Chicago Beyond Announces Inaugural Innovation Challenge Winners

Chicago Beyond Announces Inaugural Innovation Challenge Winners

Chicago Beyond, a philanthropic venture launched earlier this year by a former high school principal, has announced grants totaling $2.7 million to the winners of its GO Innovate challenge.

Launched in April, the challenge sought innovative, early-stage ideas in two areas — supporting college matriculation and graduation, and reengaging youth in work and school. Of the more than two hundred applicants, three organizations were selected to partner with the University of Chicago's Urban Labs to determine the effectiveness of their programs.

In the college matriculation and graduation category, Genesys Works Chicago was awarded $790,000 to enhance its efforts to provide at-risk high school seniors with workforce training, a year-long paid internship, college-prep, and ongoing support through college, and to study the impact on rates of college matriculation, graduation, and later workforce participation. In the reengaging youth category, Dovetail Project was awarded $990,000 to provide and evaluate the effect of its twelve-week curriculum and year-long case management support for young fathers on their long-term employment, wages, and GED completion over a two-year period. And Storycatchers Theatre was awarded $900,000 in support of its Changing Voices arts program for youth recently released from correctional facilities and to conduct a study of the program's impact on participants' long-term employment and recidivism.

"We believe this has the potential for national impact," Chicago Beyond founder Liz Dozier told the Chicago Tribune. "These learnings are applicable across the board.”

"Chicago Beyond Awards First-Ever Innovation Challenge Investments." Chicago Beyond Press Release 08/23/2016. Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz. "Chicago Beyond Announces Winners of First Innovation Investments." Chicago Tribune 08/23/2016.