Our mission is

to use the power of sport and play to empower Chicago’s youth to achieve academic success, develop social-emotional skills, and build social capital. 

Our Participants:

  • Hispanic/Latino: 54%
  • Black/African American: 38%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 4%
  • White & Other: 4%


87% of UI participants come from families who qualify as low income


Urban Initiatives works in 56 Chicago Public Schools throughout the city.

Make an Impact

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

Make a Donation


Executive & Management Team

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

                                            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.

                                          • Joy Nelson, Chief People Officer

                                            A Chicago native, Joy graduated from UIC with a Master’s in Education, focusing on Youth Development. After working as a Program Manager at Urban Initiatives for 2 years, she was promoted into the role of Play with Potential Program Director, overseeing recess at 24 local schools. In 2017, she took an opportunity to work with the National YMCA and spent a year and half traveling the Midwest and West Coast, supporting out of school time programming in underserved communities. She returned to Urban Initiatives in 2019 as the Culture and Climate Director and oversaw the day to day operations of our Play with Potential and Community School’s Initiative programs. She will begin her doctorate in Educational Leadership at DePaul in the fall of 2019. Joy is fun-loving supermom with a knack for connecting to people, children, and all things under the sun.

                                          • Paul Boye, Chief Innovation Officer

                                            As Chief Innovation Officer, Paul Boye provides strategic leadership and planning in collaboration with senior leaders, staff, board members, and advisors to oversee UI’s fulfillment of its vision, mission, and strategic plan, fostering of values, and management of internal and external operations. Since earning his B.A. from Northwestern University, Paul has dedicated his professional career to improving outcomes for young people, including as a teacher, nonprofit professional and executive leader, and school district administrator. Beyond UI, Paul enjoys time with his amazing wife, Christine, and their three daughters on the South Side.

                                          • Kimberly Townsend, Chief Program Officer

                                            Kim Townsend is a Chicago native who has lived all over the US and the world. Kim’s educational background is in political Science, Peace and Justice, International Relations and Human Development. Kim has spent 22 years working in the Youth Development and Education field and is passionate about improving the human experience and ensuring equal access to resources for everyone. As Chief Program Officer Kim provides strategic leadership and planning for UI’s programs, day-to-day oversight and coordination of the Program Departments as well as assist in planning and implementation of special events and programs.

                                          • Amber Neal, Lead Director of System Design

                                            Amber Neal (she/her/hers), born and raised in Chicago and grew up in Marquette Park, received her B.A in Child and Youth Development from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After being exposed and realizing at an early age the inequities many low-income Black and Brown communities face across Chicago, she knows her life’s purpose is to uplift, work alongside with, and give back to the communities that raised her. She is extremely dedicated and passionate about child and youth development, community engagement, and partnerships and one day hopes to have her own non-profit! After years of philanthropic work, working within the nonprofit sector and Chicago Public Schools, she is excited to step back into the sector and be leading UI’s strategic partnerships across the city to continue creating positive and fun spaces for children and youth! While not being involved in communities, you can find Amber spending time with family, crafting with her Cricut machine, at the gym, or playing with her fur babies!

                                          Dana Landau, Lead Director of Procurement

                                          Originally from the Kansas City area, Dana graduated from Washington University in St. Louis before joining Teach for America in Atlanta. Her time in the classroom solidified her passion for and commitment to closing the opportunity gap for young people in addition to sparking an interest in utilizing a more holistic and community-based approach in order to do so – thus leading her to pursue her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Chicago. Since then, she has worked in a variety of roles impacting youth development at City Year Chicago and is excited to leverage her experience with partnership engagement and systems oversight toward UI’s mission. Outside of work, you can find Dana seeking out a snack/treat, participating in one of her community-based running groups, or discussing fantasy baseball strategy with her dad.

                                      Jonathan Livingston, Lead Director of Data and Evaluation

                                      Jonathan earned his PhD in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, where he researched social entrepreneurship organizations scaling for impact. Jonathan has 20 years of experience as a nonprofit leader, serving as a director, instructor, and consultant providing research, evaluation, and strategic development. In his free time, Jonathan coaches his son’s soccer team(s), serves on the OPRF D200 School Board, and spends as much time as possible with his family in and around the Great Lakes.

                                  Andrew Neilsen, Lead Director of Learning

                                  Andy is a coach at heart. Beginning his youth development career in Chicago as a nature camp counselor, Andy has worked in affordable housing, after school programming, and lots and lots of coach training. Excited to be returning to Urban Initiatives after five years working in local and national youth development organizations, Andy focuses on creating transformative learning opportunities for internal and external partners.

