Fiscal Year 2019 Associates Board

Haley O’Brien
Assoc. Board Co-Chair
Freelance Photographer
Vanessa Jackson
Assoc. Board Co-Chair
Grants Administrator, City Colleges of Chicago
Nicole Winston
Membership Chair
Presidential Fellow, US Department of Housing and Urban Development
Antonio Marshall
Fundraising and Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Chicago City Year
Megan Schuman
Fundraising and Marketing Committee Co-Chair
WPromote, SEO Manager
Spencer Andrews
Membership Committee
Associate, Engineering and Construction Group, BMO Harris
Alex Backis
Membership Committee
Therapist, Private Practice
Ebony Harris
Fundraising and Marketing Committee
Chicago Lights, Elam Davis Social Service Center, Street Outreach Coordinator
Bennett Levis
Membership Committee
Healthscape, Healthcare Consultant
Karina Luna
Fundraising and Marketing Committee
Reservationist, Caravan Tours
Kelvin Ojo
Fundraising and Marketing Committee
DLA Piper, Legal Support/Docketing

Young Professionals Supporting Youth Shaping Positive Change

The Associates Board supports the overall mission and activities of Alternatives by helping to raise awareness of and support for its work. Members are actively engaged in a range of activities including volunteering, fundraising, networking, and other special projects.

Members of the Associates Board are young professionals interested in:

  • Alternatives’ work supporting and empowering young people in Chicago
  • Nonprofit Board governance
  • Networking and meeting other young professionals in Chicago committed to peace and equity
  • Further developing leadership skills

All members of the Associates Board commit to the following:

  • Engaging with the group for 2-4 hours per month
  • Attending monthly meetings in person or by phone
  • Attending events of the group and the organization
  • Developing more thorough knowledge of Alternatives’ programs and activities
  • Participating for at least 1 year
  • Volunteering for 10 hours per year outside of Associates Board work
  • Contributing or raising at least $250 annually

What are the benefits of joining Alternatives’ Associates Board? You will:

  • Develop your professional and leadership skills, as well as your potential to join a Board of Directors in the future
  • Network with other passionate philanthropists and professionals in the Chicago area in support of the mission of Alternatives
  • Gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the nonprofit sector
  • Have fun with other professionals in Chicago!

Interested in joining? Fill out our brief inquiry form and speak with a current member to learn more.

Past Projects

Ales for Alternatives

In February 2017, the Associates Board organized Ales for Alternatives, a fundraising event at Declan’s Pub. The event offered guests a chance to catch up with friends while learning more about Alternatives’ work with Chicago youth. The Associates Board had end-to-end responsibility for the event: they negotiated with Declan’s to secure a spacious venue in the heart of Old Town, reached out to local businesses for raffle prize donations (including tickets to North Coast Music Festival!) and leveraged their networks to attract a diverse crowd. Ultimately, the event raised $1,300 for Alternatives and drew in 60 guests, expanding Alternatives’ network of supporters. Based on this success, the Associates Board plans to continue hosting Ales for Alternatives for years to come.

Volunteer Program Improvement

In 2016, the Associates Board focused on a special project to help identify ways for Alternatives to more effectively attract, retain and use volunteers.

  • STEP ONE was to perform a diagnostic on how Alternatives uses volunteers today, and identify new areas where volunteers could help. The team interviewed Alternatives’ staff and mapped out a set of new projects where volunteers could plug-in, including working with youths through Alternatives’ after-school arts program, and conducting mock interviews as part of Alternatives’ careers program.
  • STEP TWO was to put together case studies on how other youth-focused Chicago non-profits operate their volunteer programs. The team conducted a series of interviews to understand best practices that could be replicated at Alternatives. These included setting up dedicated volunteer manager role to guide volunteering efforts, and using a central database to track volunteer contributions.
  • STEP THREE was to synthesize everything the team had learned into a set of go-forward volunteer management processes. These included setting up consistent processes for Alternatives’ staff to communicate their volunteering needs, setting up processes to improve volunteer acquisition and retention (e.g., streamlining applications through Alternatives’ website), and outlining roles/responsibilities for the volunteer manager role.

Rolling out these ideas is an ongoing project that Associates Board members continue to support.