Where We Started
Chicago natives Jim Dower and Dan Isherwood founded Urban Initiatives in 2003 in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood. As Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers and suburban soccer coaches, they started Urban Initiatives as a response to the lack of extracurricular programs for the children they taught at Byrd Academy.
The Urban Initiatives way allowed kids to learn, practice, and succeed. This approach translated quickly to the classroom, and the principal and teachers at Byrd saw the positive impact in and around school. As word of student success spread, demand for Urban Initiatives’ programs and coaches grew across CPS.