The Community Programs Accelerator at the University of Chicago presents

the inaugural  

South Side Strong Summit

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
David Rubenstein Forum
Chicago, IL


On behalf of the Community Programs Accelerator (CPA) at the University of Chicago, I am honored to announce the South Side Strong Summit for local nonprofit professionals will be held on May 18, 2022, at the University’s David Rubenstein Forum.

The Summit will feature a multi-track program focusing on organizational governance, emerging areas in nonprofit management, and leadership development as well as a special track dedicated to prospective CPA organizations. We envision the Summit will offer resources and spark conversations and insights among participants about everything from shared challenges to uncharted opportunities for growth and collaboration.

The Summit is designed to provide ample opportunities to help nonprofit organizations build connections with other nonprofit organizations; funders; UChicago faculty and staff; as well as civic leaders in the Accelerator’s network, whose work and interests align with the organizations’ missions.

We are looking forward to robust engagement at the Summit, forging new connections among South Side nonprofits, exchanging and strengthening critical knowledge, and sharing and shaping new, exciting ways to drive greater impact.

Sharon Grant, Executive Director

Community Programs Accelerator

Keynote Speakers

Karen Freeman-Wilson

President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League

Karen Freeman-Wilson began serving as president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League in January 2020. She brings a passion for equity and social justice to the organization, which works to advance economic, educational, and social progress for African Americans through direct service and advocacy. Having served in the public arena most of her professional life, Freeman-Wilson has deep experience in addressing issues that impact urban communities. She was mayor of her hometown of Gary, Indiana, from 2012 through 2019. She was the first female to lead the city of Gary and the first Black female mayor in Indiana. Her mayoral accomplishments include job creation, completion of a $100 million airport runway relocation, and the development of key areas in the city.

Freeman-Wilson previously served as Indiana Attorney General, director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, and presiding judge of the Gary City Court. She also served as executive director of the National Drug Court Institute and CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, where she is currently Board chair.

 Freeman-Wilson is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is a past president of the National League of Cities, past chairperson of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and sits on the National Policing Institute Board of Directors and Center for Community Progress Board of Directors. Freeman-Wilson and her husband have a blended family of four children.

Dorri C. McWhorter

President and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

Dorri McWhorter became president and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago in August 2021. Prior to joining the YMCA, McWhorter served for eight years as the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, transforming the organization from a traditional social service organization to 21st Century social enterprise. McWhorter is a 2019 inductee in the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame.

She prides herself on being a socially–conscious business leader and is committed to creating an inclusive marketplace by leveraging a cross–sector approach of engaging business, civic, and community partners. McWhorter serves on the Board of Directors for Lifeway Foods, William Blair Funds, and Skyway Concession Company (Chicago Skyway). McWhorter is also active in the accounting profession and serves on the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council and having served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and a past Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Illinois CPA Society. 

McWhorter served as co–chair of the Advisory Board of the First Women’s Bank. McWhorter 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.

2022 Nonprofit Leader Impact Award Honoree

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Perry L. Gunn

CEO of Nonprofit Membership Club

Perry L. Gunn is a nonprofit executive leader with extensive experience in youth development, neighborhood development, and community engagement. In November 2019, he founded the Nonprofit Membership to assist nonprofit groups with capacity building. Gunn retired professionally in July of 2019 as the executive director of Teamwork Englewood, a community–based organization that organized community stakeholders to make positive changes in Englewood. As part of his work at Teamwork Englewood, Gunn led the creation of the Englewood Quality of Life Plan, II, a blueprint for advancing the community through working with five task forces, including education and youth, economic development and jobs, housing, health and wellness, and public safety. 

Gunn worked in the YMCA as a Youth Program director, executive director, and vice president of Operations in Chicago. He is known for his ability to connect with communities across the city and bring quality programming to underserved neighborhoods. In addition, Gunn developed a reputation in the YMCA for providing innovative programs that respond to community needs. For example, he started a community–wide tutoring program to address the reading deficits of community youth as well as a refrigeration repair program that created jobs for residents, but also brought back online working refrigerators for residents dealing with diabetes.

The South Side Strong Summit was funded, in part, by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Polk Bros. Foundation.

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