SPARK TALKS

Bold new ideas, breaking research, emerging trends – these quick talks are proof that it only takes a few minutes to open your mind to an entire world of new possibilities.

Wednesday, November 13

2:30 pm – 2:40 pm

A Case for Investing in Social Movements

Social movements have proven to be key to creating a fairer and healthier society for all. But NCRP’s research shows that the sector lacks knowledge about movements, and funding for movements is inadequate, scarce, and poorly directed.

Join this Spark Talk, designed to help grantmakers and donors understand why movements are critical to creating lasting change on the issues they care about – like health equity, racial equity, and economic security. And take advantage of practical advice for nonprofits working to raise more money for movement work, and funders seeking to invest in movements in better ways.

Presented by NCRP

Friday, November 15

9:15 am – 9:25 am

ArtsVote2020 – Engaging Presidential Contenders on Arts Policy Issues

The 2020 Presidential election process is underway. Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund are engaging the candidates. Don’t miss their Spark Talk to learn how you can do the same on your issues.

Presented by Americans for the Arts

Thursday, November 14

11:15 am – 11:25 am

Bringing Arts and Healing – Wherever You Live

Data shows the effectiveness of incorporating the arts and creative arts therapies into person-centered health and wellness plans. And no longer confined to large cities, practitioners in creative arts therapies and therapeutic arts are but a close drive away in most urban, suburban, and rural areas. Join this Spark Talk by Marete Wester to learn how the arts and creative arts therapies can boost the quality of life.

Presented by Americans for the Arts

Friday, November 15

10:45 am – 10:55 am

Building Blocks for a New, Inclusive Culture of Civic Leadership

Chicago’s distinctive history of private sector civic engagement is a national model for civic leadership. But increasingly complex regional challenges and opportunities go beyond a single institutions or cause and require a more inclusive and collaborative leadership approach. Learn how an aspirational framework for an inclusive civic leadership culture to create more equitable outcomes and tackle our regions most pressing social challenges.

Presented by Civic Consulting Alliance

Friday, November 15

11:45 am – 11:55 am

Collective Leadership: All Hands on Deck

How can nonprofit leaders get better results given the many challenges they face? Real leadership isn’t just about who’s sitting in the captain’s seat—it’s about getting everyone to work together so the boat gets to where it needs to go. Research shows that effective leadership generates three things: direction, alignment, and commitment. Without these three things, your organization or community initiatives could be dead in the water. So who keeps the ship moving? Here’s a hint: It’s not just the captain, it’s the whole crew.

Thursday, November 14

11:00 am – 11:10 am

Creating a Community Capital Revolution

Have you heard how Cooperative Capital kicked off a capital “revolution” in Detroit? You will during this Spark Talk, when Kwaku Osei, Founder & CEO, shares their story and lessons learned, as well as the barriers that stood in the way of bolstering community capital. You’ll also learn about the brand new radical strategy Cooperative Capital is deploying that “open-sources” their effort to support communities in self-organizing to collectively invest in their community.

Presented by Cooperative Capital

Wednesday, November 13

5:00 pm – 5:10 pm

Creating Positive Change through Board Advocacy

The best boards know public policy impacts their organization’s work, and leverage advocacy as a way to stand up for their mission and the people they serve. But BoardSource research shows that only 52% of boards actively engage in public policy. If your board doesn’t have an advocacy role, how can you get them engaged? Join Stand for Your Mission to learn about resources that can help you talk with your board about advocacy and public policy, and fully leverage your organization’s capacity to create change.

Presented by BoardSource

Thursday, November 14

9:00 am – 9:10 am

Does Your Brand Elevate Your Social Mission?

Every aspect of your brand should reinforce your social mission. Join this Spark Talk by Megan Patel to learn how to design your brand so that all components work in harmony to elevate your mission.

Presented by Chicago Beyond

Wednesday, November 13

2:45 pm – 2:55 pm

Encouraging Youth Voice in Civic Spaces

Young people aren’t apathetic; they’re uninvited. They care about issues facing their communities and are the experts of their experiences, but they’re rarely engaged in civic spaces in meaningful ways.

