RISE Program RFP

mentoring I thank Sandra Glenn, Program Director, Prevention Force Family Center, for sharing the following information regarding the RISE program.

The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) is soliciting applications from qualified and interested Respondents for providers who are able to administer the Restoring Individuals through Supportive Environments (R.I.S.E.) program. RISE is a 6-month diversion program for youth that provides intensive mentoring and opportunities for skill-building for justice-involved youth through a 4-month curriculum focused on civic engagement and restorative justice.

DFSS launched a pilot at the Juvenile Intervention Support Center to provide a
community-based intensive mentoring and skill-building diversion program. The
program utilizes a standardized curriculum to empower youth through skill building and intensive mentoring to address barriers to their success. The program is designed for justice-involved males (minimum of two arrests) between the ages of 15 and 17. In 2015, the pilot program is being expanded to provide services to youth in additional communities throughout the city of Chicago. This program will be part of a randomized control trial to evaluate the impacts of the program components on youth outcomes.

This program will expand the eligible youth population for referral to include designated police districts and community-based agencies. Youth identified for participation will receive services in the communities where they live or can easily access to reduce barriers to participation. The goal of this intervention is to reduce rates of re-arrest due to involvement in incidents of violence among program participants and increase their connection to pro-social activities (academics, sports, arts, etc.) and institutions in their neighborhoods (school, community organizations, etc).

Download an overview of the RISE program here.

Finish reading and downloading the RFP here.


Follow Up to November 7, 2014 Tutor/Mentor Conference

Val-Tutor Mentor Program Development WorkshopI would like to thank Dan Bassill, the Founder of the Tutor/Mentor Conference, for inviting me to present a workshop, “If I Build It, Will They Come?” We covered a number of topics, including

  • Engaging community stakeholders
  • Building teams
  • The differences between and relationships among the theory of change, strategic planning, business planning, programs and services
  • Community needs assessments
  • Goals, objectives and key indicators
  • Program logic models
  • Developing budgets
  • Developing work plans
  • Fundraising considerations
  • Evaluation
  • Developing program infrastructure

The handouts included a case study that provided an opportunity to apply principles learned from the presentation, a sample program logic model and worksheet, a sample budget and worksheet and a sample work plan and worksheet. Time constraints did not permit us to do the in-class exercises, but participants were able to take them home and share within their networks.

Photo courtesy of Daniel F. Bassill.

Valerie F. Leonard works with local organizations to create sustainable communities through technical assistance, specialized workshops and special projects. Visit Valeriefleonard.com for more information.


Video from City Club of Chicago Panel on School Closings in Chicago

City Club PanelLink to City Club Video


The City Club of Chicago hosted a panel discussion on school closings in Chicago on October 23, 2014. The panel included Tom Tyrell, Chief Operating Officer of Chicago Public Schools; Carlos Azcoitia, a member of the Chicago Board of Education; Andrea Zopp, a member of the Chicago Board of Education; Carol Caref, PhD, Research Director for the Chicago Teachers Union and myself. I spoke from my experiences as the co-founder of the Lawndale Alliance. My speaking points are outlined below.

  1. We have found the CPS bureaucracy to be unwilling to work with the community. A broad base of North Lawndale stakeholders, including the CAC and elected officials put together an alternative plan for school closures that included plans for school improvement and a comprehensive array of community resources to provide support. We sent the plan to CPS and they ignored it. We invited them to a press conference to review the plan and they refused to come out. After schools were closed we sent emails asking for assistance in understanding the budget, and never got an answer. They refused to answer a FOIA request for information regarding the impact of school closures on budgets and programs. We invited them to participate in town hall meetings and they refused.
  2. School closures have accelerated privatization in North Lawndale. As a result of school closings and turnarounds only one third of North Lawndale schools are traditional public schools. Two thirds are privately controlled but publicly funded.
  3. The biggest winner in school closings for North Lawndale has been AUSL. They now control every school in and around Douglas Park. When Henson closed, even though Hughes was named the receiving school, only 30% of the old Henson attendance boundary was folded into Hughes school, and 20% was folded into Webster. The remaining 50% of the old Henson boundary was folded into AUSL Herzl.
  4. Mayor Emanuel assigned a committee to put together school repurposing plan. It was an excellent plan that called for engaging the community in local planning processes and called for providing technical assistance to local communities. There was no representation on the committee from African Americans on the West Side until the work was done. Our suggestions for ways the planning process could be improved was ignored. There was a meeting in the community and CPS sent someone who didn’t even know the repurposing plan existed. CPS has refused to engage North Lawndale in a planning process in spite of the fact that UIC and CMAP have expressed a willingness to help.
  5. School closures have compounded segregation in North Lawndale. Paderewski was the only school in North Lawndale that served both the African American and Latino communities and provide opportunities for interaction across cultural lines. The new attendance boundaries were drawn such that in the future, students living north of Cermak, who happened to be African American for the most part, would be relegated to schools that were not performing as well as Paderewski before it closed. Students living south of Cermak would have better options.
  6. When schools were closed, CPS said they would save money and that the schools that remained open would be better resourced. In the two years since schools have closed, CPS has increased its total budget by over 500 million dollars. At the same time, they reduced investment in neighborhood schools by over $232 million, and increased investment in charter schools by over $82 million dollars. They borrowed $363 million to finance school closings and costs for moving expenses tripled from $8.9 million to $30 million. To this day we don’t know how much school closings cost the taxpayers. Local media have sued CPS to get true cost of school closures. Whatever the cost, it is too high. We need an elected school board that will be accountable to the people.

