human resources.

  • Anndriene Bell, Finance Manager

    Born and raised on the south side, Anndriene is no stranger to the struggles within Chicago’s Urban communities. She owes her many successes to her ability to access extracurricular activities at a young age. Those opportunities helped to mold her into an advocate for early exposure to youth development and family resource programs within Chicago’s low-income neighborhoods. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum. Anndriene is the Finance Manager at Urban Initiatives.

  • Jasmine Traylor, Administration Coordinator

    Jasmine grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and now lives in Uptown. She attended and graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington where she earned a B.A in Political Science and Theatre as well as a minor in International Studies. Jasmine is passionate in her belief that all children deserve an opportunity to learn how to lead their communities and have fun doing so. Sports is a surefire way of doing that! Before taking on the Administration Coordinator role, Jasmine worked as an Operations Manager for a start-up. Jasmine is excited to make her contribution to Urban Initiatives and support the team in any way possible.

  • Emily Fallon, Development & Communications Manager

    Emily graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Political Science where she focused on how law shapes race and identity in the U.S. Emily grew up in St. Louis, Missouri but considers her birthplace in Southern California to be her true home. Emily oversees our marketing and communications strategies.

  • Linda Galib, Research & Evaluation Director

    Originally from Rhode Island, Linda holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from Ithaca College, and an M.P.P and M.P.H. with a focus in health behavior and health education from the University of Michigan. Prior to UI, she conducted federal health program and policy evaluation, volunteered for a child and family services agency in Chicago, and interned in Quito, Ecuador, where she worked to empower youth using PhotoVoice. Her love of sport AND data stem from her childhood, as she played soccer through high school and softball into college, and grew up eagerly programming her grandfather’s computer in Basic (for example, to make the screen color change)! Linda manages program evaluation for Urban Initiatives.


  • Natalie Camarena Lopez, Evaluation & Database Coordinator

    Natalie was born and raised in California. She has a BA in International studies from UC San Diego and an MPH/MCP from UC Berkeley. Natalie is passionate about community development and health equity and has previously worked in health research. In her spare time, Natalie loves to knit and explore new cities. As the evaluation and database coordinator, Natalie dedicates her time to supporting the implementation of Urban Initiatives’ evaluation strategies for programming and maintaining the participant database in Salesforce.

  • Taryne Moore, Development Coordinator – Corporate Partnerships

    Born and raised in California, Taryne graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Sociology. Following graduation, she completed two years of national service as an AmeriCorps member and Team Leader with City Year Boston. She then worked as an Impact Manager leading teams of City Year AmeriCorps members serving in Boston Public Schools. Upon relocating to Chicago she worked with Mikva Challenge as a Special Projects Consultant. Taryne is so excited to join Urban Initiatives to help connect corporate partners with this important work as the Development Coordinator – Corporate Partnerships.

  • Kelli Manning, Program Manager – WTP & TTL

    Originally from Racine, Wisconsin, also known as the city that brought the United States Danish Kringle, Kelli graduated from Wheaton College with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. When Kelli wasn’t playing volleyball, she participated in many social justice and community development events; events that shared her passion for walking with underrepresented people. After committing a year of service as an Americorps member for College Possible, a nonprofit that helps low-income, first generation college bound students get to and through college, she transitioned to Urban Initiatives, an organization that shares her love of sports and social justice. As a Program Manager, Kelli is excited to be a part of a program that breaks down barriers, develops healthy lifestyles, and builds cross cultural interactions. Kelli also likes to cook, dance and watch thriller movies.

  • Lauren Gaynor, Development Manager- Foundations

    Lauren graduated from Michigan State University with a double major in English and Professional Writing with a concentration in Communities and Cultures. Prior to Urban Initiatives, Lauren was a Development Associate for the DuSable Museum of African American History. At UI, Lauren oversees the management of grants and outside of work, Lauren spends most of her time training for the Chicago Marathon and other upcoming races.

  • MaryGrace Pankratz, Development Coordinator

    MaryGrace was born and raised in Madison, WI. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Political Science and International Studies with a focus in international relations and global security. After graduating, MaryGrace worked for non-profits in the Madison area with strong dedication to education and community building. As Development Coordinator, MaryGrace works to support fundraising and engagement efforts at Urban Initiatives.

