The Ross Chicago Alumni Club’s nonprofit initiative had been featured in Dividend magazine. Check out the article in the link by scrolling to page 49. The entire article is also below.
Chicago Club Establishes Ross Nonprofit Initiative
Members of the Ross Alumni Club of Chicago recently established the Ross Nonprofit Initiative. The goal is twofold: to contribute to the community and provide a forum for alumni to pursue a common interest — philanthropy. In early 2010 the club partnered with the Taproot Foundation, a national organization that enables business professionals to donate skills in marketing, human resources, strategy, and more to local nonprofits.
In May the Chicago club launched its first outreach with Casa Central, the city’s largest Hispanic-oriented social service agency. The organization has more than 450 employees and a budget of $16 million. It serves local youth and senior citizens as well as homeless families and victims of domestic violence. “The breadth of Casa Central’s services,
the depth of the staff’s knowledge, and its passion for helping the community are very impressive,” says Kevin Williams, MBA ’86.
The organization had not updated its fundraising materials in 16 years. Enter club board member Hugh Jedwill, MBA ’04, who served as account director on a new brochure project. Other club members playing key roles included project leader Williams, marketing manager Paras Parekh, AB ’94, and copy editor Lakshmi Bhargave, MBA ’09.
Meanwhile, Kelene Soltosz, MBA ’10, served as community manager with the goal of creating other volunteer opportunities beyond the scope of the specific marketing initiative — offering interviewing skills and resume writing to Casa Central’s constituents, among other things.
“Taproot already has a great process for providing strategic services for nonprofits,” say Jedwill. “And our alumni club provides a qualified team familiar with this process through our shared experiences with MAP [Ross’ Multidisciplinary Action Projects course].”
Chicago club co-president Brian Schwartz, BBA ’05, says the Ross Nonprofit Initiative has helped grow the alumni base while offering alternative programming to members. “It’s a great way to build our club brand, as well as the Ross brand, in the Chicago community,” he says.
The board has since applied for and been awarded the club’s second project, which launched in September. This time Chicago alumni are producing a messaging and brand strategy for Family Matters, based on the city’s north side. The organization has grown dramatically in recent years, from a single program working with 10 families to its current structure of five programs supporting more than 400 children and families. It also works with some 325 volunteers.
Jedwill once again is serving as account director. Dennis Roy, MBA ’74, is project manager; Anne Kristan Bommi, MBA ’04, is brand strategist; Jennifer Hobbs, BBA ’02, is copy editor; and Joey Kesner, MAcc ’05, is community manager.
“There is a great fit between Ross’ equity in ‘leadership in thought and action’ and the mission of Taproot,” says Schwartz. “We’ve worked with them to create this opportunity for an alumni group — a capacity they didn’t originally have. Since Taproot is a national foundation, it means Ross can scale with the organization as opportunities arise for other alumni chapters to participate with local nonprofits.”