Mikva Challenge understands that youth voice and participation matter. Join their Spark Talk to learn how organizations can encourage participation and decrease marginalization and disenfranchisement of young people by addressing youth in ways that are meaningful to them.

Presented by Mikva Challenge

Thursday, November 14

9:15 am – 9:25 am

Ending Poverty through Transformational Employment

Finding a job can be tough, and even harder when you’re also struggling with recovery, whether from addiction, incarceration, or simply loss of self – an unemployment dilemma that often can be generational.Cara (Gaelic for “friend”) helps job-seeking adults secure and sustain gainful employment — interrupting generational poverty – by addressing poverty of esteem before poverty of assets, informing the role of socio-emotional skills in Cara’s work. Cara’s self-actualization coaching model builds workplace competencies through experiential and immersive learning – advancing the transforming effect of employment in restoring hope and prosperity to individuals, families, and Chicago.

Presented by Cara

Thursday, November 14

10:45 am – 10:55 am

From Exclusive Club to Community Hub: the Arts as Catalysts for Social Change

Arts are a powerful tool for improving lives, bridging communities, and encouraging civic participation. Arts-involved Individuals show an 86% increase in civic involvement, are 40% more likely to have diverse friends, and twice as likely to register to vote. Yet access to the arts remains significantly economically and racially disproportionate. Find out how Hyde Park Art Center’s new “Community Supported School” model of arts participation encourages shared ownership while strengthening communities across generations, socioeconomics, and racial disparities.

Presented by Hyde Park Art Center

Thursday, November 14

11:30 am – 11:40 am

How a Funder Is Building a County-wide Equity Movement

After four years of launching an equity movement based on listening deeply and paying attention to people, data, history, and social structures, a new place-based Foundation with $150 million in assets is opening the Center for Health Equity in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Center will be both a physical place and a process focused on closing the equity gap in Pinellas County with policy, research, strategic support, and highly-trained operations to realize the community’s goal of a more civilized, equitable county.

Presented by Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg

Wednesday, November 13

3:45 pm – 3:55 pm

How to Change Your DEI Culture in One Month

Join this Spark Talk for tools and strategies to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in your workplace in one week! While most organizations use the buzzwords “diversity equity and inclusion” as a value, many employees can’t articulate actions by their leadership around this pivotal issue. But you don’t have to be on the leadership team to ignite excitement and purpose around DEI! Find out how a temporary employee sparked immediate change in diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace.

Presented by I Follow the Leader LLC

Thursday, November 14

2:30 pm – 2:40 pm

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for URBAN GREEN SPACES

Birds guide the way to the landscapes and communities that National Audubon Society serves. And while their work historically focused on preserving large-scale ecosystems, polling shows that urban residences desire increased access to green space. Stop by Audubon Dakota’s Spark Talk to learn their unique approach to re-establishing natural habitat in concrete jungles, and achieving the mutual goal of enhancing environmental health while filling a community need.

Presented by Audubon Dakota

Thursday, November 14

3:00 pm – 3:10 pm

If You Can Change Your Breath, You Can Change Your Life

One of the greatest deterrents to well-being is the chaos of the mind. But if you can take control of your breath, you truly can tame your mind. The Buddha said, “The greatest enemy of your life will be an untrained mind, but your greatest ally will be a trained mind.” Learn how mastering your breath is the key to learning to meditate successfully. It will teach you to open and be authentically present, available to dwell powerfully in any moment.

Presented by Kash Atlanta

Thursday, November 14

2:15 pm – 2:25 pm

Impact Volunteerism: A New Way for Companies to Spark Change

Presented by Chicago Cares

Thursday, November 14

10:00 am – 10:10 am

Leveraging Longitudinal Data to Transform Philanthropic Community Investment

Individuals and companies are engaged in and taking stands on social issues more than ever. But what if we could identify and address emerging social issues before they negatively impact individuals and society? What if we better understood individual and family needs and targeted resources more effectively? Stop by United Way’s Spark Talk to find out how they’re leveraging data across 1200 worldwide locations to build longitudinal data capabilities that bridge existing data systems for better predictive and evaluative capabilities.

