Blurb about why Forefront rocks, caption for photo

Forefront Member Networks exist to provide space and structure for the staff and board of Forefront member organizations  to organize, mobilize, and provide accountability and support for group members in service of a common purpose and our shared values, such as:

  • Advancing racial equity
  • Building trust and collective power within the social impact sector
  • Challenging historically harmful hierarchies and power dynamics – whether geographic or sectoral
  • Building meaningful collaboration, scaled impact, and thriving communities

We encourage Members to consider the following levels of support to increase their accountability for and investment in collective action. Please select the level that best matches your available resources and your desire for shared accountability.

Email Forefront’s Development Team to learn more about supporting Member & Peer Networks.


Forefront reviews and approves member proposals to establish a new Member Network. Please consult with  Kenneatha Montgomery for guidance on proposing a new Member Network. New Networks will be considered based on the following guidelines:


  • Commitments from at least five (5) Member organizations to plan group activities
  • Potential audience or participant group is large enough to achieve the group’s stated purpose
  • Commitments from one or two Member representatives to serve as chair or co-chairs for at least one year
  • Network purpose is in alignment with Forefront’s values and strategic goals
  • Forefront has the staff capacity to support a new Network



If these guidelines are met, Forefront will work with chair(s) to organize a pilot meeting/call. If the audience and interest is sustained after 2-3 successful pilot meetings/calls, Forefront will work with chair(s) to formalize the Member Network by developing a stated group purpose with annual plan of activities.

Networks for Grantmakers

Chicago Arts Education Collaborative

JC Aevaliotis, Polk Bros. Foundation
Kalena Chevalier, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Chicago Arts Education Collaborative works to address inequities in the availability and quality of arts education programs for Chicago Public School students.

Access your Network’s resources here.

Education Group

The Education Group is comprised of these subgroups:

Access all Education Network resources here.

Family Foundations Committee

MaryAnn Roeser, The Duchossois Family Foundation
John Hicks, The Siragusa Family Foundation

The Family Foundations Member Network addresses challenges and opportunities relevant to family foundations.

Access your Network’s resources here.

Grantmaker Finance Roundtable

Elva Gonzalez, Healthy Communities Foundation
Lisa Derezinski, Community Memorial Foundation

The Grantmaker Finance Roundtable offers CFOs and CIOs the opportunity to learn about accounting, investment, and other finance-related issues in philanthropy.

Philanthropy CEO Roundtable

Mary O’Donnell, RRF Foundation for Aging
Unmi Song, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

The Philanthropy CEO Roundtable offers the opportunity to connect with peers and engage in private, highly interactive discussions about current challenges and leading grantmaking practices. This group is open to CEOs and Executive Directors of private, independent, and community foundations based in Illinois.

To request an invitation to the group’s quarterly meetings, please contact

Trust Based Philanthropy Working Group

Nora Garcia, Healthy Communities Foundation
Caroline McCoy, Woods Fund Chicago

The Trust Based Philanthropy Working Group is a learning-to-take-action space for grantmakers who are familiar with and committed to the principles of trust-based philanthropy. Participation in this group is a demonstration of members’ commitment to embedding Trust Based Philanthropy values both internally and externally.

Working Group members will support and hold each other accountable for embedding trust-based values and practices in all areas of their work, including:

Trust Based Philanthropy Working Group membership is currently limited to Forefront Grantmaker Members and is best suited to executive directors/CEOs or other individuals with organizational decision-making authority. Those who are newer to trust-based philanthropy values may wish to check the Forefront and Trust Based Philanthropy Project event calendars for introductory learning opportunities before requesting to join this working group.

Networks for Nonprofits

Leadership Roundtables

These networks, designed for CEOs and Executive Directors, allow Forefront members an opportunity to engage in peer dialogue about current challenges and leading practices in the social impact sector. Members share and develop strategies to be applied to their own organizations on topics such as leadership development, board engagement, and staff retention. Share your best practices, work through individual issues, collaborate, and network.


Education: College and Career Access, Persistence, and Success (CCAPS)

(CCAPS) is a learning community focused on increasing postsecondary opportunities and outcomes for Chicago-area students.

Learn more about CCAPS here.



Other Opportunitites to Connect


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