Image from Kristine Mayle.


Axa Achievement Scholarship

I thank Jeffrey Wilson for providing the following information.

AXA Acheivement
Because AXA understands how challenging the road to college can be, we created AXA Achievementsm, helping make college possible by providing more than $1.4 million a year in scholarships. Here are the current scholarship opportunities.
AXA Achievementsm Scholarship in association with U.S. News & World Report:

  • Enrollment is open. Apply now!
  • Scholarships of $10,000 and $25,000 with a winner in every state, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico
  • Deadline is December 15, 2014 with only the first 10,000 applications accepted

AXA Achievementsm Community Scholarship:

  • Enrollment is open. Apply now!
  • Scholarships of $2,500 with up to 375 winners nationwide
  • Deadline is Feburary 1, 2015 with only the first 10,000 applications accepted
Visit axa-achievement.com to learn more about the AXA Achievementsm Scholarship andAXA Achievementsm Community Scholarship. You may also contact me with questions.
Jeffrey Wilson

(630) 575-5052

1515 W. 22nd Street * Suite 300 * Oak Brook, IL * 60523
Jeffrey Wilson is a registered representative and investment advisor representative who offers securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA/SIPC, and is an agent who offers annuity and insurance products through AXA Network, LLC and/or its insurance agency subsidiaries. AXA Network, LLC does business in California as AXA Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC and, in Utah, as AXA Network Insurance Agency of Utah, LLC. AXA Advisors and AXA Network are affiliated companies and do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult with your professional tax and legal advisors regarding your particular circumstances. Representatives may transact business, which includes offering products and services and/or responding to inquiries, only in state(s) in which they are properly registered and/or licensed. Your receipt of this e-mail does not necessarily indicate that the sender is able to transact business in your state.

October 27th Meeting of Business Enterprise Council for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities

I thank Emmanuel Jackson for providing the following announcement.

Business Enterprise Council for Minorities, Females, and Persons with
Next Council Mtg. – October 27, 2014
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
100 W. Randolph 401 S. Spring St.
Room 2-025 Room 500 1/2
Chicago, IL 60601

. Committee Updates
• Procurement Committee
• Business Development Committee
• Capital Access and Banking Committee
• Certification Committee
• Policy, Rules and Enforcement Committee

This council has a great deal of power under Senate Bill 51. The problem is companies almost never show up. They have to have something to advocate for. This is the council that decides rather companies receive waivers for BEP participation. There are many other issues that they deal with. My only suggestion is that when you go to the council have your company in position to do business. Make sure you are in good standing with the state. It is always helpful that you are certified with CMS as a BEP company.




Learn how to make this your biggest sales season
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#SmallGoesBig at Twitter HQ - Tuesday, Oct. 28th from 8 AM-11 AM PT
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What Funders Are Looking For


Thirty years ago, organizations could tell warm and fuzzy stories, describe their work in terms of the number of people served, and almost be assured of funding. That’s not always true today. Although heart-warming human interest stories and reaching large numbers of people are important, funders are demanding to see measureable returns on their social investments. On top of that, their funding criteria and priorities change from time to time, making nonprofit leaders wonder how foundations are really making funding decisions.

GuideStar commissioned Hope Consulting to conduct a survey of 4,000 high net worth individuals and foundations in 2010 to get a sense for how donors make funding decisions. They were specifically interested in learning how donors conducted research of organizations, and whether their findings impacted giving.  In 2011, they commissioned Hope Consulting to survey 6,000 affluent donors and foundations to find out what information they were seeking from nonprofits and the sources they used to get their information. They also wanted to know if there was a typical format in which high net worth individuals would like to receive the information.

