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NLEN Awarded $100,000 Impact 100 Chicago Grant



Publicity Chair: Barbara Melcher

Phone: 773-742-7212




Impact 100 Chicago Awards $330,000 to Chicago-Area Nonprofits

Women’s philanthropy supports youth media, employment training and mental health organizations

 CHICAGO May 21, 2015 – The City Chapter of Impact 100 Chicago, a philanthropic women’s organizations, awarded three $100,000 Impact Grants and three $10,000 Merit Grants to Chicago-area nonprofits at their annual Grant Awards Celebration on May 19.

Winners of the $100,000 Impact Grants, voted on by members after presentations from the six finalists included:

  • Free Spirit Media,, providing hands-on training in media production to under-served youth;
  • North Lawndale Employment Network,, providing job training and access to financial literacy to unemployed and underemployed in North Lawndale; and,
  • Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center,, providing mental services to those in need regardless of ability to pay.

Merit Grants of $10,000 each were awarded to:

  • Mikva Challenge,, encouraging youth participation in civic and political life;
  • Refugee One,, resettling refugees in the Chicago area; and,
  • Storycatchers Theatre,, providing writing, producing and performing opportunities for youth.

“With state and city budgets stressed, Chicagoland nonprofits need us now more than ever” said Chicago Chapter President Allison Bacon. The Impact 100 Chicago grants this year bring to $1.3 million the total amount granted since 2010. More than 355 people attended the annual Awards Celebration dinner held at Galleria Marchetti. The Suburban Chapter of Impact 100 will hold its Grant Awards Celebration on June 2 at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights. A $100,000 Impact grant will be awarded plus four $18,000 Merit Grants.

About Impact 100 Chicago: Impact 100 Chicago,, is a 501 (c)(3) women’s philanthropic nonprofit with members from all over the Chicago area comprising two chapters, the City Chapter and the Suburban Chapter. To date, it has awarded over $1.3 million in transformational grants to worthy Chicago nonprofits. Women join by making a donation of $1,000 for the grant year. Each chapter pools its funds to award Impact Grants of $100,000 to nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area. In the fall, nonprofits submit a letter of inquiry. The applications are thoroughly reviewed by members, and the finalists are selected.

Sweet Beginnings Featured in South Side Weekly

The Buzz Around the South Side

Backyard beekeepers and community organizations make up a rapidly growing beekeeping community on the South Side

Click here to read the full article

City of Chicago to Partner on our Moving Forward Program

NLEN is pleased to announce the City of Chicago as a new partner of Moving Forward, our diesel mechanics training program. This program prepares men and women with felony backgrounds for careers in the transportation, distribution and logistics sector. The City joins existing partners JP Morgan Chase, the Chicago Community Trust, and the Chicago Transit Authority and is expected to fund the program for at least two years.  We are honored to help close the skills gap – driving the local economy with local people!

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Sweet Beginnings on CNN Air


Next time you are at the airport, look for this CNN piece about the Sweet Beginnings apiary at O’Hare Airport. The apiary was established four years ago in partnership with the Chicago Department of Aviation as part of its Sustainability Program. Nearly 100 hives now sit on what used to be unused airport land. North Lawndale Employment Network is proud to be a leader in job creation through sustainable enterprise!


New Faces and Responsibilities at NLEN

We are excited to announce the arrival of new staff members and the advancement of others into new roles at our organization.

  • Jackie Jordon has moved into the role of Program Manager for our Urban Weatherization Initiative. Jackie first came to the agency as a participant and was hired as a workforce coach in 2013.
  • Eric Courts has stepped into the role of Assistant Business Solutions Manager. Eric first joined NLEN in 2014 as a digital literacy instructor.
  • Jermaine Morales, Workforce Coach, will be overseeing the day-to-day management of Moving Forward, our diesel mechanics training program.
  • Thad Smith is stepping into the role of Head Beekeeper. Thad is a graduate of U-Turn Permitted who was hired by Sweet Beginnings in 2013. He has since been training as the Apprentice Beekeeper and will soon be assuming our primary beekeeping responsibilities.
  • Carol Mjoseth has joined NLEN as our Development and Social Media Associate. Carol brings more than 20 years of experience the NLEN team and is working towards her Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the university of Illinois Chicago.

We are proud to work alongside such dedicated and talented staff members. Thank you all for the work you do.