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The leadership teams of seven Chicago nonprofits will participate in the second cohort of IGNITE, a unique program designed to help amplify the impact of organizations serving the Black community in Chicago.

The selected nonprofits work to uplift their communities through supporting students in under-resourced schools, paving the way for success in college and beyond, eliminating inequities in healthcare, inspiring girls to be strong, creating transformative works rooted in the African diaspora, empowering entrepreneurs, and providing programs to transition out of poverty.

Established with a significant five-year commitment from Golub Capital, IGNITE is the signature offering of the Golub Capital Social Impact Lab at the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The program, developed In partnership with Golub Capital and the Chicago Urban League, offers tailored resources to the leaders of nonprofits serving the Black community in Chicago to strengthen and scale the impact of their organizations.

“Our second cohort consists of seven exceptional nonprofit organizations that are passionate about serving Chicago’s Black community. It is a privilege to work with the leadership teams and help further their impact with the world-class resources at Chicago Booth,” said Tyeise Huntley, director of the Golub Capital Lab.

“Nonprofits have the power to make our communities better and to be levers for change,” said David Golub, president of Golub Capital. “We are inspired by IGNITE’s second cohort of nonprofit leaders and we are proud to support Chicago Booth in amplifying their impact.”

The nine month program includes classroom sessions led by Chicago Booth faculty and nonprofit practitioners, networking opportunities with leading philanthropists and Black leaders in Chicago, monthly executive coaching, peer discussions in leadership circles, and financial stipends to support capacity building work. Topics for the classroom sessions include strategy, decision making, and securing and managing resources. Retreats at the beginning and the end of the program help participants build connections and reflect on the shared experience. 

The program kicks off at the end of January and ends in September 2024. Applications for the 2024-25 cohort will open in the fall of 2025.

To learn more, visit IGNITE.


IGNITE Participants


City Year Chicago
Provides holistic support to students in systematically under-resourced schools while also supporting the development of AmeriCorps members who serve as student success coaches.
Valencia Koker (SVP and Executive Director), Jaya Miller, Carlena Rice

Common Ground Foundation
Empowers high school students from high-potential communities to become future leaders through programs focused on character development, civic engagement, financial literacy. creative expression, and more.
Karl Kemp (Executive Director), Kaira Peyton, Bianca Thompson
Equal Hope
Eliminates health inequities and saves lives with a holistic approach that includes research, quality assessment and improvements, advocacy, education and patient navigation. 
Paris Thomas (Executive Director), Jiana Calixto, John McIlwain

Girls Inc. of Chicago
Inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy.
Yani Mason (CEO), Lona Slaughter, Tiara Goodwin

Link Unlimited Scholars
Connects Black students with the resources and support for success as they advance to, through, and beyond college. 
Toinette Gunn (President and CEO), Janine Franklin, Camielle Taylor

Sunshine Enterprises, Inc.
Empowers high-potential entrepreneurs living in under-resourced neighborhoods to launch and grow their businesses and transform their communities.
B.J.Stewart (Executive Director), Laura Lane Taylor, Ryan Pederson

The Hope Center Foundation
Provides imaginative, solution-focused programs that equip and inspire residents to transition out of poverty to living wage and into generational wealth.
Shenita Muse (Executive Director), Ezra Johnson, Rev. James T. Meeks

The Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation is the destination at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business for people committed to helping solve complex social and environmental problems.As Chicago Booth’s social impact hub, the Rustandy Center offers hands-on learning opportunities, supports innovative courses, and pursues research—all with the goal of developing people and practices with the potential to solve the world’s biggest problems.

Golub Capital is a market-leading, award-winning direct lender and experienced credit asset manager. It specializes in delivering reliable, creative, and compelling financing solutions to companies backed by private equity sponsors.

Chicago Urban League is one of the oldest and largest affiliates of the National Urban League. It works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment.

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