  • Kevin Schoenfeld, Program Manager – PWP

    Kevin grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago & attended high school in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. He went on to receive a bachelors degree in Political Science from Illinois State University in 2014. It was there he developed a great passion for grassroots community organizing & greater economic, political & social equality for all. This is his fourth year with Urban Initiatives. Starting as an Americorps service member Kevin then spent two career altering years at Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy as a School Based Program Coordinator, Kevin is now a Play with Potential Program Manager.

  • Jared Thomas, Program Manager – PWP

    Jared Thomas is from South Bend, Indiana and received a B.A. in Art History and Fine Arts from Indiana University. Jared grew up playing baseball but has fallen in love with the “beautiful game.” He is a lifelong Notre Dame football and Chicago Cubs fan. Before taking on the role as a program manager, Jared was a SBPC at North River Elementary, and a Recess Facilitator at Otis Elementary.

  • Rebecca Daaleman, Program Manager – PWP

    Rebecca grew up in New Jersey and graduated from University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology. Prior to her time at Urban Initiatives, she served as an AmeriCorps Member and a Team Leader at City Year Chicago.

  • Amy Turner, Program Manager – PWP

    Amy is from Kildeer, Illinois and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Anthropology and Educational Studies. After graduation Amy spent the next five years working as a high school life science teacher, first in Mississippi as a Teach for America corps member and then at a charter school in South Los Angeles. As a teacher Amy fell in love with running and providing students with opportunities outside the classroom, most recently as a marathon leader with Students Run Los Angeles and a teacher leader with the Just Keep Livin foundation. Amy is excited to bring her passion for health and wellness to Urban Initiatives and enjoys running with her rescue dog Arrow in her free time.

  • Eugene Tsipris, Program Manager – WTP & TTL

    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.

  • Dajuan King, Program Manager- WTP & TTL

    Dajuan was born and raised on Chicago’s West Side. He is an Alum of Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, and received his B.A in Social Work from Wartburg College in Iowa. For the past 6 years, Dajuan has dedicated his time to working with Chicago’s under served and under privileged youth. This year, Dajuan will be working as a Program Coordinator at 5 different West Side schools. He is excited about having the opportunity to give back to his community and positively influence youth who may be experiencing the same dilemmas he experienced while growing up.

  • Christina Valencia, Program Manager – WTP & TTL

    Christina graduated from NIU with a major in History and minor and Anthropology. She was born and raised in the Southwest of Chicago participating in many after school programs for youth throughout her childhood. On the last 6 years she has been working in advocating for youth programs and community engagement.

  • Preethi Varma, Program Manager – WTP & TTL

    Preethi graduated from the University of Virginia where she studied Public Policy and Gender Studies. Prior to Urban Initiatives, she volunteered heavily with elementary and middle school youth. Preethi is currently studying at University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and is working to earn a master’s degree in social work and social policy. She grew up playing a lot of sports and is looking forward to bringing that passion to UI’s Continuum of Programming.


School-Based Program Coordinators

    • Chris Espino, SBPC at Jahn

      Chris is passionate about sports and youth development and sees Urban Initiatives as an opportunity to give back to the community he grew up in. He enjoys grilling, watching sporting events, and rooting for all Chicago teams.

    • Will Green, Community Resource Coordinator at King

      Will had spent years working in schools in different capacities before he found Urban Initiatives. He believes that providing sincerity and openness, along with consist positive reinforcement to encourage the kids and communities are the keys to effective youth development work. A veteran of positive discipline and restorative practices as well as enrichment program, Will is the first Community Resource Coordinator at Urban Initiatives, bringing resources of the neighborhood to before- and after-school programs in partnership with the Community Schools Initiative at King Elementary.

    • Ruth Guerra, SBPC at Nixon

      Ruth was born and raised in the Back of the Yards neighborhood and attended CPS growing up. She is experienced with alternative educational engagement through arts programming and has her BA in Applied Behavioral Sciences. Ruth grew up playing every kind of sport imaginable at recess and is excited to build relationships with her school community.

    • KyJuan Hardin, SBPC at Otis

      Born and raised on the south side of Chicago and a product of cps school , sports has always been a big part of his life . Finding football as his first love then basketball as his true love, he graduated in 2013 from Kenwood academy . Since high school he has been involved in basketball camps and park district programs through out the city. Growing up in the city he’s seen and experienced first hand how youth sports can save and change lives.

