Blurb about why Forefront rocks, caption for photo

SUMMIT SPEAKERS

 

Forefront was proud to welcome leaders from government, philanthropy, operating nonprofits, and more as speakers at our first-ever virtual summit on Wednesday, June 24. Our speakers shared their insights and vision on how we may remain resilient in solidarity with each other in the present while imagining our collective future. See our full slate of speakers below. If you had registered, you can still access the summit by going to MyForefront.org/Virtual-Summit. Want access to the summit? Please email registration@myforefront.org for more information.

 

 

Sharon Bush – Executive Director, Grand Victoria Foundation

Panelist – Solidarity and the Practice of Grantmaking

Sharon has over 20 years of nonprofit and business experience. She is the executive director of Grand Victoria Foundation. She is only the second person to lead the Foundation in its 20-year history.

Sharon is a recognized leader in the field who strongly values the economic and social contributions of the nonprofit sector. Throughout her career she has worked to ensure that the sector is strong, equitable, sustainable, and highly capable of serving individuals and families throughout the Chicago region. She has launched, led, and participated in innovative collaborations that have resulted in thousands of people securing employment and millions of dollars to support the regional workforce system.

Sharon is on the board of directors of Mikva Challenge Illinois and African American Legacy. She is an advisor to Willie’s Warriors, a leadership development initiative of Chicago Foundation for Women, and to Greater Good Studio, a human-centered design firm that builds the capacity of communities to solve old problems in new ways. Sharon was an Association of Black Foundation Executives Connecting Leaders Fellow. She is also a former co-chair of Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy and the 2017 recipient of its Champion of Diversity Award. She has been a featured Op-Ed columnist in Crain’s Chicago Business on diversity and leadership.

Sharon was born and raised in Chicago. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Public Administration from Roosevelt University.

Greg DiDomenico – President and CEO, Community Memorial Foundation; Board Chair, Forefront

Welcoming Remarks

Greg serves as President and CEO of Community Memorial Foundation and Chairs Forefront’s Board. Established in 1995, Community Memorial Foundation is a private foundation focused on measurably improving the health of people who live and work in the western suburbs of Chicago. During Greg’s tenure the Foundation has become a regional leader in philanthropy, launching new initiatives that include a Leadership Institute focused on strengthening grantee capacity and a Regional Health and Human Services Agenda rooted in a collective impact strategy that improves positive local health outcomes.

Greg joined the Foundation team as Vice President in January 2009 after serving as Executive Director for a number of years at local nonprofits, the Rich Port YMCA (now the Greater La Grange YMCA), and Hinsdale Center for the Arts. He also held management positions at Little City Foundation and leadership roles in his native Pennsylvania, where he coordinated community mental health services in Montgomery County.

Greg serves on several community boards and advisory committees, including Forefront, the Chicago Zoological Society, Village of La Grange Community & Economic Commission, DuPage County Continuum of Care Grants Funding Committee and a Past Board President of the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2012, the Young Nonprofit Professional Network of Chicago honored Greg as its inaugural Nonprofit Mentor of the Year. Currently, Greg is co-leading Forefront’s Mission Sustainability Initiative Grants Committee- a funding collaborative aimed at strengthening the nonprofit sector through strategic partnerships.

Tricia Hersey – Founder, The Nap Ministry

Panelist – Rest and Resilience

Tricia Hersey is a Chicago native living in Atlanta with over 20 years of experience collaborating with communities as a performance artist, theater maker, spiritual director, and community organizer. She is the founder of The Nap Ministry, an organization that examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations. Tricia believes impromptu spectacles can bring awareness to social justice issues that paralyze our communities and sleep deprivation is a racial and social justice issue. Her research interests include black liberation theology, womanism, somatics, and cultural trauma. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Tricia’s work as a community activist and artist has been seen with Chicago Public Schools, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, United States Peace Corps, Google Chicago, and universities nationwide.

You can follow The Nap Ministry on all social media platforms at @TheNapMinistry and her website is triciahersey.com.

Hahn Le – Executive Director, The Weissberg Foundation

Panelist – Solidarity and the Practice of Grantmaking

Hanh Le is the executive director of the Weissberg Foundation, a family foundation in Arlington, Virginia that advances organizations and efforts building power of those most negatively impacted by racism through funding, amplification, capacity building, and collaboration. Prior to joining the foundation in 2016, she was the chief program officer at Exponent Philanthropy, where she led educational programming, content development, and internal learning efforts. Hanh has directed training, grant, and technical assistance programs for KaBOOM!, Community Technology Centers’ Network, and the Peace Corps. She holds degrees from the College of William & Mary in environmental geology and the University of Virginia School of Architecture in urban and environmental planning. Inspired by the power of collaborative impact and the DC-area community, Hanh co-founded the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle and co-chairs the Metro-DC chapter of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. She also serves on the boards of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and Asian American LEAD. Hanh is passionate about family, friends, dogs, biking, food, matrixes, and bad TV.

