Chicago’s Corporate Leaders Gather to Plant a Seed

On Thursday October 6th, Urban Initiatives and the UI Board of Directors hosted the Plant a Seed Breakfast at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. Members of the Chicago business community gathered to learn about and reflect on how UI is using the power of sport and play to effect social change.

After welcome remarks from Development Director Kyle Haskins, White Sox Player Charlie Tilson shared how his involvement in sports shaped his success both personally and professionally as an MLB player. UI Co-Founder and Executive Director Jim Dower explained how involvement in sports for Charlie, himself, and nearly everyone in the room was a privilege that is not available to so many young kids growing up in Chicago today.

Thomas Durr, current student-athlete at Robert Morris University, shared his personal story about how joining UI’s team as a five year-old gave him the opportunity to work hard and succeed both on the field and in the classroom. Thomas noted that UI’s Work to Play program provided an important incentive for him to take his schoolwork seriously so he could join his peers on the soccer field. He implored the individuals in the room to join Urban Initiatives’ team so that more young people in Chicago could have the opportunity to achieve their highest potential with the opportunities that UI provides.

Finally, James O’Connor, Global Head of Venture Capital and Managing Director at William Blair, shared why he joined the Urban Initiatives Board of Directors. He seconded Thomas’s ask for those in attendance to consider supporting Urban Initiatives in order to provide kids in communities where opportunities to join a sports team are few and far between with the chance to build stronger communities and realize their full potential. He and Jim Dower closed the event with an invitation for all to support UI’s annual benefit, the Soccer Ball, on January 27, 2017.

After the presentation, the crowd was abuzz about the work UI does to connect children, families, and communities across the city and the opportunity to support UI’s programs by attending the Soccer Ball.

Urban Initiatives thanks Charlie Tilson, Thomas Durr, and James O’Connor for sharing their perspective on the work UI does to empower Chicago’s youth, as well as the UI Board of the Directors for hosting the event. We would also like to thank the staff at the Radisson Blu Aqua for providing the space and food for the breakfast.

To watch the presentation, click here.

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