    • JP Hernandez, SBPC at Nobel & Little Village Academy

      JP was born in San Luis De La Paz Guanajuato Mexico, but he was raised on the South Side of Chicago. JP has worked for Marquette Elementary, Irene Hernandez middle school, Little Village Academy, and is currently the SBPC at Nobel and Little Village. He is currently a student at Richard Daley College and also works with Metropolitan Family Services and the Metro Raptors for the Midway Youth Center.

    • Daniel Lagunas, SBPC at Prieto

      Daniel was born in Chicago, Illinois then he moved to Arlington, Texas when he was 8. He graduated from Timberview Mansfield High School in 2011 and moved back to Chicago in 2014. Daniel worked a variety of jobs post-high school, including stints as a pool cleaner, and work in the warehouse, restaurant, factory, cleaning, medical and office industries. Daniel loves the work he does at UI where he gets to interact every day with kids and games, but he also has aspirations of becoming a professional computer geek someday. One day that aspiration will be realized! Until then he will continue to grow as a person and coach at the best sports-based youth development organization in the city and, not arguably, the world.

    • Chanelle McFarland, SBPC at Tarkington & Marquette

      Chanelle has a B.A. 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. Going into her 4th school year with UI, she loves being apart of the school community and all the opportunities they provide for students.

    • Brandy McMahan, SBPC at Lawndale

      Coach Brandy is a School-Based Program Coordinator at Lawndale where previously she was an Onsite Program Director.

      Omari Moore, SBPC at King

      Originally from Canton, Ohio, Omari Moore received his B.A. in Psychology and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies from the University of Chicago in 2014. Since moving to Chicago from Ohio for college, he has been involved in activities and organizations based around youth development, education, race and/or social justice. After graduating, he began serving with New Sector where he worked with the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on the intersections between race, poverty, housing, and innovation. He is currently a resident of the Englewood community.

      Ella Ralston, SBPC at Bateman

      Ella is entering her 4th year with Urban Initiatives and is also working for the 4th year at Bateman Elementary on the North side of Chicago! Ella started working with children as a pre-teen herself, and has always enjoyed the challenge that comes with influencing the lives of our youth. She has the pleasure of engaging in 3 out of the 4 Urban Initiative programs; Play With Potential, Work To Play, and Take the Lead! Coach Ella (as the kiddos call her) looks forward to working with Urban Initiatives for many more years, and being a part of the revolutionary change that is spreading through our Chicago youth.

      Victor Ramirez, SBPC at Davis and Gunsaulus

      Victor was born in Chicago and grew up in Cicero. He would have loved to have had recess growing up and someone to be a role model during recess. Having always been drawn to art, he studied illustration at the American Academy of Art and received a Bachelors of Fine Art. He paints, draws, and sculpts and plans to be creating art lifelong.  He was never the star athlete, but he has always played sports and understands the power of play. His goal is to show kids that the new skills they acquire playing different games and sports will transcend the playground and help them in their path to adulthood. Victor has been married for close to five years, and his wife has been his unconditional support. He believes that having a family or at the very least a caring adult to support us in our lives can and will make all the difference in the lives of the kids we serve. 

Program Coordinators & Associates

    • Isaiah James, Program Associate

      Isaiah James serves as Program Associate for Urban Initiatives in Chicago. For the past four years Isaiah has been apart of several organizations such as St. Joseph Services, Chicago Youth Centers, Ada S. McKinley and ABJ Community Services. During his time as an educator, Isaiah has taught a variety of subjects to a wide array of learners, ranging from preschoolers to adults. Isaiah considers himself an organized, hard-working, and self-motivated teacher who puts a great effort into preparing lessons that his students can make connection to. Isaiah has a variety of strategies to keep his students focused and interested. Isaiah is grateful to have a job that allows him to teach and inspire others. After four years at several organizations, he has continued through out the city of Chicago to assist at risk youth. Isaiah is very excited to be teaching at Urban Initiatives and hopes to positively influence all of the students and staff.

  • Moises Saucedo, Program Associate

    Moises is a family-oriented individual with a passion for helping youth and communities grow. He attended Benito Juarez high school while growing up around the southwest parts of Chicago. Moises is currently working on attending Richard D. Community College and is excited to be working for Urban Initiatives as a Program Associate!

