Member Networks

Getting involved in our Member Networks is a great way to learn and network with colleagues. Groups sponsor lively discussions, develop educational programs, and often create collaborative efforts to address relevant issues. 

Group composition varies. Currently, most Member Networks are comprised of grantmakers. Some also engage operating nonprofits and/or advisors, designated by an asterisk below. For information about which groups are a good fit for your organization, please email Kim Casey at kcasey@myforefront.org.

Advisor Members Network
Forefront's Advisor Members Network is a partnership with the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits, together we hold periodic programs on areas of mutual interest and provide opportunities to learn and network with other Advisor Members. Access Your Network's Resources

Arts and Culture Group*
Co-chair: Tracie Hall, The Joyce Foundation
Promotes professional development and knowledge sharing about issues, policies, and emerging trends relating to the arts and culture community, with the aim of learning about one another’s work and catalyzing collaborations, deepening understanding of the arts and culture sector, and contributing to its vitality. Access Your Network's Resources

Chicago Arts Education Collaborative
Co-chairs: JC Aevaliotis, Polk Bros. Foundation; and Kalena Chevalier, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Works to address inequities in the availability and quality of arts education programs for Chicago Public School students. Access Your Network's Resources

Corporate Committee
Co-chair: Matthew Pakula, Tyson Foods, Inc.
Plans opportunities for networking and educational programs that focus on trends and issues specific to corporate philanthropy.  Contact Dawn Melchiorre, dmelchiorre@myforefront.org, to join this Member Network.  Access Your Network's Resources

Education Group
Co-chairs: Hina Mahmood, Woods Fund Chicago; Sonia Matthews, Robert R. McCormick Foundation; Sydney Sidwell, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; and Brandon Thorne, W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation.

The Education Group is comprised of these subgroups:

  • College and Career Access, Persistence, and Success (CCAPS) | Co-chairs: Mara Botman, Circle of Service Foundation; and Dinaz Mansuri, The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation.
  • School Improvement* | Co-chairs: Yolanda Knight, Steans Family Foundation; and Jim O'Connor, Advance Illinois
  • Education and Equity | Co-chairs: Hina Mahmood, Woods Fund of Chicago; and Misuzu Schexnider, Generation All
  • Education Innovation | Co-chairs: Phyllis Lockett, LEAP Innovations; and Woody McCally, Finnegan Family Foundation
  • Invest in Illinois | Co-chair: Denise Dell Isola, Irving Harris Foundation
  • Leadership/Human Capital | Co-chairs: Chaula Gupta, The Chicago Public Education Fund; and Christine Herzog, Crown Family Philanthropies
  • STEM | Co-chair: Natasha Smith Walker, Project Exploration

Access Your Network's Resources

Environmental Group
Co-Chair: Michelle Parker, Crown Family Philanthropies; and Mijo Vodopic, MacArthur Foundation
Provides an arena for discussion of emerging issues and topics of mutual interest to environmental funders, and for identification of opportunities to partner for synergistic and collaborative giving to further environmental solutions. Access Your Network's Resources 

Executive Directors Network (Springfield)
Provides an opportunity for nonprofit executives to come together to discuss and learn more about the many aspects of managing nonprofit organizations. Opportunities will include educational programming, networking, and peer-to-peer support. Contact Sarah Tapscott at our Springfield office to join this Member Network. Access Your Network's Resources

Family Foundations
Co-chairs: Cheri Richardson, The Gorter Family Foundation; and John Hicks, The Siragusa Family Foundation
Addresses challenges and opportunities relevant to family foundations. Access Your Network's Resources

Fund Development Network (Springfield)
Supports fund development professionals and helps further hone their skills and competencies. Opportunities will include educational programming, networking, and peer-to-peer support. Contact Sarah Tapscott, stapscott@myforefront.org, at our Springfield office to join this Member Network. Access Your Network's Resources

Grantmaker Finance Roundtable
Co-chairs: Pamela Calvert, W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation; and Lisa Derezinski, Community Memorial Foundation
The Grantmaker Finance Roundtable offers Forefront’s grantmaking members who carry the finance role in their organizations the opportunity to engage in learning sessions about current challenges and leading practices.

Healthcare Affinity Group*
Co-chairs: Kate O’Connor, Grant Healthcare Foundation
Provides an arena for networking, discussion on health issues of mutual interest to funders, and creating pathways to synergistic giving and collaboration. Access Your Network's Resources

NPO CEO Roundtable
Co-chairs: Laura Zumdahl, New Moms Inc.; and Doug Schenkelberg, Chicago Coalition for Homeless
The NPO CEO Roundtable offers Forefront members an opportunity to engage in peer dialogue about current challenges and leading practices in the social impact sector. Members share and develop tactics to be applied to their own organizations.  Contact Suzy Lee, slee@myforefront.org, to join this Member Network.

Partners Addressing Poverty*
Co-chair: Ellen Ray, Chicago Cares
Educates funders and brings together philanthropy resources, and uses the influence of Illinois' funding community to advocate for increased as well as public policy changes that address poverty in Illinois. Access Your Network's Resources

Partners to End Domestic Violence*
Co-chair: Agnes Meneses, Chicago Foundation for Women 
Multi-sector, collaborative-building collective action to address domestic violence and its generational impact on the community. Access Your Network's Resources

Philanthropy CEO Roundatble
The Philanthropy CEO Roundtable offers Forefront’s grantmaking members the opportunity to engage in private, highly interactive peer level discussions about current challenges and leading practices.Contact Lisa Simpson, lsimpson@myforefront.org, to join this Member Network.

Program Professionals Network (Springfield)
Supports the growth, learning, and development of program professionals through educational programming, networking, and peer-to-peer support. Contact Sarah Tapscott, stapscott@myforefront.org, at our Springfield office to join this Member Network. Access Your Network's Resources

Social Innovation Roundtable
The Social Innovation Roundtable’s purpose is to create a robust Social Innovation Community of Practice in which we build the understanding and capacity of impact investors and social entrepreneurs here in Chicago.  Contact Dawn Melchiorre, dmelchiorre@myforefront.org, to join this Member Network.

*Some programs are open to all Members.