                              • Ruby Dajani, Director of Learning

                                Ruby has been in education for the past 8 years teaching Spanish and Physical Education. She was also the head Track and Field coach. She is currently completing her Master’s at NEIU in Higher Educational Leadership through a fantastic program designed to prepare leadership that will create change responsive to the educational needs of Latinx students and an increasingly diverse college student population. Some of her interests include restorative practices, social justice, trauma-informed teaching, self-care, and collaborating with stakeholders to create change.

                              • Elyse Tussey, Director of Curriculum

                                Elyse is originally from Peoria, Arizona, and attended the University of Arizona receiving a BFA in Theatre Education. She moved to Chicago in 2010 after completing her Peace Corps Service in Cameroon where she volunteered with the Ministry of Education as a Teacher Trainer. Prior to joining UI, Elyse worked as a teaching artist and actor and spent 10 years serving as a Department Head and Theater Teacher for Noble Charter Schools.

                              • Miki Grace, Director of Innovation

                                Miki L. Grace is a business innovator, equity designer, and advocate for creative expression as a form of healing. Here at Urban Initiatives, Miki leverages her skills and experience in equity-based design and business innovation to provide organizational leadership, improve team effectiveness, and lead strategic design initiatives from end to end. When she’s not hard at work, Miki loves to engage in thought-provoking conversations, travel, write, vlog, explore new music, film, fashion, and the possibilities that lie within all kinds of new ideas.

                              • Arianna Bell, Director of Programs – Recess & Out of School Time

                                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.

                              • Tiffany Wilson-Washington, Director of Programs – Community Schools Initiative

                                Tiffany Washington is an experienced people leader who’s passionate about growth and development. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois @ Champaign, and spent the last decade of her career building and leading high performance teams at Kaplan University. Tiffany is from the Austin neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago and is proud to be contributing to the community through her work as the Director of 21st Century Learning.

                              • Mia Jackson, Director of Programs – Continuum

                                Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Mia spent her first two years at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga and later returned home to complete her B.A. in Sociology at Roosevelt University. There she was able to continue developing a strong passion for art, social justice, educational reform and activism. Being a first generation graduate only fueled Mia’s passion to become more involved in her community.  She understands how important it is to bridge fun, equitable and quality opportunities for marginalized youth, and is a strong believer in community pride and support. More so, Mia believes the biggest opportunity as leaders is the need to work on giving one another, especially our youth, spaces to develop personal autonomies in a safe and non- judgmental environment. 

                              • Andrea Serna, Director of Data Infrastructure

                                Andrea received her B.A. in Psychology from Concordia University Chicago, and for the past 6 years has worked with south and west side communities to support families experiencing homelessness. As a sports and wellness enthusiast, she looks forward to using her data and nonprofit skills with Urban Initiatives.

                              • April Lillstrom, Director of Program Administration

                                April started working with Urban Initiatives as the Healthy Places Program Coordinator in Fall of 2011. April believes that play should be part of every school day for all students (and even staff!), so she works with the UI program team and school administrators to help make that easy. April holds a BA in English from University of Illinois in Champaign and an M.Ed from UIC. She is also a licensed School Counselor. April is grateful for all the years of work with and all the different schools she’s been able to visit.

                              • Adrians Cleveland, Interim Director of Special Events

                                Adrians is an Indianapolis, IN native. She graduated from Butler University with a B.A. in Journalism. Prior to joining the UI team, she worked for Sigma Nursing. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors with her pup, Monte.

                              • Liz Rodriguez, Lead Manager of Talent Acquisition

                                Liz Rodriguez was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She is currently attending UIC and pursuing her BA in Public Policy with a minor in Nonprofit Management. She has a strong passion in after school programs, which she was a part of while attending CPS. Prior to joining Urban Initiatives, Liz was a Program Manager for a Nonprofit organization and was fulfilled with the impact that she was making to her childhood community and is passionate about Nonprofit work. Liz will be the Manager of Talent Acquisition and excited to welcome others to the Nonprofit world.

                              • Gina Laguzza, Lead Manager of Employee Engagement and Retention

                                Gina Laguzza was an actor for 17 years, previously taught ESL and theatre to children, and around seven years ago, started honing in on talent development and employee engagement. She is passionate about coaching people in her work and personal life to reach their potential and achieve their dreams. She can think of no better way than to spend her time supporting our inspiring staff in fulfilling Urban Initiative’s mission to empower Chicago’s youth to become community leaders!