GuideStar and Hope Consulting explored 10 factors that impact donors’ decision to give or deny funding. They found that foundations were most driven by causes and the level of impact organizations made through their programs and services.  Foundations were more likely to give to the highest-performing organizations that align in their cause areas of interest. Foundations were least likely to take into consideration personal connections with the organization, the organization’s reputation, or input from colleagues.

Individual donors were likely to spend less than one half hour doing research on organizations before giving. Foundations, on the other hand, were likely to spend 4-6 hours researching organizations before giving. Some foundations spent more than a week. Foundations typically compared prospective donors with similar organizations, focusing on the degree to which programs have made a positive impact upon their clients and communities.  Other factors that were strongly considered included financial management practices and performance; whether or not the organizations were current in their filings with the IRS and state agencies and the organization’s legitimacy in the community and nonprofit sector.

Currently, foundations are most likely to get their information from sources like the organizations’ funding proposals, site visits, conversations with organizational leaders and word of mouth from other grant makers.  In the future, it is expected that funders will get most of their information from sources like the GuideStar website, which currently collects data on every nonprofit in the country, including their form 990’s, organizational profiles and stakeholder reviews of those organizations.  It is also expected that foundations will rely more heavily on reviewing organizations’ websites and other government and commercial databases that track organizational performance.

Given what we know about how foundations make funding decisions, and where they get their information, how should nonprofits proceed?  It goes without saying that organizations should keep good financial records and make sure their filings with the IRS and state agencies are current. While it’s not a requirement, organizations can set themselves apart by posting their Form 990’s on their websites and updating their GuideStar profiles.  Other items that should be posted on the organization’s website include organizational newsletters, evaluation results, annual reports, client satisfaction questionnaires and results, board and staff bios, and program descriptions and outcomes. After prospective funders leave your website, they should have a very good sense for the quality of organizational leadership, the impact of the organization’s programs and services in the community, how well the organization manages its finances and whether the organization has legitimacy in the community. If funders were to visit your website today, what would they find?

About the Author

Valerie F. Leonard is an expert in community and organizational development, with a mission to strengthen the capacity of organizations to make a positive impact on the communities they serve through technical assistance, specialized workshops, resource and organizational development and project management. She is also an instructor with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Online Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program is a member of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Citizen Advisory Committee and North Lawndale Innovation Zone.  For further information, visit www.valeriefleonard.com or e-mail her at consulting@valeriefleonard.com.





Paul Norrington to Receive the Local Community Heroes Award from NHS

Congratulations to Paul Norrington, who will be receiving a Local Neighborhood Heroes Award for North Lawndale.  Paul is the Vice President of the K-Town Historic District and the driving force behind the application for a Presidential Library in North Lawndale.  He is active in a number of other activities and supports every positive initiative in North Lawndale. Please, come out and show your support for Paul.

Join Us
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Reception | 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Program
Bridgeport Art Center
 1200 W 35th St., Chicago, IL 60609

Join us as we welcome new NHS President Kristin L. Faust and celebrate Neighborhood Heroes such as:
Diana Rubio, who has served the Back of the Yards community for over 15 years. She has dedicated her life to the betterment of youth and operates under the belief that “no child is born to be bad and with the right directions kids can change.”
Cheryl Johnson, who is responsible for the creation of the 79th Street Renaissance Festival and Family Peace Jam, that brings thousands of people and positive press into the Auburn Gresham community each year.
Dennis Verges, a Chair on the NHS of the Fox Valley Advisory Council and Vice President of the Puerto Rican Heritage Organization while mentoring young adults by guiding them successfully on a path to realize their full potential.
Hear more about Ms. Rubio, Ms. Johnson, Mr. Verges and the 6 other Heroes strengthening their communities.
Dessert reception generously underwritten by:  
Please RSVP to this free event to: Lakesha Nelson

at (773) 329-4138 or email: lnelson@nhschicago.org. 

Host Committee Members: 
Linda L. Boyer, Inland Bank, Committee Chair
Angelica Dillon, North Shore Community Bank
Zach Goldman, First Eagle Bank
          Teresa Handley, Wintrust Financial         
Cornell Lurry, First Midwest Bank
Mary Morstadt, Standard Bank and Trust Co.
Art Neville, Community Savings Bank
Thomas Olivieri, First Bank of Highland Park
Yvonne Riechers, Republic Bank
Steve Rosenbaum, Prospect Federal Savings Bank
Deborah Ross, FirstMerit Bank
Cherilyn Simmons, First Savings Bank of Hegewisch
Rosie Verdin, Bridgeview Bank Mortgage