2011  Public Service Award

Eric Weinheimer, ’94

President and CEO  –  The Cara Program

Pat Basu

More than a decade into his financial services career, Eric Weinheimer discovered that his true passion lay in mission-driven work. As president and CEO of The Cara Program—a Chicago-based organization that works to alleviate poverty by encouraging self-sufficiency—he has spent the past 15 years applying his strong analytical skills to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Although he had no formal training in regard to fundraising, personnel management, or even community volunteerism when he first accepted the position at The Cara Program, Weinheimer relied on his experience in corporate banking and the skills he acquired while earning his MBA through Chicago Booth's Evening MBA Program to develop an effective leadership team and balance the organization's financial goals with its broader social mission. Leveraging his familiarity with data-driven methods, Weinheimer was able to quantitatively measure The Cara Program's success, performance, and "social return on investment." His use of metrics to demonstrate impact has become a national model for best practices within nonprofit management. Today, The Cara Program is an award-winning organization with a variety of innovative programs that help transition people out of poverty and into sustainable employment and brighter futures.