                            Amy Buscemi, Lead Manager of Board Engagement

                            Amy Buscemi is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in Communications and Media. Her past includes managing a non-profit radio station and a small start-up business of which she was the first employee. Amy has volunteered for various Chicago organizations and is excited to be back on the other end of the spectrum as Urban Initiatives’ Lead Manager of Board Engagement. When not working or volunteering, Amy’s favorite activities include cycling and attending live music events.

                          • Rebecca Daaleman, Lead Manager of Data

                            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.

                          • Daniel Serna Geitz, Lead Program Manager, Take The Lead – Continuum

                            Daniel played soccer and water polo while studying Sociology at Carnegie Mellon University. After college he worked in Family and Community Engagement for Denver Public Schools, where his passion for school support and community outreach flourished. He is excited to bring his interests together to serve Chicago students and families!

                          • Yolanda Givens, Lead Program Manager- Community Schools Initiatives

                            Yolanda Givens is Chicago born but grew up and lived the majority of her adult life in the Los Angeles area. This University of California, Irvine (UCI) alum, has over 20 years of experience in the K-12, Higher Education and Nonprofit Sector. Yolanda has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the Community Schools Initiative model and is excited to now join the team at Urban Initiatives.

                        Diana Flores, Lead Program Manager- Community Schools Initiatives

                        Diana was born in the northside of Chicago and moved to the Pilsen neighborhood at the age of five. As the daughter of Mexican Immigrant parents, she is proud of her Mexican heritage. Diana has experience coordinating one of the largest Latino festivals in the Midwest, and is a leader in her community, passionate about youth empowerment. She is excited to continue working and investing in the Chicago communities to empower the youth and our children to become leaders. In her free time, Diana enjoys traveling, spending quality time with her family, and cooking.

                  KyJuan Hardin, Lead Vendor Manager – Community Schools Initiative

                  Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, KyJuan attended Kenwood Academy and immediately began working with youth sports programs after graduating. He believes that sports play an essential role in both physical and emotional development- sport has been a safe haven in his own life. He started with Urban Initiatives in 2016 and has continued his growth and development by taking on new roles. He is now excited for his new role as a leader for the CSI team.

                • Lakita Chandler, Lead Program Manager – Recess

                  Lakita Chandler is a mom of 3 intelligent, beautiful young ladies. Her passion and joy for working with youth goes back to her childhood when she was always the teacher or mom. She’s been a volunteer and cheer coach with CPS for 6 years. She is so excited to be apart of the UI team and to continue to fulfill her passion of empowering our youth.

              Aziz Tahir, Lead Program Manager, Soccer – Out of School Time

              Aziz Tahir is originally from Ethiopia but spent most of his childhood years in Minnesota. He graduated in December 2019 from Western Illinois University with a master’s in Sports Management and moved to Chicago to start his career in 2020. He started coaching soccer right after graduating from high school because it’s a great way to be involved in the sport and positively impact the confidence, health, and well-being of young people.

            • Annie Waldoch, Lead Program Manager, Soccer – Out of School Time

              Annie grew up in a soccer-mad house with her five brothers in the west suburbs. After graduating from Michigan State, she worked with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic for over two years teaching Spanish literacy and building a community basketball court. Now, she loves biking to schools all around the city to see the coaches she manages in action. The best part of her work day is hearing the kids yell “GOOOAAAALLLL” at practice.

            • James Risley, Program Manager, Soccer – Out of School Time

              James is originally from Louisville Kentucky, and moved to Chicago in 2022 after getting his degree in Sport Management from Xavier University. Playing sports throughout his life, James knows how valuable healthy habits and being a part of a team can be in one’s life. James previously worked with a non-profit the Boys and Girls Club, this is where he found his passion in working with youth helping them grow as individuals both on and off the field.

            • Javon Wright, Program Manager, Soccer – Out of School Time

              Javon Wright was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. He graduated from Simeon Career academy and attended University of Central Missouri, majoring in Sports Management. He is a dog dad, to his first puppy: who goes by the name of Isabella. Javon started with UI in 2019, as a Recess coach in the Back of the Yards where he left a gracious impact with the students and community.

