STORIES FROM 2020
IMAGE OF THE SOMOS PILSEN MURAL CELEBRATING THE COMMUNITY RESILIENCE AND RESIDENTS OF PILSEN.
ARTISTS: PABLO SERRANO AND MATEO ZAPATA
The founders of ChiFresh Kitchen never expected their worker-owned, commercial kitchen co-op would launch early due to a pandemic-fueled demand. In its new space, they have the capacity to provide 5,000 meals a day—a 10-fold increase…
FAMILY INDEPENDENCE INITIATIVE
When COVID-19 hit, it was clear that direct cash transfers could play a role in helping people survive an unprecedented economic emergency. The Trust recognized the promise of direct cash transfers as a strategy to grow household wealth…
Little Village—a predominantly Latinx neighborhood—has, as of early 2021, seen more COVID-19 deaths than any other zip code in the city. The creation of the Little Village Emergency Assistance Fund provided hope, resources, relief, and support…
ALLIANCE OF THE SOUTHEAST
As an interfaith coalition of community organizers on Chicago’s Southeast Side, ASE helps local residents turned active community leaders influence the issues that impact their day-to-day lives. Residents are continuing to advocate for positive community…
OUR GREAT RIVERS
Launched in 2016, Our Great Rivers reimagines the river system as a vital lifeforce that sparks economic development, brings communities closer together, and makes our region healthy and beautiful. The community-led projects have achieved meaningful progress…
SEARLE FUNDS HIGHLIGHT
Over the last decade, the Trust and Kinship Foundation have co-created and invested inmajor funding initiatives centered on shared priorities. When a pre-planned launch collided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team responded by directing…
Donor and advisor Highlights
Dick Lang has been an invaluable friend to the Trust for decades.
Dick Lang cultivates deep roots
“When I think of the Trust, three words come to mind: flexible, efficient, dedicated.”
A partner at McDermott Will & Emery, Dick Lang provides trusted legal counsel to a number of the wealthiest individuals and families in the nation across a range of areas, including wealth transfer and tax planning. For almost as long as he’s been practicing law, Lang has also been an invaluable friend to the Trust, connecting the institution to other professional advisors and opening doors to new relationships with prospective donors.
“When I think of the Trust, three words come to mind: flexible, efficient, dedicated,” Lang says. “The bureaucracy of large banks and trust companies can make it very difficult to get things done for clients. But that has never been my experience with the Trust, even as it has significantly grown over the years. When I suggest that we work with the Trust, I know it’s going to be an efficient experience for me and my client.”
For Desirée Rogers, giving back is second nature.
Desirée Rogers amplifies a legacy
“The Trust is one of the pillars of Chicago. I value its stellar character, long history, the depth and breadth of its work, and its willingness to have conversations about what it’s doing.”
Raised by educator parents in New Orleans, Desirée Rogers recalls helping out at the daycare owned and operated by her mother and assisting her father with GED tutoring. “I was taught to be a participant in my community in whatever way I could, to do anything in my power to better society,” says the accomplished businesswoman and former White House social secretary.
Now Rogers has passed down the giving gene to her own child. In 2017, she created a donor advised fund at the Trust as a way to give in collaboration with her adult daughter, Victoria.
The Trust fondly remembers our friends and partners who have recently passed
Jamee Field’s love of nature began in childhood, during summers spent at her family’s home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. In later years, her passion for conservation was matched by her deep interest in education, and she often combined the two. Field was the first female chair of Lake Forest Country Day School and a life director and governor of Lake Forest Open Lands, where she helped create the childhood education department. Over the years, she helped restore countless acres of natural habitat in Illinois and Florida and was involved with The Nature Conservancy in Illinois. In 2010, Jamee and her husband, Marshall Field V, became the first donors to make a major commitment to the Trust’s endowment through the We Are Chicago centennial campaign. Their endowment fund ensures that the Fields’ generosity will forever benefit Chicago
Sharon Gist Gilliam
From a history teacher at Chicago Public Schools to a nationally recognized municipal finance expert, Sharon Gist Gilliam blazed an exceptional career path. Gilliam honed her fiscal management skills through city government roles in Chicago and Washington, D.C., including as budget director for Mayor Harold Washington. Her expertise would prove invaluable when Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed her commissioner and chair of the Chicago Housing Authority, tasked with leading the city’s ambitious public housing roadmap, the Plan for Transformation. The Trust and the MacArthur Foundation supported the plan’s priorities through a funding collaborative, The Partnership for New Communities. Gilliam was active in the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and was the first woman to receive the organization’s Marks of Excellence Award.
Maria Whelan was a passionate leader and advocate who devoted her career to advancing early childhood education in Chicago and Illinois. As founding executive director of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, Whelan helped develop the organization into a thriving early childhood center on Chicago’s West Side. She also served as director of children’s services for the Chicago Department of Human Services and as a senior program officer at the Trust. From 2001 until her death, Whelan fought to elevate early learning across the state as president and CEO of Illinois Action for Children. She served on numerous city and statewide boards and was honored with multiple awards, including the National Black Child Development Institute’s Guardian Award.
Patricia Barretto was a visionary leader in the arts for over two decades. From 2017 to 2020, she led three extraordinary seasons as CEO of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance—an institution the Trust helped found in response to a need identified by Chicago’s artistic community. Barretto brought innovative artforms, prestigious international companies, esteemed artists, and new audiences into the Theater each year. She was dedicated to the arts’ role in making Chicago thrive, and she brought her passion for the international art world to her programming. Before joining the Theater, Barretto was executive director of Toronto’s Opera Atelier and a marketing officer for the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Canadian State Company.