  • Robin Taylor, Program Associate

    Robin was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She is studying at Governors State University in pursuing a degree in Psychology as her major. Join Urban Initiative as an intern in July 2018 through the help of Urban Alliance. As though she loves going to baseball games to see her favorite team the White Sox win; she very much enjoy seeing the groundskeeper spit and shine the dirt to see the White Sox dominate their opponent. More importantly, she is extremely excited on what the future will hold as being Program Associate.

  • Arianna Bell, Program Coordinator

    Arianna earned a B.S in Community Leadership & Civic Engagement from the Northern Illinois University. She attended Howe Elementary one of the many CPS schools we serve throughout the Chicagoland area. She owes many of her successes to her ability to access extracurricular activities at a young age.

  • Cecilia Pedroza, Program Coordinator

    Cecilia was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Nutrition. Cecilia is ecstatic for her role as a first time Program Coordinator at Lee, Stevenson, Jackson, Sandoval, and Morrill elementary schools. She hopes to be an influential role for the youth. Cecilia is a White Sox fan and enjoys attending games with her family.

  • Michelle Ramos, Program Coordinator

    Michelle is originally from the Ashburn neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago and studied Therapeutic Recreation at Southern Illinois University. She has worked with several youth programs over the past 10 years. She’s played rugby for the past five years and currently plays with the Will County Morrigans. Michelle started working with Urban Initiatives as a Facilitator and Assistant Coach.



Play with Potential Staff


  • Jamila Davey, REC Coordinator at Spencer

    Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, one of the biggest Bears fan you will meet! With various “jobs” under her belt, Jamila always found happiness working & enriching the youth through sports and relationship building exercises. She started by volunteering at her daughters school when she was young and then began working for UI as an Assistant Coach. Having the great opportunity to have worked in various schools throughout Chicago, she is excited to bring innovative ideas to the REC Coordinator position at Dever.

  • Sanni Bush-Haruna- REC Coordinator at Ward

  • Adele Watel- REC Coordinator at Budlong

  • Steven Beaudion- REC Coordinator at Christopher House

  • Antoinette Walker- REC Coordinator

  • Ciera Mitchel- REC Coordinator at Ravenswood

  • Raveen Monroe- REC Coordinator at Lowell

  • Gaby Mendez, REC Coordinator at Orozco

  • Mauro Garcia, REC Coordinator at Lloyd

  • Jose Montenegro, REC Coordinator  at Daley

  • Ebony Stallworth, Shields

    Ebony has a bachelors in Exercise Science from North Central College in Naperville, IL where she accomplished being a 4x All-American in shot put and a 6x national qualifier in throws. She recently finished her first masters’ program in Educational Leadership and is working on completing her second masters’ in Sports Administration. Both her masters degrees are from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, FL. She’s a Recess Coordinator which requires an abundant amount of energy and she prides herself on brings lots of enthusiasm to the program. She strives for continual growth in her everyday life as well as networking with individuals that can build her knowledge on the road to success.

  • Nikesha Drummond, REC Coordinator at Neil

    Nikesha Drummond grew up in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood and later Park Forest, Illinois. She served in the United States Army for eight years as a chemical operation specialist. Two of those years were spent in an active duty status where she was stationed in Kabul / Kandahar Afghanistan. Nikesha received her undergraduate degree in physical education at Chicago State University. She began at Urban Initiatives in November of 2015 as a volunteer parent in the soccer program. She soon gained employment with UI as a REC Facilitator. She serves as a Rec Coordinator currently. Nikesha is currently also working towards finishing her teaching certification process in order to become a CPS certified PE instructor.

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 in one school in Chicago, 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


