A leadership program for high-impact nonprofit organizations serving Chicago’s Black community
Tyeise Huntley: IGNITE is the signature offering of the Golub Capital Social Impact Lab at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business' Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, in partnership with the Chicago Urban League. IGNITE is a nine-month leadership program for nonprofit organizations, primarily serving Chicago's Black community. Combining world-class business education, coaching, networking, peer mentorship, and consulting assistance to equip nonprofit leaders and teams with the tools to expand their impact.
David Golub: Golub Capital and Booth were both committed to our Chicago community, and with IGNITE we can bring Booth and its world-class content on nonprofit leadership, its vast network of nonprofit and for-profit alumni, its expertise in social sector innovation, and the shared commitment to the Black community, all to the table. We're committed to building and scaling Ignite, so we can help enhance the impact of some of Chicago's most promising nonprofits.
Jailen Ellis: Working in the nonprofit sector, it's easy to be swallowed by your work and fields, some of your challenges are uniquely overwhelming. The leadership circles and the connections I made during that really gave me some new approaches, and perspectives to challenges I faced, both personally and professionally.
Rosa Zamora: The theory of change and program alignment modules allowed us to reflect on who our target population is, what our essential activities are, and what our secret sauce is.
George Wu: I've been on the faculty of Chicago Booth for over 25 years, and our partnership with Chicago Urban League has been one of the highlights of my career. Thanks to our support from Golub Capital, we're now able to bring Booth educational content and relationships to build capacity in nonprofits, primarily serving the Black community in Chicago.
Aisha Cornelius-Edwards: Executive coaching as a part of IGNITE has been extremely helpful. The executive coach was very well matched for my needs, very knowledgeable, she's very intuitive, and it was so important for me to have a dedicated space in addition to the group coaching that was focused on my growth as a leader.
Roxanne Montecillo: Sometimes it's very easy to get caught up in the everyday operations that our jobs entail. So these supplemental modules are very much appreciated and highly needed moments for us.
Karen Freeoman-Wilson: Nonprofit leaders have the pulse of the Black community in Chicago and are deeply immersed in their work. As the former mayor of Gary, Indiana, I know the challenges and obstacles firsthand. Using our network and long-steeped history in the community, We are excited to help facilitate new connections and conversation.
Sarah Spunt: We use the Capacity Building Investment from IGNITE to dive deeper into our data and set priorities for evaluating how social connections and wellbeing components of our work directly impact financial strength outcomes.
Cosette Nazon-Wilburn: What I loved most about the leadership circles was the connectedness I felt. Our facilitator was great at creating a safe place for us to share intimately. It was like a no judgment zone, where I could share personally and professionally, the issues I was grappling with. I gained friends, but most of all it helped me to expand my confidence and my leadership.
Ayesha Jaco: Our team and organization emerged from Ignite with tangible roadmaps and toolkits that empower us to refine how we care for ourselves, track our progress and impact, and serve our communities.
Deanna Mcleary-Sherman: Oftentimes, you are in a silo in this work with limited time to collaborate and network across. But Ignite provided that space and platform to build relationships with leaders in the work who come from various backgrounds and experiences that you could lean on for support, encouragement, and advice. True Star even found its new space and studio through the IGNITE cohort.
Tyeise Huntley: I'm in complete awe of the work the organizations are doing to serve the Black community in Chicago. IGNITE affirms the importance of the nonprofits and provides an opportunity for the leaders to fine tune key levers of change within in their organization and grow their presence and impact in the city of Chicago. We are so excited to be a part of the journey with these incredible leaders and organizations.
About the Program
- Classroom sessions led by Chicago Booth faculty and nonprofit practitioners, including sessions on strategy, decision-making, and securing and managing resources
- Networking with prominent philanthropists and Black leaders in Chicago
- Monthly executive coaching exclusively for executive directors/CEOs
- Organizational coaching
- Leadership circles that bring together participants in facilitated discussion groups
- Closing retreat (New York City) to reflect on experience, build connections with nonprofits in a new market, and celebrate
- Financial stipends of up to $10K per organization to support capacity-building work
- $13K Credit for Booth Executive Education programs taught by Booth Faculty
Who Should Apply
Nonprofit organizations who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:
- Annual Operating Budget of $500K+
- Established leadership team
- Predominantly serve the Black community in Chicago
To develop, market, and grow IGNITE, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the Chicago Booth School of Business is partnering with Golub Capital and the Chicago Urban League. Partnering with the Chicago Urban League will offer a connection to its network of accomplished nonprofit leaders, as well as an opportunity to scale the program to other National Urban League affiliates throughout the country.
The leadership teams of eight Chicago nonprofits participated in the inaugural cohort of IGNITE.
The leadership teams of selected Chicago nonprofits will be chosen for the 2024 cohort of IGNITE. Applications for the 2024 cohort open this Fall.
By leadership team, we are referring to thought partners of the Executive Director or CEO. This team might include titles like Director or Chief of Finance, Operations, Development, Programs etc. Each organization can bring three members of their leadership team including the Executive Director/CEO. If you have a larger team, we will work with your organization individually to determine the best path forward.
Yes, Golub Capital has made a generous gift and we do have funding for five years. If your organization is not selected this year, you may apply again.
Yes. Although we are not asking organizations for financial commitments, we are asking for a substantial time commitment. It is important for your organization and Board of Directors to have a conversation about whether you are able to devote the resources to fully engage in this program.
We understand that the needs of your organization may change during the course of the program. If you are unable to fulfill the attendance requirements, we would move your organization to the following year.
No, thanks to the generous contribution by Golub Capital, there is no cost to the organization
We are limiting participation to nonprofit organizations that serve the Black community within Chicago city limits.
We anticipate individuals will spend anywhere from 4-6 hours per month outside of in person sessions. This includes time for pre-work for sessions, organization meetings, and coaching.