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Greetings Friends –

I am not typically at a loss for words. But, as I sat to write this note, I was finding it hard to do so against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. The pictures, videos, and stories coming out of this proud nation are overwhelming. At once, I am also amazed by the incredibly brave citizens standing strong, fighting a brutal and relentless force, mobilizing so quickly to both fight a war and operate humanitarian services for their neighbors and fellow citizens...and doing it all so effectively. It is both debilitating and uplifting.

I am also cognizant that this war is against the backdrop of increasing violence across our City and Nation. I read each day these headlines, worried that I become desensitized to the senseless loss of life and harm to our neighbors and fellow citizens. In a similar way, I find this news just as debilitating and yet, the response of so many to continue seeking solutions, just as uplifting.   
 
President Teddy Roosevelt often said, “I have always had a horror of words that are not translated into deeds.” 

Indeed, that is certainly the sentiment I have witnessed in the response to Ukrainians arriving in our City. Hundreds have already responded to our call to action seeking help at one of our schools, St Nicholas Cathedral in Ukrainian Village, as they welcome children - over 40 at last count - and their families. Donations are coming in for scholarships, counseling, school supplies, clothes, and more.  The Principal, Anna Cirilli, and her school community at St. Nicholas Cathedral are stretching themselves and their days to find more hours to meet the needs of their new friends and community members.
 
Indeed, that is also the sentiment of so many of our students, families, supporters and school staffs who keep finding ways to ignore the option of being “desensitized” or “debilitated” and instead partnering in ever more ways to offer pathways to brighter futures for our City's youth. 
 
In this way, all of them and all of YOU are shaping the path forward. In this way, we are together lifting the hearts and minds toward our better angels of fighting for good over evil.
 
Just this past week, a group of Big Shoulders Fund supporters and Board members joined the Academy of St Benedict school community in Englewood to “surprise” retiring principal, Ms. Patricia Murphy. Pat has been the very heart of President Roosevelt’s sentiment of deeds, not words. She has joyously spent the last 40 years in deep relationship with her school and the Englewood community. This group of supporters – led by Bert and DeeDee Miller, Loren Miller, Lindy and Mike Keiser, Jim and Ellen O’Connor, Bill and Kathleen Lynch, Elizabeth and Michael Cole, Laura and John Moran, and Jennifer Farrand – announced the creation of an endowed scholarship program at Big Shoulders Fund that will for many years to come offer scholarships in honor of Pat Murphy. 
 
Celebrating Pat’s service to our shared mission was uplifting on so many levels but, at this particular time, another example of the pursuit we all share. Challenges abound, but good always triumphs by, first, getting to action. 


All my very best,


Josh Hale
President & CEO
Ukrainian Aid Outreach
The St. Nicholas Cathedral School community is continuing to provide critical support to families affected by the war in Ukraine. The school has now welcomed nearly 40 new students who have recently migrated from Ukraine. Principal Anna Cirilli has been working with Big Shoulders Fund and other local organizations to acquire funds, basic necessities, housing, and more for families in need. If you would like to support these families, please consider donating to the Big Shoulders Fund Ukrainian Outreach Fund. All funds will be used to provide families with:
  • Scholarships for tuition assistance
  • Social and emotional support through 1:1 counseling, group counseling, and school programming
  • Tutoring to help students get brought up to grade level and academically acclimated
Click here to read more about how St. Nicholas Cathedral School is helping to provide hope to its community during this time in this recent Classic Chicago Magazine article.
Donate to Our Ukrainian Outreach Fund
Networking Speaker Series
Thank you to all who joined us for an intimate conversation with Illinois Speaker of the House Emanuel "Chris" Welch and Illinois State Representative and Chairmen's Advisory Council Executive Committee Co-Chair Curtis J. Tarver II on April 29 for our Networking Speaker Series. It was great to be able to host the event in person and have so many join us as Speaker Welch shared his experience of becoming the first Black lawmaker to hold his current position and the importance of creating access to education.

Thank you to the Chairmen's Advisory Council Networking Speaker Series Committee for helping to make this event a success and to our friends at Baird for hosting.
In Our Schools
Mentorship In Action

Big Shoulders Fund Black Leaders Mentoring Program mentor Tawanna Streater has built a strong bond with her mentees from Holy Trinity High School. Read what Tawanna has to say about her experience as a first-time mentor with Big Shoulders Fund:

"It truly gives me a sense of fulfilment to know that these young ladies are actually getting something out of our time together. I wish I had a program like this when I was in high school. I look forward to continuing our partnership and other volunteer opportunities with Holy Trinity High School!"


To learn about our mentoring programs, contact Sam Rodriguez.
Making A Difference
Thank you to our friends at GCP/Modolo for joining us for a service day at St. Gall School. Volunteers worked on literacy activities with students in the classrooms and helped with capital projects around the school such as organizing classrooms and finishing up a mural.
Volunteers from Motorola Solutions joined us for a service day at Our Lady of the Snows School in celebration of Earth Day! They helped to revitalize the playground by adding new mulch. Thank you for your hard work - students were excited to use the space!
Thank you to all who joined us at our Auxiliary Board social earlier this month. It was a great turnout of new and returning members. If you are interested in joining or learning more about the Auxiliary Board, submit the interest form linked here or contact Kevin Pitts.
IL Tax Credit Scholarship Program
The Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, made possible by the Illinois Invest in Kids Act, provides donors a unique opportunity to contribute to scholarships that help lower-income families send their children to private schools — while reducing their own tax bill on dollars otherwise owed to the state.

Now in our fifth year as a certified Scholarship Granting Organization in this critical program, the need is higher than ever with more than 15,000 applicants currently on our waitlist. 

Click the video above to hear from St. Gall School Principal Caitlin Lee as she describes the generosity of donors who receive a 75 percent credit on their tax bill as literally "life-changing." If you have questions, need more information, and/or need help in any way with the program or process contact Amy Drozda and/or visit our website.
Donate
Save the Date
Registration is now open for the 22nd Annual Big Shoulders Fund Golf Classic taking place on Monday, August 1, at Olympia Fields Country Club. Hit the links with leading civic and corporate leaders and raise funds for the Friends of Big Shoulders Scholarship Fund to help students study for a brighter future.

View sponsorship opportunities. 
Join us on Saturday, June 11, from 9 am – 12 pm for our June Give Back Day, hosted by the Big Shoulders Fund Auxiliary Board.

Volunteers will help to clean, organize classrooms, and more at Queen of the Universe School (7130 S. Hamlin Ave).
 
Make a difference with only three hours of your time!
 
Purchase Foursome
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