Presented by United Way Worldwide

Friday, November 15

10:30 am – 10:40 am

Lighting the Fire of Your Inner Heart: Igniting Your Passion and Purpose

As agents of change in the world, you must learn to keep the fire of your heart ablaze. This is the fire that inspires you to do work of meaning and purpose. As a dedicated changemaker in our world, your personal contemplative work becomes imperative so that you can use everything you experience – with those you serve, with your co-workers and in the world – as fuel for that ongoing fire. This is the fire of transformation, for here you can lay down your conflicts, challenges and woes, and connect to your authentic heart. Once you reach that realm of unchanging depth, the qualities of love, compassion and gratitude are revealed. These innate heart qualities light the way to your passion and purpose.

Presented by Kashi Atlanta

Thursday, November 14

10:30 am – 10:40 am

Making Way for Next-generation Legal Changemakers

When I was young, I thought lawyers were white, old, worked in fancy offices, and did more harm than good to communities of color. But the truth is that lawyers have the potential to be social justice change makers. They write, defend, and challenge laws. They right historical wrongs in our courtrooms and beyond. But in order to unleash their social justice power, we must redefine what it means to be a lawyer, and make way for the next generation of legal changemakers.

Presented by California ChangeLawyers

Thursday, November 14

9:30 am – 9:40 am

Managing Through Tough Times

No one can predict the future, though it is clear we are heading into a time of market volatility and political uncertainty. What is certain is that the need for strong, effective nonprofits will continue to rise. This Spark Talk will elevate lessons learned from the last recession and draw from Bridgespan client work in the years since, sharing examples and practices that have emerged to highlight how organizations not only survive, but thrive in tough times. Mission-driven leaders will leave this Spark talk with strategic management tools you can use to gain greater control over your business – in good and difficult times.

Presented by The Bridgespan Group

Wednesday, November 13

3:30 pm – 3:40 pm

Propelling Financial Dreams for Low-income Families

Poverty in America is a problem, and we have failed to create viable solutions. Our current welfare system uses punitive measures that discourage families from seeking higher wages or more employment. Additionally, while welfare programs might cover a portion of food and housing costs, families have other basic needs like children’s school expenses and putting gas in their car to get to work. The Magnolia Mother’s Trust is a guaranteed income pilot supporting low-income African American mothers in Jackson, Mississippi disrupt this system by providing $1,000 of monthly unrestricted, no-strings-attached cash for 12 months to 20 different mothers. Don’t miss this Spark Talk to learn how the pilot helps these families meet their economic needs, while reinforcing trust in their ability to be the authors of their own lives.

Presented by Springboard to Opportunities

Thursday, November 14

12:45 pm – 12:55 pm

Re-framing A Shared Approach for Change

How we position our messages determines whether our ideas cut through or get swallowed up. It also can make the difference between progress and a backslide into greater injustice. But how do we harness the power of this realization to affect the policies that are made and create space to advance a social justice agenda across issues? Are the same challenges holding all of our issues back? And what if the only way to overcome these challenges – is all together?

Presented by FrameWorks Institute

Wednesday, November 13

3:15 pm – 3:25 pm

Rekindling and Reconnecting through a Year of Service

Service to country isn’t a new idea, but with societal divides overshadowing the values that unite us, and trust at an historic low – the urgency for it has never been higher. Service Years is encouraging more of us to commit to a year of service to reconnect and rekindle a sense of shared responsibility and purpose, to empower communities by connecting people of different backgrounds to solve public problems together, and to inspire the next generation of young Americans to become the leaders our nation needs.

Presented by Service Year Alliance

Thursday, November 14

12:30 pm – 12:40 pm

Relationships and Healthy, Equitable Communities

We pay lots of rhetorical homage to the importance and impact of relationships in our lives. But is our focus obscuring our ability to think about our relationships structurally and systemically, and how they factor into ensuring safe and thriving communities for our young people? David Shapiro will share insight into how to leverage your relationships and social capital with rigor and intentionality to solve stubborn problems associated with healthy and equitable development of our young people.

Presented by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

Friday, November 15

11:00 am – 11:10 am

Securing a Healthy Environment with Green Amendments

Rising climate change and environmental degradation requires new approaches to environmental protection. Rather than federal and state legislation that often accommodates, rather than prevents pollution, communities need to turn to state and federal constitutions as the ultimate authority. This Spark Talk will highlight how Green Amendments (approved by only two states) constitutionally recognize environmental rights as inalienable and offer the highest level of legal protection, and how this proactive and positive approach can empower advocates with new tools for environmental protection and justice.