  • Audubon 3500 N Hoyne Ave

  • Barry 2828 N Kilbourn Ave

  • 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

  • Curtis 32 E. 115th St

  • Daley 5024 S Wolcott Ave

  • Davis 3014 W 39th Pl

  • Dever 3436 N Osceola Ave

  • Faraday 3250 W Monroe St

  • Goethe 2236 N Rockwell St

  • Goudy 5120 N Winthrop Ave

  • Greene 3525 S Honore Ave

  • Gunsaulus 4420 S Sacramento Ave

  • Hibbard 3244 W Ainslie St
  • Henry 4250 St Louis Ave

  • Howe 720 N Lorel Ave

  • Jackson 917 W 88th St

  • Jahn 3149 N Wolcott Ave

  • Jordan 7414 N Wolcott Ave

  • King 644 W 71st St

  • 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

  • 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

  • National Teachers Academy 55 W Cermak Rd

  • Northwest Middle 5252 W Palmer St

  • O’Keeffe 6940 S Merrill Ave

  • Orozco 1940 W 18th St
  • Otis 525 N Armour St

  • Pasteur 5825 S Kostner Ave

  • Peterson 5510 N Christiana Ave

  • Piccolo 1040 N Keeler Ave

  • Powell7511 S South Shore Dr

  • Prieto 2231 North Central Ave

  • Providence Englewood Charter 6515 S Ashland Ave

  • Ravenswood 4332 N Paulina St

  • Reavis 834 E 50th St

  • Sandoval 5534 S Saint Louis Ave

  • Spencer 214 N Lavergne Ave

  • Stevenson 8010 S Kostner Ave

  • Tarkington 3330 W 71st St

  • Walsh 2015 S Peoria Street

  • Ward 2701 S Shields Ave

  • West Park 1425 N Tripp Ave

Communities Served

  • Albany Park

  • Armour Square

  • Ashburn

  • Auburn-Gresham

  • Austin

  • Avondale

  • Belmont Cragin

  • Brighton Park

  • Chicago Lawn

  • Dunning

  • East Garfield Park

  • Englewood

  • Gage Park

  • Grand Boulevard

  • Hermosa

  • Humboldt Park

  • Hyde Park

  • Irving Park

  • Kenwood

  • Lakeview

  • Logan Square

  • Lower West Side

  • McKinley Park

  • Near North Side

  • Near South Side

  • New City

  • North Center

  • North Lawndale

  • North Park

  • Rogers Park

  • Roseland

  • South Lawndale

  • South Shore

  • Uptown

  • West Elsdon

  • West Englewood

  • West Lawn

  • West Town


Board of Directors

    • Neil Hirshman, Board Chair, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
    • Sarah Naim, Board Vice Chair, Grainger
    • Shawn Broadfield, Allstate Insurance Company
  • Chris Campbell, C.B. Campbell & Co.
  • Pete Cherecwich, Northern Trust
  • Patrick Croke, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Thomas Dammrich,Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.
  • Jim Dower, Urban Initiatives
  • Alaina Harkness, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Adolfo Hernandez, Pritzker Community Health
  • Ralf Hilpuesch, Storck USA
  • Adam Hitchcock, Sovereign Infrastructure Group
  • Eric Kyereme, Sika Capital Management
  • David Mahoney, CBRE
  • Brian McBride, ESPN, TiPEVO
  • Edwin McDonald, MD, University of Chicago Medicine
  • Michael McGrew, Constellation Brands
  • Corey Minturn, William Blair
  • Jimmy O’Connor, William Blair
  • Richard S. Parisi, Silver Point Capital
  • Jason Pritzker, The Pritzker Organization, LLC
  • Katy Reichert, Civic Leader
  • Randy Rivera
  • Jimmy Samartzis, Oliver Wyman
  • Karen Schweickart
  • Stacy Stutz, McKinsey & Company
  • Joe Taets, Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • Cedric Thurman, Talks Inc.

Partners Board

  • Solomon Barnett, Citadel LLC
  • Dario Bolanos, Northwestern Mutual
  • Annie Couyoumjian, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
  • Eric Crowley, GP Bullhound
  • Richard Douglas, Themis Bar Review
  • David Grass, Weissbluth Pediatrics
  • Jaime Hitch, Quaker/Pepsico
  • DeJuan Lever, Metalex
  • Kathleen Strand, McDonalds
  • Jonathan Taylor, Blitz Capital

Associate Board

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

  • Young Kwak, Citadel, President
  • Ashley Dobbins, Spark Foundry, Vice-President
  • Greg Friend, Comcast, Vice-President
  • Annie Couyoumjian, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, President Emeritus
  • Paul Damato, Freelance Marketing, Vice President Emeritus