            • Ebony Stallworth, Program Manager – Recess

              Ebony graduated from North Central College in Naperville with a Bachelors in Exercise Science. She was a 6x National Qualifier in Shot Put and a 4x All-American in Shot Put. After undergrad she began a career in coaching Track & Field at Lincoln Way East H.S. and then later a coach at St. Laurence H.S. In addition to coaching, she continued to further her education at St. Thomas University in Miami, Fl., where she earned two master degrees- Master of Science in Educational Leadership & Sports Administration. Along with coaching, Ebony is a part of a nutrition club where promoting healthy treats and consistent routines is beneficial to help improve one’s physical & mental confidence. Ebony’s passion and goal in life is to become an Athletic director and continue coaching youth/young adults not only in a track & field setting but in other sports as well.

            • Averill Price, Program Manager, Coach For Success – Continuum

              Averill Price is a South Side Chicago native who’s passionate and committed to creating impactful work through youth and community engagement. He’s had the opportunity to enhance his experience across North America in various roles as an educator, facilitator and even a motivational speaker. Averill is looking forward to helping cultivate the new leaders in young people by engaging, inspiring and persisting for positive change in their lives.

            • Madison Mullen, Program Manager, Coach For Success – Continuum

              Madison Mullen was born and raised in Chicago. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Law and Society and Advanced Leadership Studies from American University in Washington, D.C. As an educator and school culture specialist, Madison has worked at both the elementary and middle school level, as well as at a residential summer camp. Prior to working in education, Madison was a senior facilitator and outreach specialist at StoryCorps, a nonprofit whose mission is to teach the value of listening in order to build connections between people and create a more just world. As a Program Manager for Coach for Success, Madison is excited to build confidence in young people by drawing out, nurturing, and celebrating their strengths, while providing consistent, caring support to help them become change agents in their own lives.

            • Jackson Boleky, Program Manager, Take The Lead – Continuum

              Jackson first attended Loyola and then graduated from Tulane with a degree in International nonprofit management and Economics. Prior to his time at Urban Initiatives, he worked in Argentina and worked with the Catholic Charities of Chicago. Jackson is now excited for his new role as take the lead program manager.

            • Danszale Lahmon, Program Manager, Take the Lead – Continuum

              Danszale (kind of like Denzel Washington but different!) is a Chicago native. She is passionate about youth work and developing ways to allow youth to grow and thrive in their own lives. She is high-energy and loves to laugh and talk. She is a magna cum laude student, receiving her bachelor’s in Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in African/African American studies. She is currently on the journey to completing her master’s in Urban youth development and inner city studies. She enjoys sunsets and dislikes the color gray.

            • Constance Fisher, Program Manager, Take The Lead – Continuum

              Constance is an experienced educator whose aim is to inspire youth to become their optimum selves through fostering personal fulfillment and a holistic mindset. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and graduate degrees from St. Xavier University and National Louis University. She has a passion for emotional/behavioral health, financial literacy, STEAM, community development, and history; additionally, when not serving the youth, you can find her exploring the globe, catching a live theater production, or creating new memories with friends and family.

          Adrianna Barnett, Program Manager – Innovation

          Adrianna grew up in Jacksonville, FL and moved to Chicago in 2016 to study sociology. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, riding her bike, and hiking, so she knows the importance of spreading healthy habits to Chicago’s young people.

              • Alec Josiah, Community Design Manager – Innovation

                Originally from Orlando, Florida, Alec moved to Chicago in 2017 after receiving his BA in Communications and Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania. He then became a teacher here in Chicago and taught PreK and received a MS in Early Childhood Education from the Erikson Institute. Outside of work, Alec loves dancing and playing volleyball.

                • Olivia Ravenscroft, Operations Manager

                  Born and raised in Madison, WI, Olivia came to Chicago in 2016 to attend DePaul University. She started at Urban Initiatives in October of 2020 as an AmeriCorps VISTA HR Associate. After completing her service term, she stayed on the team and is now the Operations Manager.




Resource Coordinators

                • Gabriela Mendez, Resource Coordinator at Leland Elementary

            Tracy Merwin, Resource Coordinator, Barnard Elementary

            Tracy earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Bradley University and is currently working on her M.Ed in social-emotional learning at Endicott College. She was a classroom teacher for over 9 years and is excited to share her passion for education with the UI team. In her free time, she enjoys reading and walking her dog, Charley.