You can follow her on social media here:

Twitter: @HanhLeDC
LinkedIn

Dorri McWhorter – CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

Closing Remarks

Dorri McWhorter is CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, a social enterprise focused on eliminating racism and empowering women. A socially-conscious business leader, Dorri was previously a partner at Crowe Horwath LLP, one of the largest accounting firms in the U.S., and currently serves on the Board of Directors for William Blair Funds, Skyway Concession Company (Chicago Skyway), and numerous civic and social impact organizations. Dorri lead the process for the YWCA to develop an exchange traded fund (ETF) for women’s empowerment (NYSE: WOMN) in partnership with Impact Shares, which is the first non-profit investment advisor to develop an ETF product. Dorri was included in the inaugural list of “The Blue Network”, comprised of the top 100 innovators in Chicago, by Chicago Trbune and was a 2019 Inductee in the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame. Dorri received a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Lake Forest College.

Follow her on social media here:
Twitter: @chicCPA
Instagram: @chicCPA

John Palfrey – President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Moderator – Solidarity and the Practice of Grantmaking

John Palfrey is the President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Palfrey is a well-respected educator, author, legal scholar, and innovator with expertise in how new media is changing learning and education. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover. Palfrey serves on the board of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. He holds a JD from Harvard Law School, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and an AB from Harvard College. He is an accomplished author; his most recent book is Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in Education. A revised and expanded version of his book Born Digital: How Children Grow Up in a Digital Age, which he co-authored with Urs Gasser, was issued in 2016.

You can follow him on social media here:

Twitter: @JPalfrey
Instagram: @JohnPalfrey

Coya Paz – Artistic Director, Free Street Theater

Panelist – Rest and Resilience

Coya Paz is the Artistic Director of Free Street Theater, and an Associate Professor in the Theatre School at DePaul University, where she also serves as an Associate Dean. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and is the co-author, with Chloe Johnston, of Ensemble-Made Chicago: A Guide to Devised Theater. Above all, she believes in the power of poetry and performance to build community towards social change.

Follow her on Twitter at @CoyaPaz.

Penny Pritzker – Founder and Chairman of PSP Partners and 38th Secretary of Commerce

Keynote Speaker

Penny Pritzker is an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist with more than 30 years of experience in numerous industries. Pritzker is the Founder and Chairman of PSP Partners, a global private investment firm that takes a long-term, fundamental approach to investing in and building market-leading businesses in sectors such as professional services, real estate, technology, agriculture, industrial services and consumer products.

From June 2013 through January 2017, Pritzker served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. Pritzker was a core member of President Obama’s economic team and served as the country’s chief commercial advocate, leading the Administration’s trade and investment promotion efforts. She also served on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and his Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Currently, Pritzker is a member of the board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a member of the board of Microsoft, a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, a member of the board of the Obama Foundation, a fellow of the Harvard Corporation, a member of the board of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and on the advisory council of The Hamilton Project. Pritzker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University.

Follow her on social media here:

Twitter: @PennyPritzker
LinkedIn: Penny Pritzker

Carmen Rojas – President & CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation

Panelist – Solidarity and the Practice of Grantmaking

Dr. Carmen Rojas is the President & CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation, a private foundation whose mission it is to nurtures a national movement that lifts the voices of poor and low-income families. Focused on funding in 13 states, the Foundation has supported everything from voter engagement to environmental justice. Dr. Rojas is the youngest and only Latina President of a nationally endowed foundation in the United States.

Dr. Rojas is also the founder of The Workers Lab. The Workers Lab gives new ideas about increasing worker power a chance to succeed and flourish. The Workers Lab is driven to make innovation work for working people, rather than against them. Dr. Rojas has worked alongside more than 50 organizations to develop solutions to the most pressing issues facing workers, which often include fighting for living wages and proper benefits.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Rojas has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and nonprofits to improve the lives of working people across the United States.

Dr. Rojas is on the boards of Carina, a platform connecting medicaid clients with experienced homecare workers in Washington state; and the Workers Benefit Fund, which provides benefits for millions of workers in today’s expanding gig economy. She is a member of Governor Phil Murphy’s Future of Work Task Force and a member of the San Francisco Federal Reserve’s Community Advisory Council.

Dr. Rojas holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in Venezuela.

Follow her on Twitter at @CRojasPhd.

Eric Weinheimer – President & CEO, Forefront

Welcoming Remarks

Since 2014, Eric Weinheimer has been the President & CEO of Forefront, overseeing its mission to uplift and maintain the vibrant social impact sector for the people of Illinois. Prior to Forefront, Eric was President and CEO of The Cara Program, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive training, job placement, and support services to individuals who are homeless and struggling in poverty. Eric serves on the Advisory Board for Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and on the Board of Directors for the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.

Follow him on Twitter at @EricWeinheimer1.

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