  • Orlando Aguirre, CBRE
  • Mike Amofa, William Blair
  • Norma Amofa-Loza, Cook County State’s Attorney Office
  • Kevin Arrogante, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Muhammad Azfar, Accenture
  • Liz Barnett, Raise Marketplace
  • Gene Barrett, Deloitte
  • Jason Batliner, Performance Trust Capital
  • Michelle Baumann, Geometry
  • Jessica Bechtel, Pepsico/Quaker
  • Sebastian Bellm, PwC
  • Corey Bradford, City of Chicago Office of Inspector General
  • Jesse Brosten, KPMG
  • Jack Buehler,  Starcom USA
  • Bill Buhr, Wells Fargo Advisors
  • John Burger, KPMG
  • Stephanie Bylos, Xronos Consulting
  • Nicholette Cameron, UBS
  • Andrias Campbell, Fidelity Investments
  • Shreya Canakapalli, DiMeo, Schneider & Associates
  • Michael Cannell, Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC
  • Mike Carlson, Highbridge Principal Strategies
  • MacKenzie Christie, Grundfos
  • Annika Clutch, Storck USA
  • Andrew Cole, Arthur J. Gallagher
  • Christopher Dardi, Kellogg School of Management
  • Robert Dentamaro, Morton Grove Fire Department
  • Caroline DeWeirdt, Initiatives
  • Brian Dobmeier, United Airlines
  • Jillian Duffy, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Rachael Dula, Salesforce
  • Jubril Durijaiye, Northern Trust
  • Jamie Ende, David A. Axelrod & Associates, P.C. 
  • Jeffrey Farina, University of Notre Dame
  • Holton Faust, World’s Finest Chocolate
  • Brian Flanagan, PwC
  • Rachel Flanagan, Accenture
  • Dillon Flynn, Green City Market
  • Larry Fogel, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Joey Fox, Pepsico/Quaker
  • Michael Freedman, Premier Partnerships
  • Christopher Fry, Lockton Companies
  • Mauro Fuzetti, Wells Fargo Insurance Services
  • Emily Golan, RXBAR
  • Alex Gorniak, United
  • Jeremy Guterl, Ketchum
  • Steven Herrmann, University of Chicago
  • Sam Hong, Kirkland & Ellis
  • Patrick Hopkins, Peak6
  • Liz Hoppe, Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Lauren Horn, All Stars Project of Chicago
  • Thomas Hughes, Baker McKenzie
  • Adam John, Octagon
  • Sarah Jonathan, StratEx Partners
  • Ashley Jordan, MB Real Estate
  • Brett Joseph, Resolution Media
  • Dani Kaufman, Protiviti
  • Steve Kim, Accenture
  • Kelsey Lantz, Chicago Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery
  • Bill Lawrence, Sidley Austin
  • Alex Leon, Nielsen
  • Zach Lessem, Huron
  • Jordan Lewis, Daley Financial Partners
  • Sarah Lewis, PwC
  • Margot Mache, Girls on the Run Chicago
  • Patrick Mahal, Antares Capital
  • Griffin Malcom, IRI Worldwide
  • Joe Mark, OMD
  • Rick Marquardt, Ernst & Young, LLP
  • Matt Matosian, Arbor Investments
  • Nidhin Mattappally, Discover
  • Brian Mattoni, Priority Sports and Entertainment
  • Stephen McCormick, William Blair
  • Meghan McKeever, Robert Lurie Childrens Hospital
  • David Mielcarek, Pepsico/Quaker
  • Dan Moriaty, Chicago Bulls
  • Ellen Mortell, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Ryan Movahed, Miller, Cooper and Co.
  • Alan Neider, Accenture
  • Katie Nestle, Allstate
  • Hannah Nichols, Fidus Investment Advisors
  • Susan Nichols, William Blair
  • Annie Nordholt, Evergreen Park School District 124
  • Jack Nordholt, Salesforce
  • Ryan Nugent, Interior Define
  • Elise O’Connor, MB Real Estate
  • Tom Osial, United
  • Matt Otto, Apex Companies
  • Brennan Ouellette, PepsiCo
  • Jose Paz, Monroe Capital
  • Mike Perconte, Fooda
  • Manny Peredo-Muniz, Accenture
  • Carol Platt, Midwestern University
  • Brian Quirke, NERA Economic Consulting
  • Michael Quirke, Accenture
  • John Reglin, One North Interactive
  • Elizabeth Reichter, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Patrick Reilly, 120 Sports
  • Steven Resnik, Northwestern Law and Kellogg School of Management
  • Brittany Reynoso, Chicago Cubs
  • A.J. Riddell, Kellogg School of Management
  • Paul Rossman, PepsiCo
  • Shereen Sater, Conversant LLC
  • Michael Schillinger, KPMG
  • Rusty Scott, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • Ryan Seager, Associated Agencies, Inc.
  • Dan Singer, Hyatt Hotels Corp
  • Derek Skoog, PwC
  • Kyle Smith, Kraft Heinz Company
  • Kaitlin Straits, Glassdoor
  • Eric Sullivan, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Irene Sullivan, The University of Chicago Law
  • Sam Sustarich, CD Distributors
  • Ali Syverson, Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Emily Taft, University of Chicago
  • Beth Talentowski, BMO Harris
  • Phil Terrazzino, TKK
  • Dan Thomann, Volunteer Immigrant Defense Advocates
  • Phillip Wadle, Huron
  • Jon Wagner, Groupon
  • Kate Walsh, Analyst
  • Ronnie Westmoreland, Deerpath Capital Management
  • Chet White, Invenergy, LLC
  • Meg Whitty, United Airlines
  • Catie Wilber, Mediavest | Spark
  • Alec Wise, Frontenac Company
  • Lauren Wolf, EZ Links Golf
  • Haley Wrenn, MB Real Estate
  • Coety Wyse, The Competence Group
  • Virginia Yost, KPMG
  • Stacy Zabrin, William Blair