        Lovie Goshay, Resource Coordinator at Harold Washington Elementary

      • KeAundra Jones, Resource Coordinator, Jensen Elementary

        KeAundra is a Chicago native, born and raised in the west side, Garfield Park area. KeAundra has been pescatarian for 6 years now, and is striving to switch over to vegan. She admires children and is currently working on forming a Non-profit called Galore Gems, to help minority children in her neighborhood. KeAundra dedicates most of her time finding programs and resources to benefit neighborhood children. She enjoys reading and swimming in her free time.

      • Venus Finley, Resource Coordinator at Spencer Elementary

      • Rashad Rucker, Resource Coordinator – Pullman Elementary

        Rashad was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, he earned a Bachelor of Science at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale majoring in Sport Administration. Very passionate through sports & recreation and has a demonstrated history of working in indoor/outdoor facilities. Rashad is looking to help build the young leaders through sports and activities.


Recess Coaches

                      • Victor Ramirez- Monroe Elementary

                      • Jackqulin Johnson

                        Jackqulin Johnson goes By Coach Redd. She was Born and raised in South Bend Indiana where from an early age, she showed her passion for people and her community! She has volunteered, tutored youth, and even helped with community clean ups. She moved to Chi-town’s Old Town area in 2009. She has worked in a few job titles such as counter manager at Macy’s in the fragrance department, Uber, a recess coach, a remote learning supervisor, along with a few other roles with Urban Initiatives. She’s loves being a mom to Jaela(11), Lee’ann(6), and Brian (1), along with a list of bonus babies. Lastly, she aspires to one day own scattered site rehabilitation homes to help the homeless, less fortunate, or persons in need of temporary living spaces .

                        Bernadette Hansen- Ravenswood Elementary

                        Born and raised in Chicago, Bernie attended Lane Tech college prep and immediately began working with youth sports programming. She started with Urban initiatives in 2015 and has continued to grow and develop to better her skills with conflict resolution, social emotional learning, physical and mental Health.

                        Jenn Feliciano – Bateman Elementary

                        Jennifer was born and raised in Chicago, but she has lived in different states. She is a proud mother of six, her oldest being 20 and youngest 8. Jennifer is currently working on achieving one of her many goals of earning her Bachelors in Early Childhood and would one day love to be a first or second grade teacher. Her precious job prior to joining the Urban Initiatives team was as an Infant to Three’s teacher at a center in Andersonville. Jennifer is most eager to learn and grow with the UI team and help children grow.

                          Latia Hendricks- Prieto Elementary

                          • Damian Lopez- Shields Middle School

                          • Stephanie Mendoza-Martinez- Tarkington Elementary

                          • Savannah Kimbrew – Erie Charter Elementary

                          • Shania Mccall – Reavis Elementary

                            Being born and raised on the south side of Chicago Shania has a desire for giving back to the community by working with the youth. She is an Illinois media school graduate making her an advocate for creative expression.

                            • Carolyn Szontagh – Brenneman Elementary

                              Born and raised in Chicago. Carolyn is a mom of 5 beautiful girls, family is everything.

                            • Monae Pleasant – Christopher House Elementary

                              Monae Pleasant is a mom of 1 intelligent, handsome young man. Her passion and happiness for working with youth can often go unrecognized. This is because playing with and understanding youth as they grow comes naturally to her as it is similar to her own experiences of when she was growing up as a youth. She is so excited to be a part of the UI team to help kids keep a smile on their face as she does her job.

                          • Crystal Perez- Jahn Elementary

                            Born and raised in Chicago, Grew up on the Northside…Go Cubs! Mother of 3 Girls. Family is Everything to me.

                          • Earl Aaron – Mitchell Elementary

                        Laura Quintana -Dewey Elementary

                        Sabina Diaz

                        Sabina Diaz is a Chicago born and raised Latina woman who is determined to help the youth with further development. Sabina has been working with non profits before and has enjoyed contributing into bringing a change of vision. She is currently in school studying business and digital marketing. She is very determined and excited to be working with UI!

Available Jobs

Click here to see a full list of our available jobs.