Presented by Green Amendments For The Generations

Wednesday, November 13

4:15 pm – 4:25 pm

The Business of Changing the World

Nonprofit is a tax status — not a business model. We will discuss how adopting a social enterprise can help nonprofits create sustainability and increased impact. By the way, so can corporations!

Presented by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

Thursday, November 14

1:00 pm – 1:10 pm

TURN to Faith And Community Leaders for Real Community Change

More than 4,900 people have been murdered in Chicago since 2012, excluding those shot or wounded. Unfortunately, trauma goes unaddressed and many community residents are uninformed about it. The result? Many black and brown people go without counseling, and hurting people tend to continue to hurt people – creating a vicious cycle of violence. Pastor Chris Harris and Bright Star Community Outreach are countering the system of street justice through the TURN Model – The Urban Resilience Network.

Presented by Bright Star Community Outreach, Inc.

Wednesday, November 13

3:00 pm – 3:10 pm

Using Animation to Shape Next-generation Leaders

The animated films we watched as kids influenced the adults we are now. More than simply reaching our children through animation, what if we could go beyond the “princess kissing the frog” to shape tomorrow’s leaders and effect fundamental change? For example, if children were to see an animated story of an Afghan girl struggling to be a musician against all odds, who became the Director of the first Women’s Afghan Orchestra, would it positively influence their expectations, their hopes, and dreams?

Presented by Cinesite

Friday, November 15

9:30 am – 9:40 am

Using Micro-Loans to Level the “Access to Capital” Playing Field

Access to healthy capital through traditional means is often unavailable to low-income communities and people of color, often leaving predatory options as their last resort. LURN is rethinking how loans to deploy loans for clients who face challenges of class and race. While not a CDFI, this small nonprofit, constantly at the whim of philanthropic efforts, provides over $400K in working capital to its clients through micro-loans — and so can you!

Thursday, November 14

11:45 am – 11:55 am

Viewing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through an Organizing Lens

Organizers – the glue for social change – are often confronted by the challenges of thoughtfully considering diversity, equity, and inclusion in their daily work. How does implicit bias affect organizing? You’ll find out during Young Invincible’s Spark Talk, along with how to work with communities of color, amplify DEI work within your organization, and incorporate safety into your organizing work.

Presented by Young Invincibles

Wednesday, November 13

4:30 pm – 4:40 pm

Walking the Talk: Using Research to Drive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In 2018, a Starbucks employee called the police on two African-American men, who were waiting for a friend. The resulting uproar led the company to close 8,000 US stores for a mandated day of bias training. It may have been a smart PR strategy, but did it work? The lasting impact of bias training is mixed, according to research. While we can’t easily “de-bias” our brains, we can reduce how bias creeps into our organizations. At this Spark Talk led by Christina Hachikian of Chicago Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, you’ll learn what research can teach us about creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations.

Presented by Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth

Wednesday, November 13

4:00 pm – 4:10 pm

Yes We Can! Youth with Disabilities and Civic Engagement

Individuals with disabilities reflect all and no political parties, reside in every community, and are much less likely to vote and engage in civic behaviors than peers without disabilities. As we look toward one of the most important elections of our lifetimes, it doesn’t have to be this way. This Spark Session will consider the challenges that dissuade young people with disabilities from civic participation, and re-imagine how our education system can prepare them to seize power and agency in the civic space.

Presented by National Center for Learning Disabilities

Wednesday, November 13

4:45 pm – 4:55 pm

Yoga Philosophy 101: Bhagavad Gita + the Eight Limbs

Both Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were devoted students of one of the greatest pieces of literature on earth: the Bhagavad Gita. It is a guide on how to live a life of resounding meaning and purpose. Within it, countless tools for transformation unfold and these ancient practices are wildly applicable to our modern, chaotic times. Learn about the foundation of the mindfulness movement and why training your mind into stillness in meditation is imperative for your fulfillment in both your work and your life.

Presented by Kashi Atlanta