Student Board

  • Chase Armstrong, New Trier High School
  • Frankie Baio, Loyola Academy
  • Colleen Condon, New Trier High School
  • Caroline Cotler, Glenbrook North
  • Lauren Daffada, Loyola Academy
  • Austin Douthit, New Trier High School
  • Reighne Dyson, Whitney Young
  • Tory Gapp, Loyola Academy
  • Rylie Gentile, Loyola Academy
  • Sophie Gerstman, New Trier High School
  • Alex Gluech, New Trier High School
  • Daniel Gunther, New Trier High School
  • Andrew Hoepfner, Loyola Academy
  • Teddy Kamin, New Trier High School
  • Matthew Kirby, New Trier High School
  • Brendan Knapp, Loyola Academy
  • Andrew Kuhn, New Trier High School
  • Matthew LeClercq, Loyola Academy
  • Jack McGranahan, New Trier High School
  • Makayla Meers, New Trier High School
  • Julia Mlynarczyk, Loyola Academy
  • Daniel Montaquila, Loyola Academy
  • Brady Reichert, Loyola Academy
  • Robbie Loftus, New Trier High School
  • Ryan Savarie, Loyola Academy
  • Andrew Schneider, New Trier High School
  • Marco Troiano, Loyola Academy
  • Sam Weber, New Trier High School
  • John Wilson, Loyola Academy
  • Alex Winslow, NSCDS
  • Grace Wolfe, New Trier High School
  • Teddy Woodman, New Trier High School


Sustaining Sponsors

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • Baskin Family Foundation
  • Belvedere
  • Chicago Blackhawks Charities
  • Crown Family Philanthropies
  • Cubs Care, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
  • IMC
  • J.R. Albert Foundation
  • The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Michael Lewis Company
  • Optiver
  • Orlebeke Foundation
  • Polk Foundation
  • Prince Charitable Trusts
  • Quest Foundation
  • Sprout Social
  • Storck USA LP
  • Target Corporation
  • United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

Champion Partners

Andy Campbell and Susan Rancourt
Baskin Trust
Belvedere Trading
BMO Harris Bank
Chicago Blackhawks Charities
Cherecwich Family
Chris Campbell
Cubs Care, a fund of the McCormick Foundation
Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS)
Helen Brach Foundation
Hirshman Family
Jim Blomberg
Kenilworth Union Church
Maximus Foundation
NKC Family Foundation
Quest Foundation
Morgan and Rob Parkinson
Solomon Barnett
Steele Family Foundation
Cece & Tom Ricketts
Union Pacific Foundation
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
Winslow Family

Soccer Ball Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

  • Allstate

All-Star Sponsors

  • Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • J.R. Albert Foundation
  • Boeing
  • CBRE
  • Chicago Cubs- Cubs Care
  • Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
  • Hirshman Family
  • IMC
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Rachel & Dave Mahoney
  • Leslie & David McGranahan
  • Melissa & Jeff Miller
  • Northern Trust
  • The Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family
  • Foundation
  • J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
  • The QBE Foundation
  • Storck USA LP
  • United Airlines
  • Katie & Jeff Woodman