Where We Work


  • Barnard- 10354 S Charles St

  • Bateman- 4220 N Richmond St

  • Beidler- 3151 W Walnut St

  • Brighton Park- 3825 Washtenaw Ave
  • Christopher House- 5235 W Belden Ave

  • Claremont- 2300 W 64th St

  • Clay- 13231 S Burley
  • Daley- 5024 S Wolcott Ave

  • Doolittle- 535 E 35th St

  • Faraday- 3250 W Monroe St

  • Foster Park- 8530 S Wood St
  • Goethe- 2236 N Rockwell St

  • Goudy- 5120 N Winthrop Ave

  • Greene- 3525 S Honore Ave

  • Gunsaulus- 4420 S Sacramento Ave

  • Harold Washington- 9130 S University Ave
  • Henry- 4250 N St Louis Ave

  • Phoebe Hearst- 4640 S Lamon
  • Mahalia Jackson- 917 W 88th St

  • Jahn- 3149 N Wolcott Ave

  • Joplin- 7931 S Honore
  • King- 644 W 71st St

  • Kozminski- 936 E 54th St

  • Libby- 5300 S Loomis Blvd

  • Little Village- 2620 S Lawndale Ave

  • George Leland- 512 S Lavergne
  • Lloyd- 2103 N Lamon Ave

  • Logandale- 3212 W George

  • Lozano- 1501 N Greenview
  • Marquette- 6550 S Richmond St

  • McClellan- 3527 S Wallace
  • McNair- 4820 W Walton St

  • Mitchell- 2233 W Ohio
  • Morton- 431 N Troy St

  • New Field- 1707 W Morse
  • Nixon- 2121 N Keeler Ave

  • Nobel- 4127 W Hirsch St

  • North River- 4416 N Troy St

  • National Teachers Academy- 55 W Cermak Rd

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

  • Pasteur- 5825 S Kostner Ave

  • Perkins Bass- 1140 W 66th
  • Piccolo- 1040 N Keeler Ave

  • Providence Englewood Charter School- 6515 S Ashland Ave

  • Ravenswood- 4332 N Paulina St

  • Reavis- 834 E 50th St

  • Schubert- 2727 N Long Ave
  • Shields- 2611 W 48th

  • Spencer- 214 N Lavergne

  • Stevenson- 8010 S Kostner Ave

  • Stone- 6239 N Leavitt St
  • Tarkington- 3330 W 71st St

  • Emmett Till- 6543 S Champlain
  • Walsh- 2015 S Peoria Street

  • Ward- 2701 S Shields Ave


Board of Directors

  • Neil Hirshman, Board Chair, Kirkland & Ellis
  • Sarah Naim, Board Vice-Chair, Grainger
  • Solomon Barnett, Optiver
  • Pete Cherecwich, Northern Trust
  • Patrick Croke, Croke Fairchild Morgan & Beres
  • T.J. Dammrich, Mercer Oak LLC
  • Jim Dower, Urban Initiatives
  • Ric Estrada, Metropolitan Family Services
  • Patrick Gallagher, Arthur J. Gallagher
  • Alaina Harkness, Current Innovation
  • Adolfo Hernandez, Pritzker Community Health
  • Ralf Hilpuesch, Storck USA
  • Adam Hitchcock, Sovereign Infrastructure Group
  • David Mahoney, CBRE
  • Kate McAdams, JP Morgan Private Bank
  • Edwin McDonald, MD, University of Chicago Medicine
  • Dave McGranahan, Relative Value Partners
  • Michael McGrew, Constellation Brands
  • Habib Moudachirou, V-Square Quantitative Management
  • Jason Pritzker, The Pritzker Organization, LLC
  • Ari Randolph, PayPal
  • Yeming Rankin, Rankin Family Ventures
  • Anel Ruiz, United

Partners Board

  • Brooke Alexander, Aramark
  • Michelle Baumann, VMLY&R Commerce
  • Jarrod Carter, Meta
  • Annika Clutch, Storck USA
  • Molly Costich, J.P. Morgan
  • Annie Couyoumjian, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
  • Richard Douglas, Themis Bar Review
  • Larry Fogel, Sidney Austin
  • Mike Galibois, Reed Smith
  • Patty Hester, National Student Leadership Conference
  • Jaime Hitch, Quaker/Pepsico
  • Iman Jalali, Bear Peak Capital
  • Enrique I. Juarez, Grainger
  • Lee Lampley, Northern Trust
  • DeJuan Lever, Luxe Business Partners
  • London Rakestraw, SCR Transportation
  • Sarah Smoler, Invenergy
  • Jonathan Taylor, XR Trading
  • Jared White, Madison Dearborn Partners

