Showing posts from August, 2017

Exciting Times for the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance

by Molly Baltman-Leonard, Assistant Director/Grantmaking, Communities Program In May 2017, the Chicagoland Workforce Funders Alliance , a collaboration of foundations and corporate funders focused on employment equity, received a $1 million personal gift from President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. The Obama’s donation will support an effort to open apprenticeship pathways into the building trades for adults, especially young adults, who have been underrepresented in the trades sector. In partnership with the Obama Foundation, the Chicago Jobs Council, and a variety of other foundations and corporate partners, the Obamas’ gift will help to identify and solve workforce challenges within the Building Trade Sector such as: Capturing better data on diversity and inclusion. Coordinating leadership from "construction buyers" to support shared solutions and track progress in the sector as a whole. Designing and supporting effective career pathways for y

Striving Together to Support Illinois Veterans

A look at several community collaborations working together to serve veterans. by Megan Everett, Director, Veterans Program When veterans come home they do not return to federal agencies; they return to communities across the country. And many of these communities do not have the knowledge, capacity and/or resources to support veterans, especially those facing service-related challenges. While most veterans successfully transition into civilian life, those who need assistance find that the post-service process can be frustrating and support hard to come by. There are approximately 415,000 veterans in the Chicagoland area, 700,000 in the state of Illinois. The McCormick Foundation veterans program strives to make Illinois the best state for veterans and military families to thrive. One way we approach this mission is to support pathways and networks to coordinated outcome-based programs that provide transitioning service members, veterans and military families ease of access to

Beyond the Classroom: Promoting Civic Learning at Home

by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Director, Democracy Program As a young boy, I developed an early interest in politics, thanks in part to the influence of my parents and grandparents. I recall my father bringing me along with him to vote, my paternal grandmother taking two newspapers each day and faithfully watching gavel-to-gavel coverage of the party conventions, and my maternal grandmother meeting with her alderman at the kitchen table. Now, with two kids of my own, I’ve tried my very best to pass the torch, modeling these same behaviors and demonstrating my daily commitment to strengthening democracy in Illinois. However, democracy is not a solitary sport. Schools, community members, and families must come together to educate the next generation to collectively discuss and resolve common problems. In early August, I attended the 2017 Summer Convening of the Action Civics Initiative in Philadelphia where I participated in a Facebook Live session sponsored by Pearson . During the sess

First Division Museum Reopens at Cantigny Park

The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton reopened its doors to the public on Saturday, August 26. The Museum began a transformational update last fall including the addition of “Duty First,” an all-new gallery focusing on the modern (post-Vietnam) history of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division. The new experience features new and updated exhibits plus cutting-edge storytelling techniques. The “Duty First” gallery occupies the 2,500-square-foot space formerly used for temporary exhibits and programs. Inside it, visitors will learn about the different types of missions performed by the 1st Infantry Division today with the information, in many cases, delivered by the voices of military veterans. Interactive exhibits apply virtual reality technology that is sure to leave a lasting impression. The First Division Museum’s other major gallery is “First in War.” This space, thoroughly updated with new media and more artifacts, will be familiar to previous visitors. Powerful immers