By Mary L. Datcher, senior staff writer, Chicago Defender
Chicago Beyond announced the winners of its first-ever innovation challenge and will present three nonprofits with investments that total nearly $3 million overall. Launched by Chicago Beyond in April, the GO Innovate challenge sought early-stage ideas that offer innovative programming in two areas: Supporting College Matriculation and Graduation; and Reengaging Youth in Work and School.
For each winning organization, Chicago Beyond is also funding a research partnership with the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs to evaluate the impact of each investment. Every investment recipient has worked with Chicago Beyond and Urban Labs to develop a unique research question that will allow detailed study of the program and better understanding of what works, in order to positively impact a greater number of young Chicagoans and increase the field of knowledge in these topic areas.
More than 200 organizations applied for the first innovation challenge. Applications were reviewed by the Chicago Beyond team and finalists were selected by two independent selection committees which were formed for each topic area.
“Our first innovation challenge brought out some of the best and most innovative ideas in programming to help our city’s youth succeed in school and in life,” Chicago Beyond Managing Director, Liz Dozier, said. “There is no shortage of passion for and commitment to the young people of Chicago. We are grateful for the opportunity to present these three organizations with investments to not only reach more young Chicagoans immediately, but to learn from and share our research outcomes in order to have a greater impact on the future of our youth nationwide.”
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