2017 Urban Initiatives Annual Report


Annual Report 2017

news & notes.

This year, the same as every year, I am astonished at the level of support, encouragement, and

time dedicated to Urban Initiatives and our mission by our stakeholders, parents, staff, and most

of all our participants. Although I could talk for days about the success of our students, this

report is a snapshot of their growth and achievements in 2017.

This school year, we will serve over 17,000 students, each with the potential to become a

change-maker in Chicago. Our participants have proved over and over again that our city houses

some of the brightest and best leaders, and that given an opportunity to learn, practice, and

experience success our students will achieve in the classroom and lead on the field.

I am so proud to continue to work with you towards a safer, stronger, and smarter city for these

young people. I know that they are becoming our future community leaders, and that together,

through sport, we can unify Chicago.

Many thanks for your continued support,

Jim Dower, Co-Founder and Executive Director

UI Rebrand

our new look.

Urban Initiatives has successfully expanded our

vision while remaining true to our roots at every

step. In 2017, we were excited to share a new

organization logo that captures the Urban Initiatives

of today and of the future.

Our goal was to develop a logo that is a clear

representation of our work and the communities

we serve, appeals to our participants and

supporters, and reflects our identity as a diverse

and fun organization.

Family Engagement

the ui family.

On March 22, 2018 Urban Initiatives will be hosting its Family and Coach Appreciation party at Revel Fulton Market. This night will

celebrate the families and coaches that support Urban Initiatives' participants. Coaches and families from every Urban Initiatives

partner school will be represented from communities across Chicago. This fun and celebratory night will include an award

ceremony honoring our Coach of the Year, food, dancing, and activities.

This event is the capstone to a year long initiative to more deeply engage participants' families in Urban Initiatives' work. We

have done this by continually updating parents about their child's efforts both on and off the field. Our team increased their

number of phone calls home this fall to report on participant behavior. Teachers submitted grades for each participants'

behavior and parents were updated regularly, regardless of high or low scores. These calls emphasized the importance of

growth, rather than focusing on scores alone. Connecting program staff to our families is a vital component of the family

engagement strategy.

In addition to phone calls home, Urban Initiatives also hosted parent meetings, Parent vs. Participant Scrimmages, and end of

the season parties as opportunities for parents to engage in programming.

"The goal of the parent engagement strategy is to

inform our families about the power of play, to play

together, and to celebrate with our families. The

communities that support our participants are critical

to Urban Initiatives' success and we are so excited to

celebrate a great year of programming with our

coaches and families."

-Program Manager, Christina Valencia

Big Kid Recess

play for change.

Lloyd Elementary hosted our annual Big Kid

Recess event. Big Kid Recess demonstrates the

power of play to our stakeholders by allowing

them to engage in games and activities that our

Play with Potential students participate in each

day. This year, UI Student Board members

attended and they participated in sack races,

twister, and soccer bowling.

Big Kid Recess provides our stakeholders with the

opportunity to see why the Play with Potential

recess program is so critical for our participants. It

is proven that play sparks brain activity and that

students are more inclined to focus in the

classroom after just fifteen minutes of recess.

Recess is a crucial opportunity for students' social

emotional-learning as they practice selfawareness,

self-management, decision making,

and interpersonal skills. Big Kid Recess allowed

our Student Board members to experience this

first hand and become better advocates for the

power of play.

fact check.





We are conducting a

randomized controlled

trial research study in

19 UI partner schools to

evaluate the impact of

our Work to Play

program across all of its

intended outcomes:

health, social emotional

learning, and academic

performance. This study

is unique as it is one of

the first of its kind to be

done with elementary


participants at this


UI is partnering with the

Poverty Lab at University

of Chicago Urban Labs to

conduct this study.

Urban Labs is a

renowned research

institution that works to

identify, test, and scale

programs and policies

with the greatest

potential to improve

human lives. The

research team is led by

three principal

investigators from the

Poverty Lab: Marianne

Bertrand, Kelly Hallberg,

and Mary Clair Turner.

The 19 participating

partner schools

continue to implement

UI’s high-quality Work

to Play programming,

but due to high

program demand also

maintain a waitlist that

acts as the control

group for the

randomized controlled

trial. Data sources will

include surveys of

consented students,

parents, and teachers,

height and weight

measurements, and

academic data such as

grades and attendance.

Disparities in access to highquality


programs and team sports

participation have increased

over time and

disproportionately affect

children from low-income

families, creating an

“opportunity gap” with wideranging

implications for

millions of children. Existing

research on sports-based

youth development programs

is promising, yet rigorous

evidence is limited. This study

seeks to causally establish

Work to Play’s impact and

inform youth development

practitioners on how to

maximize effectiveness moving


2,700 person hours |65 UI staff members | 20 Urban Labs staff members| 45 volunteers

Research Study

in case you missed it.

Multicultural Cup

This fall The 7th Annual Multicultural Cup was held at Haas

Park. This event brings together our participants from

across the city to engage in activities originating from a

variety of cultures. The stations this year included Spanish

yoga, breakdancing, country flag bingo, and a Dia de los

Muertos art project. The Multicultural Cup allows our

participants to experience many cultures, building unity,

understanding, and appreciation amongst Chicago's

diverse communities.

Soccer Ball 2018

This January we celebrated the 12th Annual Soccer Ball at

Morgan Manufacturing. The Soccer Ball included unique

silent auction items, dancing, soccer games played by

attendees and program participants alike, and food and

drink provided by Lettuce Entertain You's most popular

restaurants. The festivities celebrated another year of

unifying our diverse stakeholders to support our program

participants across 57 schools and 38 Chicago


Continuum of Programming

from player to captain to coach.