Associate Board

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


  • Orlando Aguirre, CBRE
  • Heidi Annaheim, PNC Capital Markets
  • Nathan Asher, Health Strategy
  • Julien Baneux, Cresset
  • Andrew Bartush, Eli Lilly & Company
  • Ryan Biek, Golin
  • Makeila Blanter, Forge
  • Michelle Baumann, VMLY&R COMMERCE
  • Doug A. Bowen, MBA Candidate
  • Jack Buehler, Kinesso
  • Finnian Bunta, Belvedere
  • Jamie Burt, Lindsay Pickett & Postel, LLC
  • Andrias Campbell, Fidelity Investments
  • Peter Campbell, Providence Equity Partners
  • Will Campbell, Huron Consulting
  • Alex Coggin, William Blair
  • Benjamin Cohen, Karis Gold
  • Andrew Cole, Arthur J. Gallagher
  • Chris Crimmins, Eastern Illinois University
  • Keegan De Silva, Great Point Capital
  • Brandon Deger, The Pritzker Organization
  • Shay Deverell, Citadel Securities
  • Caroline DeWeirdt, Mindshare
  • Ashley Dobbins, Spark Foundry
  • Brian Dobmeier, DoorDash
  • Joshua Dunn, Arcadis
  • Kevin Eisele, William Blair
  • Chris Ellison, Jump Trading
  • Jamie Ende, David A. Axelrod & Associates, P. C.
  • Holton Faust, Northwest Community Healthcare
  • Brian Flanagan, KPMG
  • Rachel Flanagan, Accenture
  • Nick Franz, Prairie Capital Advisors, INC.
  • Emily Friedl, Edelman Data & Intelligence
  • Harrison Freund, Cash App
  • Greg Friend, Nativo Inc.
  • Alex Gorniak, McDonald’s
  • Jeremy Guterl, Ketchum
  • Austin Haas, Sprout Social
  • Carter Hale, Avison Young
  • Kyle Hannon, Acrisure
  • Willy Hernandez, William Blair
  • Julian Hilpuesch, Slalom
  • Liz Hoppe, Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Lauren Horn, All Stars Project of Chicago
  • Brett Joseph, Sports Info Solutions
  • Conor Kelch, EY
  • Andre Kohn, VillageMD
  • Joe Kryza, GCM Grosvenor
  • Young Kwak, Citadel
  • Chris Laackman, AbbVie
  • Wendelina Lai, GTCR
  • Lauren LaVan, Harness Wealth
  • Bill Lawrence, US Court of Appeals 
  • Carly Levick, SVT Robotics
  • Erin Lippert, Bauman Center for Social Enterprise & Responsibility
  • Patrick Mahal, Antares Capital
  • Ali Malehorn, Gatorade/Pepsico
  • Joe Mark, Havas Media Group
  • Rick Marquardt, PepsiCo
  • Elise Marrinan, Qualtrics
  • Matt Matosian, Shore Capital Partners
  • Brian Mattoni, Priority Sports & Entertainment
  • Brandon Medina, Wind Point Partners
  • Jordan Metter, Comunidade FIT
  • John Moten IV, CBRE Capital Markets
  • Hannah Nichols, Fidus Investment Advisors
  • Susan Nichols, Guggenheim Technology Investment Banking
  • Erica Nied, Alexandra Jules LLC
  • Samantha Nitti, Trilogy Behavioral Health
  • Parth Patel, Abbvie
  • Cami Pham, Enova International
  • Kellan Pierucci, TD Ameritrade
  • Christen Baillie Plotkin, UBS
  • Rhian Pritchard, RSM US LLP
  • Brian Quirke, Davis & Hosfield Consulting LLC
  • Michael Quirke, Bain & Company
  • Jose Ramos, Community Investment Corporation
  • John Reglin, imnotArt
  • Will Reichert
  • Libby Rice, Innosight
  • Quinn Ricketts, Chicago Cubs
  • A.J. Riddell, Compass Group
  • Chris Ritter, Crafty
  • Catherine Sangster, Purpose London
  • Lars Skattum, William Blair
  • Sarah Skoog, Home Chef
  • Derek Skoog, PwC
  • Annaka Stoeckel, Home Chef
  • Mia Stokes, Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund
  • Isaac Torres-Villa, JPMorgan Chase & Co
  • Hannah Tzeghai, PepsiCo
  • Melissa Valentino, Tom, Dick & Harry Creative Co.
  • Cameron Van Wyk, Discover Financial Services
  • Emily VanGilder, Roku
  • Tyler VanGilder, William Blair
  • Kate Walsh, Consultant
  • Christopher Wang, Grainger
  • Katie Wells, Equity Group Investments
  • Nicole Willens, Northwestern Medicine
  • Lauren Wolf, Amazon Web Services
  • Coety Wyse, the Competence Group
  • Shelby Zang, BSL Studios
  • Katie Zara, Kraft Heinz
  • Austin Zimmerman, RealtyAds

