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Dear friends, 

As Chicago Booth celebrated its 125th year in 2023, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation marked its 10th anniversary. This spring, more than 300 people—students, alumni, faculty, and members of the community—gathered to toast the center’s 10 years of impact. The center is now a thriving hub for social impact and innovation in the classroom and within our communities. 

2022–23 had plenty of its own highlights. 

Students managing the Steven Tarrson Impact Investment Fund invested $100,000 in two early-stage social ventures. More than 200 alumni gathered to discuss nonprofit governance in new virtual On Board sessions. We launched the inaugural cohort of IGNITE, our leadership program that supports nonprofits serving the Black community in Chicago. Thought leaders from business, academia, and other sectors joined us to discuss sustainability, equity, and governance. You will find these and other highlights in the following report.

As we look ahead to the next 10 years, we know that much needs to be done. We also know that we cannot do it without your support.

Warm regards,

Rob Gertner Illustration

Rob Gertner

Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance; John Edwardson Faculty Director, Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation

Rob Gertner

Tenth Anniversary of the Rustandy Center

From a single class on social impact strategy, the Rustandy Center has evolved into a dynamic hub for social sector innovation for Chicago Booth and for the university, supporting current and future leaders dedicated to tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

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2022–23 Highlights

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UChicago researchers working on social issues and organizational practices in ESG utilized the center’s Data Hub to access robust, high-cost datasets.

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Total investment by the student-managed Steven Tarrson Impact Investment Fund in two pioneering social ventures, Kadeya and Harmon Care.

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19 Courses
focused on social impact at Booth combine business fundamentals with experiential learning and research. A new course, Navigating the ESG Landscape: Information, Sustainability Reporting, and Analysis, reflects the emphasis on equipping students to meet emerging needs. Taught from an accounting perspective, the course discusses what CSR, ESG, and sustainability mean, and how they relate to corporate objectives and the purpose of the firm.

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14 Years
is the average amount of time an innocent person will spend in prison while waiting for appeals to make their way through the justice system. Period, the winner of the 2023 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge, helps connect prisoners with lawyers and advocates, substantially reducing delays in the appeals process. Seven ventures competed for more than $150,000 in funding in the Edwardson SNVC finals.

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8 Nonprofits
participated in the inaugural cohort of IGNITE, a unique leadership program for leadership teams of organizations serving the Black community in Chicago, developed by Chicago Booth in partnership with Golub Capital and the Chicago Urban League.

“IGNITE provided space to zoom out and make sure we were thinking about the big picture, the strategic overview, and how everything fits together.”
—Aisha Edwards, Executive Director, Cabrini Green Legal Aid

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3 CEOs
Roger Hochschild, then CEO of Discover; Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd; and E. Scott Santi, CEO of Illinois Tool Works, discussed what Chicago-area companies can do to address the racial and economic disparities in the city at the Innovating for Social Equity: Anchoring Economic Growth in Chicago event.

“I had been thinking of how corporate site selection perpetuates systemic bias. Only large companies bring jobs at scale. We were convinced that it would work out.”
—Roger Hochschild on locating a new call center in Chatham, a historically underinvested neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side

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1st Place
A team of four second-year Chicago Booth MBA students won the top prize of $20,000 at the NAPE/TCU Energy Innovation Case Competition for their recommendations on whether publicly traded US oil and gas companies should prioritize energy transition projects or double down on legacy businesses.

“When you participate in energy case competitions, you learn about new perspectives, you see new projections, you hear about new technologies that will transform the future of energy. It’s very eye-opening.”
—Zoe Wang, ’23

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2 Days
were filled with research presentations and discussions at the Conference on Discrimination in the 21st Century, co-hosted by the Rustandy Center and the Becker Friedman Institute. Researchers examined discrimination from early childhood onward, including topics such as affirmative action, standardized testing, and corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Discrimination is one of the most prominent features of our society today, and it is our duty as academics to generate insights that will help promote equal opportunities for everyone.”
—Pietro Veronesi, Deputy Dean for Faculty and Chicago Board of Trade Professor of Finance

33 Alumni
participated in the inaugural Nonprofit Leadership Circles, which bring together small cohorts of Booth alumni who are experienced nonprofit board members. Meeting over six months, participants shared challenges and opportunities at their organizations, identified and committed to key actions that will make a difference for their board, and contributed to a collaborative learning experience.

200+ Attendees
from across the United States joined quarterly virtual On Board sessions to explore nonprofit board governance and strategy. The sessions included a debate on the value of a chief governance officer on nonprofit boards, a discussion on how to boost board engagement, and workshops on finding the “right fit” board.

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social ventures participated in the three-month Global Launchpad, offered by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Programme on Social Innovation.

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