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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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

    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.

  • Miguel Fernandez, Development Director

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

  • 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, Research & Evaluation Director

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

  • April Lillstrom, 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.

  • Savannah McKinley Program Manager – WTP

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

  • Andy Neilsen, Training Director 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.

  • Katie Sullivan, Manager – Program Evaluation and Volunteer Engagement

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

  • Preethi Varma, Program Manager – TTL

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

  • Jeff Wozencraft, Senior Program Manager – WTP & TTL

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

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ella Ralston, REC Coordinator at Bateman

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

  • 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.

  • Greg Washington II, School-Based Program Coordinator at Claremont

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

Available Jobs

Coach Across America Program Associate

Start Date: August 3

Urban Initiatives is hiring a Program Associate to implement the Work to Play and Take the Lead Programs at five CPS sites. The Program Associate dedicates his/her time to the oversight of these programs by engaging in direct implementation, training coaches at his/her school sites, executing a parent engagement strategy, completing program evaluation, and ensuring program quality by collaborating with Urban Initiatives’ management team and key school staff and stakeholders.

  • Responsibilities

    • Oversee Work to Play and Take the Lead implementation at five school sites
    • Be the liaison between the schools and the UI office
    • Know all contents of the Work to Play Program Booklet including games, lessons, main points, health and character information, as well as administrative documents – also assist in ongoing program development by making suggestions for enhancements
    • Support programming by serving as an Assistant Coach at program sessions
    • Lead field trips, seasonal team parties and Service Learning Projects
    • Other direct service includes assisting with program-related events, paperwork dissemination/collection, snack delivery, program evaluation, and other support
    • Manage paperwork and other administrative duties related to program quality
    • Take photos, videos, and record success stories for UI marketing
    • Implement parent outreach plan at all schools
    • Participate in required staff meetings, development sessions and trainings
    • Identify and build relationships within the school communities of the schools served and reach out to potential program partners
    • Assist occasionally with recess program at Urban Initiatives school sites that need additional support
    • Support Take the Lead by:
    • Facilitating monthly school-based Captains’ Huddles
    • Assisting with leadership retreats
    • Managing TTL paperwork collection and outreach for your schools
    • Other responsibilities as needed

  • Skills + Qualifications

    • Desire and ability to work with families/children in low-income neighborhoods through sports
    • Bachelor degree (preferred)
    • Youth sports coaching experience (preferred)
    • Able to work independently and prioritize wide variety of tasks and deadlines
    • Self-starter
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills
    • Able to work flexible schedule that occasionally includes evenings/weekends
    • Consistent access to a car and personal laptop computer (required)
    • Negative TB Test (required)

  • Position Type

    This is a full-time position that begins on August 3.

  • Salary + Benefits

    AmeriCorps living stipend of $15,105 over 10 months. Upon completion of the 1700 hours, the Program Associate will receive an education award through AmeriCorps for $5,730.

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, June 12. Please use the subject “Program Associate” in your email.

Play with Potential REC Facilitator

Start Date: Immediately

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

  • Responsibilities

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

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

  • Skills + Qualifications

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

  • Position Type

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

  • Salary + Benefits

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

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

Play with Potential REC Coordinator

Start Date: Immediately

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

  • Responsibilities

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

  • Skills + Qualifications

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

  • Position Type

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

  • Salary + Benefits

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

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

Where We Work


    • 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
  • Shawn Broadfield, Allstate Insurance Company
  • 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
  • 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
  • Joe Taets, Archer Daniel Midland Company

Junior Board

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

Executive Committee

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


  • George Aliaga
  • Brad Archibald
  • Gene Barrett
  • Chelsea Barry
  • Jessica Bechtel
  • Kevin Berliner
  • Liz Bell
  • Dana Birch
  • Ben Blankenship
  • Sarah Bonk
  • Isabel Brown
  • Talia Bucci
  • Bill Buhr
  • Shreya Canakapalli
  • Mike Carlson
  • Jarrod Carter
  • Annika Clutch
  • Tori Conway
  • Sean Cook
  • Ellen Dammrich
  • Matt Dammrich
  • Shaun Deliberato
  • Jillian Duffy
  • Brian Fox
  • Catherine Fox
  • Christopher Fry
  • Mauro Fuzetti
  • Jen Gamber
  • Maggie Guidotti
  • Jeremy Guterl
  • Noor Hasan
  • Irene Hickey
  • Ella Himmelrich
  • Sam Hong
  • Joanna Hornbeck
  • John Jefferson
  • Brad Jensen
  • Hannah Jones
  • Anthony Knierim
  • Jeff Larentowicz
  • Andreas Laxgang
  • Christie Maliyackel
  • Cale Mannesto
  • Shayan Masoudpour
  • Brian Massimino
  • Nidhin Mattappally
  • Nick Millot
  • Ronald Milsap
  • Zack Mulhall
  • Avi Nagaraja
  • Heather Nadeau
  • Jake Nast
  • Brandon Nolde
  • Heather Nooks
  • Maria Okeke
  • Matthew Otto
  • Mike Perconte
  • Alejandra Piers-Torres
  • Brian Plotkin
  • Patrick Quay
  • Brian Quirke
  • Patrick Quirke
  • A.J. Riddell
  • Kyle Rose
  • Lauren Ruddick
  • C.C. Ryan
  • Simon Saddleton
  • Noha Salah
  • Courtney Schultz
  • David Schumacher
  • Rusty Scott
  • Kyle Smith
  • Eric Sullivan
  • Sam Sustarich
  • Martin Syvertsen
  • Dan Thomann
  • Cindy Uecker
  • Jon Wagner
  • Ronnie Westmoreland
  • Jared White
  • David Whitfield
  • Caitlyn Wilber
  • Jason Wilson
  • Scott Wozencraft
  • Evan Wright

Student Board

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


Champion Partners

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


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

Soccer Ball Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors

Goal Sponsors

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  •  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

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

In Kind Sponsors

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

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