Paddle Raise Sponsor

  • BMO Harris Bank

Goal Sponsors

  • Advocate Children’s Hospital
  • Ariel Investments
  • Batliner Family
  • Bear Construction
  • Nicole & Dave Berger
  • Chapman Spignola LLP
  • The Competence Group
  • Constellation Brands
  • Direct Food Service
  • Ellen & Richard Douglas
  • Dower Family
  • ME & Chris Girgenti
  • Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
  • Sarah Kammerer & Adam Hitchcock
  • Limelight
  • Loeb & Loeb LLP
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • National Student Leadership Conference
  • Nest
  • Optiver
  • Polsinelli
  • Quaker Oats
  • Reed Smith
  • Sheehan, Dammrich, and Fox Families
  • Skender Foudnation
  • Themis Bar Review
  • University of Chicago Medicine
  • Winston & Strawn LLP
  • Wozencraft Family

Trophy Sponsors

  • AbelsonTaylor
  • Bansley & Kiener
  • Katherine & John Buehler
  • Edward A. Anderson
  • Exelon
  • Jutta & Ralf Hilpuesch
  • Mawi Learning
  • Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
  • Stacy & Rob Stutz
  • In Kind Sponsors
  • Beam Suntory
  • Chicago Indoor Sports
  • Constellation Brands
  • The Cubby Bear Chicago
  • DJ Freddy Phatz
  • Elemento L2
  • nnerWorkings
  • Lettuce Entertain You
  • Limelight
  • Optimus
  • The Revel Group
  • Sound Investment
  • Storck USA LP

In-Kind Sponsors

  • Beam Suntory
  • Chicago Indoor Sports
  • Constellation Brands
  • The Cubby Bear
  • DJ Freddy Phatz
  • Elemento L2
  • InnerWorkings
  • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
  • Limelight
  • Optimus
  • Revel
  • Sound Investment
  • Storck
  • Bub City
  • Cafe Ba Ba Reeba
  • Mon Ami Gabi
  • RPM
  • Stella Barra Pizzeria
  • Summer House
  • Three Dots and a Dash

Work to Play Cup Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

  • Target

Team Sponsors

  • BIG Construction
  • Urban Initiatives Builders Board
  • Coffman Family 
  • Tom and Katherine Coleman
  • Kemmons and Lauren Feldman
  • Fortier Family
  • Gallagher
  • Girgenti Family
  • Glew Family
  • Karen Gladstone and JP Brennan
  • Hilpuesch Family
  • Hirshman Family
  • Sam Hong, Dan Lewis, and Matt Colman
  • IMC
  • Jadin Family
  • Steve and Julie Kaiser
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Long Grove Dental Studio
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Mike and Sheila McGrew
  • Morningstar
  • Northern Trust
  • Optiver
  • Steve and Karen Parker
  • Reichert Family
  • Storck
  • William Blair
  • Woodman/Cison and Erie Insurance

In Kind Sponsors

  • Aramark
  • Chicago Park District
  • Flood Brothers

Corporate Challenge Cup Sponsors

Team Sponsors

  • Accenture
  • Allstate
  • Balyasny Asset Management
  • BDT & Company
  • Belvedere
  • Blitz Capital Group
  • Capgemini
  • CBRE + Rachel and Dave Mahoney
  • Chicago Reach
  • Citadel
  • GATX
  • Gallagher
  • Grainger
  • JLL
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Lendlease
  • Limelight
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Morningstar
  • Northern Trust
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Optiver
  • QBE
  • Sidley
  • Storck
  • The Hartford
  • William Blair

In Kind Sponsors

  • Chicago Park District
  • Constellation Brands
  • The French Pastry School
  • Limelight
  • RXBars
  • Starbucks

Financial Archive


Urban Initiatives is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating in the state of Illinois. 

85% of expenses directly support our programs.

For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2017, Urban Initiatives had:

  • Total income: $4,238,760
  • Total program expenses:$3,338,702
  • Total fund raising expenses:$163,702
  • Total administrative expenses:$413,509
  • End of year net assets:$1,221,156