Participating Organizations

Below are the organizations participating in the Accelerator's programs.

Core Program

The Core Program consists of select nonprofit organizations that receive funding along with intense, focused, and customized support over a period of time.

Aerostar Avion Institute  is committed to enhancing, promoting, and supporting the academic awareness of aviation and aeronautical career path opportunities for all students, particularly female, minority, underprivileged, and at-risk youth. In order to achieve this mission, AeroStar provides professional leadershp training and management consulting through education centers to students and professionals. 

Alternatives, Inc.  pursues a mission of facilitating personal development, strengthening family relationships, and enhancing the community’s well being. Reaching 4,000 young people and their families each year, its programs focus on leadership development, violence and substance abuse prevention, academic enrichment, and counseling.

Featherfist gives “power and purpose” to those in the homeless community by assisting them in their advancement toward self sufficiency. With the recognition that shelter is not enough, Featherfist provides support that includes a full range of social service networks to meet the myriad demands of retraining, rehabilitating, and re-entry into the mainstream.

Future Ties provides mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment programs to low-income and at-risk youth. They are dedicated to providing the information, support, and connections that families need to assist their children on the road to success. FutureTies also helps parents build technological and other life skills, escape domestic violence, and mentor young people in their community.

Love Unity Values Institute (2016 - ) supports 11-to-24-year-olds who face social, emotional, economic and academic challenges. It provides the foundational skills needed for college and career readiness using literacy, art, and wellbeing as a pathway to becoming responsible citizens. Its mission is to provide hope, skills and opportunity to disrupt violence and other negative social behaviors while preparing youth for academic success, sustainable employment and citizenship.

Prosperity House (2016- ) provides transitional housing, case management services, recovery support services, life skills and various supportive groups for current clients as well as alumni. Prosperity House currently services homeless women and veterans, and is working to develop programs for homeless female veterans and their children, as well as justice-involved young males.

 Associates Program

Organizations in the Associates Program receive general capacity building support from Accelerator staff and interns to help fulfill a core function through three to five relevant projects over the course of a year.

Chasing 23’s mission is to build respect and unity among youth in Chicago. Chasing23 provides youth ages 15-21 with life and jobs skills training, paid work experience, individual case management, and educational support.

Chicago Hyde Park Village (2014 - ) strives to achieve its mission to help its members remain in their homes and engage in the community as they grow older, through education, volunteerism, referrals, and collaboration. It aims to facilitate a community of communities, promote neighbors being neighbors, and encourage residents of all ages to remain active and engaged.

My Block My Hood My City (2017 -) educates, empowesr, and engages youth from low-income communities in Chicago to work together to advocate for social, economic, and educational justice and become agents for positive change. M3 is designed to inspire and prepare young people for their rightful roles as active, engaged, and self-determined citizens.

Pilot Light (2017 - ) provides children with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to develop healthy relationships with food. Its vision is to set the standard for integrating food and nutrition education into school curricula. It promotes creativity and exploration in food education for children through partnerships between professionals in education, health, and the culinary arts. It also advocates policy to foster healthy choices for all children.

Strive Tutoring is an educational services center for grades 1 - 12 located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Strive has been providing academic assistance, as well as support for social development and cultural awareness, for children and youth who have limited educational and financial resources for more than 20 years. They were with students in grades 1 - 12 from over fifteen different schools

South Shore Works works to achieve its mission is to restore the South Side community to its former greatness, as a safe, diverse, mixed-income community with a vibrant commercial corridor, stable housing, good schools, stable housing stock, and stimulating cultural and recreational outlets and opportunities. Its primary strategy is to harness the abundance of talent and expertise in the neighborhood to participate in the design and implementation of a strategic plan that will result in a movement on the South Side.

WECAN is a non-profit organization that servers Woodlawn and those residing in it. Since 1980, WECAN has refurbished four buildings, creating 145 units for those who are and near homeless. WECAN operates 132 units of housing, supportive services, afterschool programs, and its own Housing Resource Center.

Faculty Initiatives Program

The Faculty Initiatives Program includes faculty-led programs or projects with a significant community engagement component that receive the full range of Core Program support for a one-year period.

The Mid-South Side Chicago Stroke Education Project is an education
initiative addressing ways strokes can be prevented and what to do if
someone develops stroke symptoms. In partnership with the UChicago
Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center and mid-South Side community
leaders, the project is developing a “train-the-trainers program” that will
eventually prepare lay community members and clinicians to educate
others about stroke and stroke prevention.

The South Side Home Movie Project collects, preserves, digitizes and
screens amateur films shot by residents of Chicago’s South Side. By
bringing this unique footage typically kept in private collections into
public light and discussion, the project seeks to fill gaps in existing
historical narratives and visual archives about our city. It also seeks
to inspire dialogue across rigid racial boundaries that have long
characterized Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods.

Arts Cohort

The Arts Cohort, which consists of arts and cultural organizations, aims to encourage crosscollaboration among organizations with shared interests and clients and to enhance their capacity to address intersecting community challenges.

Annie B. Jones Community Services, Inc. is a youth and family centered organization rooted in creativity and innovation. ABJ focuses on the arts as a tool to stimulate economic growth for the organization and community and to demonstrate how the arts and social services can be integrated.

ArtReach is a nonprofit with a passion to better the community through exposure to art education. Started in 1990 as the nonprofit partners to Lillstreet Art Center, its mission has evolved to empower and connect people through the practice of visual arts.

Deeply Rooted aims to re-imagine and diversify the aesthetics of contemporary dance by bringing together modern, classical, American, and African-American traditions in dance and storytelling.

Hyde Park Youth Symphony is dedicated to providing a high-quality arts experience to youth on the South Side of Chicago and nurturing in them a love for music that will last a lifetime. The symphony serves a broad range of young people and their families from diverse racial, ethnic, educational, and economic backgrounds.