Work to Play



Social-Emotional Learning

Our health and education soccer program incentivizes elementary school

students to work hard in the classroom by rewarding them with the opportunity

to participate in games with their team. We embed opportunities for Players to

practice health and social-emotional learning through activities and discussions.

Work to Play serves kindergarten-4th grade students, allowing us to start young

with our participants.

Take the Lead

Leadership Development

High School Readiness

Conflict Transformation

Our leadership development and high school readiness program offers middle

school students the opportunity to serve as Captains and role models for the

Work to Play participants at their schools. Captains also participate in bimonthly

cross-Chicago leadership Retreats to engage in experiential learning

with their peers. Take the Lead serves students grades 5th-8th and allows them

the opportunity to engage with staff during this critical time of growth before

high school.

Coach for Success

College and Career Prep


Leadership Development

Our college and career readiness program for high school students pairs

participants with mentors from Chicago’s professional community. Students

join Urban Initiatives’ staff as Coaches, where they have the opportunity to “pay

it forward” by leading and mentoring younger Captains and Players. UI is

committed to serving students over time and CFS allows our staff to be a

resource as students navigate high school, college applications, and their first


culture & climate.

Our structured recess program, Play with Potential, aims to maximize the

benefits of play time for all students at a school, while increasing opportunities

for physical activity and social-emotional learning during the school day. Play

with Potential staff utilize the inherent power of sports and play during recess to

impact the culture and climate of an entire school population.

Our Recess Aims to:

Engage students in physical activity for at least 15 minutes each


Improve students' academic engagement and feelings of school


Enhance students' development of self-awareness, self

management, interpersonal, and decision making skills

Our Impact:

Adults observed at Play with Potential recess were more than twice

as likely to be active and positively engaged with students than

adults at comparison schools without the program.

82% of students observed at Play with Potential schools engaged

in moderate to vigorous physical activity at recess compared to

66% of students at comparison schools.

After one year of Play with Potential, students reported a 10%

increase in feelings of inclusion at recess and overall

connectedness to others at their school.

Play with Potential

Coach for Success

lead with us.

Ashontis Davis is sixteen years old and has been in Urban

Initiatives programming since second grade. An alumnus of

Sherman Elementary School in Englewood, Ashontis' favorite

part of Work to Play was playing in Friday scrimmages and

taking the bus to go play with teams from different schools at

the Chicago Indoor Sports Center.

After graduating from the Work to Play program, Ashontis

continued her UI career and became one of Urban Initiatives

first Team Captains in the Take the Lead program.

Today, Ashontis is a member of our new high school program,

Coach for Success. She's a junior at Westinghouse College

Prep- a selective enrollment school on the west side. She

travels an hour and ten minutes to get to school each day,

and Ashontis balances the Coach for Success program, which

has monthly meetings, with a full course load of honors and

AP classes.

Through the Coach for Success program, longtime Urban

Initiatives participants, that have grown up in our

programs, are preparing for college and careers. Not only

does this program provide mentorship opportunities,

continued leadership development curriculum, and

professional development, but it's also allowing students like

Ashontis to remain involved in our programs that she has

been a part of for over 10 years. The UI team is so proud of

Ashontis and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for

her and the rest of the Coach for Success students.

Mentorship is a key component of the

Coach for Success program. Ashontis'

mentor, Ronnie Westmoreland acts as a

role model and guide for Ashontis. They

attend monthly meetings together and

Ronnie helps Ashontis track and reach her

goals. As a successful young professional,

Ronnie sets an example for Ashontis and

can help her pave her own path towards


Work to Play

Program Goals

1. Increase the academic achievement of


measuring our continuum's impact.

2. Reduce the incidence of obesity among


3. Enhance the social-emotional development

of participants

9 out of 10 participants reported

that the Work to Play program

helped them become more


70% of participants initially considered

obese or overweight decreased their BMI

relative to other children their age after

one year of program participation


Take the Lead

Program Goals

1. Prepare participants for academic success in

high school and graduation from high school

2. Enhance the leadership abilities of


3. Enable participants to peacefully transform

conflicts through continued social emotional

development and positive adult relationships

Team Captains

attend nearly a full

week more school

than their peers

Item 2



Item 1


87% of Team







79% of Team



improvements in


as controlling

their emotions or


responsibility for

their actions

Coach for Success

Program Goals

1. Increase high school graduation rates of participants

2. Increase college readiness, college access and

enrollment of participants

3. Provide participants with job training, professional skill

development opportunities, and early employment


4. Enhance the leadership abilities of participants

Urban Initiatives evaluates its programs to ensure high-quality implementation,

measure impact, and identify best practices and areas of improvement.

In its pilot year, Coach for

Success was evaluated using

participant focus groups where

Coaches reported out their

experience in the program.

"I really love

coming here and just

talking about stuff

that will really help

us in the future.”

"It changed me into a person that can better assess a situation and then be

able to figure out what the problem is, and take steps toward overcoming


Evaluation Results

Financial Report

year by the numbers.


Accounts payable $28,735

Accrued expenses $43,768

Total Liabilities $72,503


Cash $1,007,573

Grants receivable $34,096

Program service fees receivable $236,925

Prepaid expenses $14,898

Security deposit $1,167

Total Assets $1,293,659


Program Services $3,338,702

Management and general $413,509

Fundraising $163,702

Total Expenses $3,915,913


Donations and grants $2,438,113

Program service fees $1,110,112

Events $686,049

Other $4,486

Total Revenue $4,238,760

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