Advisory Board

  • Jen Axelrod, Chicago Community Trust
  • Eddie Bustamante, UIC
  • Felicia Davis-Blakely, Chicago Foundation for Women
  • Connie Falcone, Northwestern Memorial Foundation
  • ME Girgenti, Philanthropist
  • Alicia Gonzalez, Cubs Charities
  • Christian Gordon, JP Morgan Chase
  • Nelson Padilla, Youth Development Worker
  • London Rakestraw, SCR Transportation
  • Katy Reichert, Philanthropist
  • Stacy Stutz, Independent Consultant
  • Nancy Sullivan, Illinois Ventures
  • Cedric Thurman, Federal Home Loan Bank
  • Jasmine Thurmond, King Academy of Social Justice
  • Lisa Wiersma, IMC Chicago Charitable Foundation


Sustaining Sponsors

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company
  • Baskin Family Foundation
  • Belvedere
  • Cubs Care, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
  • Chicago Blackhawks Foundation
  • Chicago Department of Family & Support Services
  • Crown Family Philanthropies
  • IMC
  • J.R. Albert Foundation
  • Lettuce Entertain You
  • Michael Lewis Company
  • Nike
  • Optiver
  • Orlebeke Foundation
  • Polk Foundation
  • Prince Charitable Trusts
  • Quest Foundation
  • Revel
  • Sodexo
  • Sprout Social
  • Storck USA, L.P.
  • Target Corporation
  • Union Pacific

Champion Partners

Attorney’s Title Guaranty
Bessemer Family Trust
Solomon Barnett & Camila Salvisberg
Belvedere Trading
Sue & Jim Blomberg
BMO Harris Bank
Andy Campbell & Susan Rancourt
Cherecwich Family
Chicago Department of Family & Support Services
Cubs Care, a fund of the McCormick Foundation
Gallagher Family
Hirshman Family
Jalmar Foundation
McGranahan Family
Cece & Tom Ricketts
Storck USA, L.P.
Winslow Family


Work to Play Cup Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

  • Target

Team Sponsors

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • Armour Family
  • Avant
  • Blitz Capital Group
  • Coffman Family 
  • Matt Colman, Sam Hong & Dan Lewis
  • Brian Crabb and Christine Cucinotta
  • Crimmins Family
  • Daley Financial Partners
  • Fortier Family
  • Friedli Family
  • Gallagher
  • GATX
  • Girgenti Family
  • Glew Family
  • Grainger
  • Hatch con Arepas
  • Hilpuesch Family
  • Hirshman Family
  • Hudson Family
  • IMC
  • Jackson 
  • Steve and Julie Kaiser
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Sheila and Mike McGrew 
  • Mulaney-Gryzenia Family 
  • National Student Leadership Conference
  • Northern Trust
  • PPM America
  • Karen Schweickart
  • Storck, USA
  • Themis Bar Review
  • Tilson Family
  • The Urban Initiatives Partners Board
  • William Blair
  • Woodman Cison & Associates
  • Denise & Bill Wozencraft
  • 2018 Thanks-for-Giving Paddle Tournament

In Kind Sponsors

  • Aramark
  • Chicago Park District
  • Flood Brothers
  • Split 

Corporate Challenge Cup Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor


Team Sponsors

  • Accenture
  • Allstate
  • Bain
  • BDT & Company
  • BDT
  • Belvedere
  • Blitz Capital
  • Chicago Reach
  • Citadel Securities
  • Gallagher
  • GATX
  • Glassdoor
  • Grainger
  • Huron Consulting
  • IMC
  • Jump Trading
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Limelight
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Morningstar
  • Northern Trust
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Optiver
  • PwC
  • ReedSmith
  • Sidley Austin
  • Spencer Stuart
  • Storck
  • Taft Law
  • William Blair

In Kind Sponsors

  • Chicago Indoor Sports 
  • 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. 

88% of expenses directly support our programs.

For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2021, Urban Initiatives had:

  • Total income:  $4,479,698
  • Total program expenses: $3,154,481
  • Total management and general expenses: $429,572
  • Total fundraising expenses: $4,411
  • End of year net assets: $2,547,177