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
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.
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
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.
We are conducting a
trial research study in
19 UI partner schools to
evaluate the impact of
our Work to Play
program across all of its
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
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
investigators from the
Poverty Lab: Marianne
Bertrand, Kelly Hallberg,
and Mary Clair Turner.
The 19 participating
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
trial. Data sources will
include surveys of
parents, and teachers,
height and weight
academic data such as
grades and attendance.
Disparities in access to highquality
programs and team sports
participation have increased
over time and
children from low-income
families, creating an
“opportunity gap” with wideranging
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
in case you missed it.
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
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
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
High School Readiness
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
Coach for Success
College and Career Prep
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
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
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
1. Increase the academic achievement of
measuring our continuum's impact.
2. Reduce the incidence of obesity among
3. Enhance the social-emotional development
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
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
attend nearly a full
week more school
than their peers
87% of Team
79% of Team
their emotions or
Coach for Success
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
year by the numbers.
Accounts payable $28,735
Accrued expenses $43,768
Total Liabilities $72,503
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
Total Expenses $3,915,913
Donations and grants $2,438,113
Program service fees $1,110,112
Total Revenue $4,238,760