Red Clay Dance Company aims to awaken “glocal” change through creating, performing, and teaching dances of the African Diaspora–change that transform cultural and socio-economic imbalances in the local and global community.

The People’s Music School is the only completely free music school serving Chicago metropolitan area children. The school teaches young minds how to think, problem solve, and collaborate through music. It delivers a rigorous curriculum that demands musical and behavioral excellence.

The Simple Good aims to connect the meaning of ‘good’ from around the world to empower at-risk youth to bring positivity into communities through art and discussion. Through public art projects and youth art programming, the Simple Good encourages youth in Chicago to embrace the goodness that surrounds them.

Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit strengthens the connection between the artist and audience through monthly dialogues, actor training, interviews with theater practitioners, and innovative performances.

West Point School of Music prevents juvenile violence and promotes academic and personal success among urban youth through quality in-school, after-school, and out-of-school instruction and performance programs.

William Hill Center for Arts was established in Woodlawn in 2015 as a living collection of native and cultivated plant species, displayed within a bio-diverse urban environment. The center’s goal is to educate, engage, and inspire children, young people, and adults about the value of plant diversity, sustainability, and community well being.

Special Projects

Organizations that are not participating in one of the above programs can recieve discrete technical assistance, through staff support and student
engagement, to address a specific issue or project during the course of one to two academic quarters.

The Civic Impact Alliance

The Civic Impact Alliance is an Accelerator-led coalition of social impact consulting groups at the University of Chicago. Undergraduate and graduate students in AkPsi Unity Consulting Group, campusCATALYST, Community Action Bureau, Gargoyle Consulting, and Phoenix Development Fund provide
strategic consulting support to the following nonprofits over the course of the academic year. Learn more about the Civic Impact Alliance here.

Chicago Child Care Society provides innovative, community-based education and social service programs that address the current and emerging needs of vulnerable children and their families.

ConTextos is devoted to the underestimated and the underserved, young people who areconsidered “at-risk” but whose stories can transform. The nonprofit operates in both El Salvadorand Chicago to provide empowering and trauma-focused literacy programs.

Lost Boyz aims to decrease violence, improve the social and emotion conditions, and provide financial opportunities among the youth in Chicago’s South Shore community. With baseball training and competitive participation as their core drivers, Lost Boyz achieves its mission through high-intensity mentorship, intervention, and social entrepreneurship activities.

MSBARC aims to empower local businesses and the community by generating a thriving economic engine. It develops strategies and support, and enlists the assistance of elected officials to secure external resources, tools, and relationships to help achieve its goals.

Nerdy Media is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Chicago’s disconnectd youth with the know-how not only to take advantage of opportunity, but to create it for themselves. Nerdy Media creates connected learning experiences that impart the 21st century fluencies and perspectives necessary for success in today’s world.

Next Bites empowers members of the food service industry and dedicated diners alike to reduce our collective footpring, bolstering the health of our planet and its people.

MADEMAN Foundation exists to erase the opportunity gap for young Black men through hip-hop, experiential learning and the arts. MADEMAN provides hip-hop inspired project-based activities, wellness initiatives and exposure opportunities to young Black men in Chicago high schools.

The National Museum of Gospel Music (NMGM) is a new South Side musuem to be housed in the Pilgrim Baptist Church by 2020. It will celebrate the South Side as the birthplace of gospel music and pay tribute to the home-grown genre’s legends.

Project HOOD’s mission is to empower people with the guidance, information, and tools necessary to become peacemakers, problem solvers, leaders, and entrepreneurs in their communities.

Sue Duncan Children’s Center was founded in 1961 to be a safe haven for children on the South Side of Chicago, where staff and volunteers tutors work closely to strengthen core academic skills, while also developing self-esteem, respect for others, and a renewed sense of hope.

The Revival is an improvisational comedy theater committed to celebrating improv in its birthplace of Hyde Park. The organization provides a warm, joyful, and supportive environment to children of all ages through its summer camps and comedy workshops.

Consultant Projects

Undergraduate student project consultants with expertise/experience in topical areas are paired with organizations that have project needs that can be accomplished in an academic quarter. Students report to Accelerator staff and receive professional development training. General areas include fund development, communications/marketing, data and technology, and project design and evaluation.

Chicago Eco House has a mission to use sustainability to alleviate poverty. The nonprofit operates an environmentally sustainable flower farm business and 3d printing lab that both provide youth with valuable business skills to help them leverage their STEM learning in the job market.

eta Creative Arts Foundation is a cultural arts institution on Chicago’s South Side that trains youth and adults in performing and technical arts. It is an arts resource in the African American community, providing top-quality productions, performances and exhibitions.

Sisters in Cinema is both a documentary and informative website that aims to celebrate black women filmmakers and their history.

Sustainable Options for Urban Living (SOUL) is a nonprofit dedicated to acting as a holistic, urban, community, and cooperative economic developer that explores and shares options for local businesses and residents to create healthy, happy, prosperous, and sustainable lives.

St. Martin de Porres House of Hope creates a safe, healing community where women and their children recover from substance abuse, trauma, and mental illness. Its programming heals women and children through a holistic substance abuse recovery program.

Upworld is a nonprofit social enterprise corporation committed to improving the quality of life for youth in the Greater Englewood and Austin communities by spurring social economic development initiatives and serving as a catalyst for economic development.

The Youth Excursion Project is dedicated to enriching the lives and expanding the minds of underserved youth by introducing them to life outside the confines of their communities. Through educationally centered excursions and travel, the nonprofit provides participants with the opportunity to experience the vast diversity of cultures, customs, and ethnicities.

Community Programs Accelerator Alumni

Core Program:

Associates Program: