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Greetings Friends –

We recently announced that Big Shoulders Fund Co-Chair John Canning Jr., would be stepping down after 25 years of service in this role. I am grateful to John for his leadership and friendship throughout the years. In addition to his great strategic thinking and keen wit, one of John’s many gifts is to get quickly to the heart of a matter – how best to serve students and schools – which has served Big Shoulders Fund incredibly well.

Through conversations with the Co-Chairs and a number of board members about a successor, many shared helpful guidance and suggestions. Remarkably and thankfully, the feedback and conversations continued to point to Kent Dauten, who has served on our Board of Trustees since 2014. Click here to read more on this transition. 

We are lucky to have so many great partners in our mission who are helping us to provide more children with access to a quality education. Continue reading to learn about a recent gift made by longtime supporter Ken Griffin in honor of Executive Committee and Board Trustee Gerald Beeson and his wife Jennifer, as well as the work recent grants we've received are helping us to achieve, and the impact the service provided by our corporate partners is having in our schools.

Thanks to each of you for your support of our network of students and schools. I look forward to the future of Big Shoulders Fund with you on our side. 



My very best,


Josh Hale
President & CEO
Welcome to New Co-Chair Kent Dauten

John Canning Jr., has served as Co-Chair of Big Shoulders Fund alongside Jim O’Connor, and Monsignor Velo for more than 25 years. He has decided to step down from this role but he will remain an active member of our Board of Trustees to enable another person to take on his Co-Chair role.
While this has been in the works for some time, it is only recently that we were able to put the pieces in place for what we know will be a smooth transition. The Board of Trustees completed its vote to elect Kent Dauten as Big Shoulders Fund's next Co-Chair, beginning July 1, 2022. Kent Dauten is Chairman of Keystone Capital, a private equity investment firm and entrepreneurial holding company which he co-founded in 1994.

We are excited for this next chapter in Big Shoulders Fund history and extend our sincerest thanks to John Canning for his invaluable leadership and support over the years. 

Click here to read an article from Crain's Chicago Business on this transition. 
Special Contribution to Our Network
Over the last few weeks, Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel, has been contributing significant and very generous donations to organizations he has supported for years here in Chicago. We are thrilled to share that Big Shoulders Fund is the beneficiary of one of these amazing gifts that will allow us to help even more children in our network.
Gerald Beeson has been on our Executive Committee and Board of Trustees for many years and currently serves as a Vice-Chair. He and his wife, Jennifer, have a scholarship program, they are the Patrons for Gerald’s alma mater St. Gall Elementary School, they have been contributors and instrumental in driving participation in the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and they are helping to bring free broadband access to students in need.
Gerald was among the earliest employees of Citadel and has grown with the company and in his partnership with Ken since joining as an intern in 1993. Today, Gerald serves as COO of the firm and is one of the most respected leaders in the industry and here in Chicago. 
This all provides some background for the reason why Ken has made a gift of $2.5M to Big Shoulders Fund in honor of Gerald and Jennifer Beeson. We are enormously grateful to Ken for this generous gesture and to Gerald and Jennifer for, as always, inspiring so many to join our mission!
Grant Partnerships

We're thrilled to partner with many great organizations that help us to provide access to quality educational experiences to our network of students. Check out some of the recently renewed grants that are helping to support our work.
  • The Cigna Foundation has renewed its support for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) accessibility across our network of schools. This grant allows us to provide even more counseling and support services to students and schools staffs this upcoming school year.
  • The Northwestern Medicine Community Benefit Grant Program is providing support to improve developmental, behavioral, and mental health outcomes for students attending St. Francis de Sales High School.
  • The Chaddick Foundation and The Siragusa Family Foundation are steadfast supporters of our Chairmen’s Emergency Scholarship Fund, which provides emergency scholarship support to students and families facing a crisis such as sudden illness or death of a loved one, job loss, or loss of their home.
  • The Opus Foundation Impact Fund Grant is providing support for the Big Shoulders Fund Teacher Development Program, which recruits, prepares, and develops quality teachers to serve in Big Shoulders Fund schools. The grant is geared to helping improve the current strategy around teacher recruitment with a particular focus on recruiting teachers of color.
Making A Difference
In the month of June, more than 230 volunteers from multiple corporations in the Chicagoland area participated in service days across Big Shoulders Fund schools. Volunteers helped to paint hallways, clean and organize classrooms, and more! In total, volunteers offered more than 640 hours of service resulting in $18,265 saved in labor by schools as reported by Do Good Institute. 

Thank you to all our volunteers, corporate, and civic partners who worked with us to make a difference in our school communities.
Register Today!
Tickets are now on sale for the 16th Annual Big Shoulders Fund Ball, hosted by our Next Generation Boards. Join us on September 30 as we celebrate the beacons of hope that make up our network of schools! Proceeds from the event support scholarships that provide financial aid to some of the most deserving students across the Chicago region. 
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