Member Networks

Getting involved in our Member Networks is a great way to learn and network with colleagues. Groups sponsor lively discussions, develop educational programs, and often create collaborative efforts to address relevant issues. For more information or to join any of the groups, contact Lisa May Simpson at

Advisor Members Network
Co-chairs: Marian Alexander DeBerry, Campbell and Company; and Ryan Strode, Arabella Advisors.
Donors Forum's Advisor Members Network holds periodic programs on areas of mutual interest, and provides opportunities to learn and network with other Advisor Members.

Arts and Culture Group
Co-chairs: Sandra Aponte, The Chicago Community Trust; and Stephanie Whitlock, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
The Donors Forum Arts and Culture Group promotes professional development and knowledge sharing about issues, policies, and emerging trends relating to the arts and culture community, with the aim of learning about one another’s work and catalyzing collaborations, deepening understanding of the arts and culture sector, and contributing to its vitality.

Chicago-Area Donors to End Domestic Violence (CADEDV)
Co-chairs: Agnes Meneses, Chicago Foundation for Women; and Kathy Doherty, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network.
Multi-sector, collaborative-building collective action to address domestic violence and its generational impact on community.

Chicago Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Co-chairs: Jennifer Rosenkranz, Michael Reese Health Trust; and Shira Saliman, The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation.
Promotes and advocates practices that develop and sustain organizational effectiveness among funders and nonprofit organizations; and encourages the use of philanthropic resources to create strong, effective, and responsive nonprofits.

Corporate Committee
Chair: Matthew Pakula, Tyson Foods, Inc.
Plans opportunities for networking and educational programs that focus on trends and issues specific to corporate philanthropy.

Education Group
Co-chairs: Kassie Davis, CME Group Foundation; and Christy Uchida, The Brinson Foundation.
The Education Group is comprised of these subgroups:

  • College and Career Access, Persistence, and Success (CCAPS)
    Co-chairs: Mara Botman, Circle of Service Foundation; and Jim Parsons, The Brinson Foundation.
  • Common Core
    Co-chairs: Gudelia Lopez, The Chicago Community Trust; and Jim O’Connor, Advance Illinois.
  • Early Childhood
    Chair: Lindsay Cochrane, Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
  • Leadership/Human Capital
    Co-chairs: Chaula Gupta, The Chicago Public Education Fund; and Christine Herzog, Crown Family Philanthropies.
  • Middle Grades
    Chair: Suzanne Kerbow, Polk Bros. Foundation.
  • Social and Emotional Learning
    Co-chairs: Lauren Krieg, Albert Pick, Jr. Fund; and Sabrina Tengelsen Guthrie, Tengelsen Family Foundation.
  • STEM Out of School Time
    Co-chairs: Matt Blakeley, Motorola Solutions Foundation; and Lauren Krieg, Albert Pick, Jr. Fund.
  • Systems Change
    Co-chairs: Hina Mahmood, Woods Fund of Chicago; and Peggy Mueller, The Chicago Community Trust.
  • Technology in Teaching and Learning
    Co-chairs: Phyllis Lockett, LEAP Innovations; and Woody McCally, Finnegan Family Foundation.

Employee Volunteer Program Managers Group
Co-chairs: Lesly Flores, MB Financial; and Louise Packard, Allstate Insurance Company.
Promotes the culture of workplace volunteerism and its use as a strategic tool for addressing community needs, business goals, and employee interests.

Environmental Grantmakers Group
Co-chairs: Michael Davidson, The Chicago Community Trust; and Sarah Knobloch, The Kinship Foundation.
Provides an arena for discussion of emerging issues and topics of mutual interest to environmental funders, and for identification of opportunities to partner for synergistic and collaborative giving to further environmental solutions.

Family Foundations Committee
Co-chairs: Jody Boutell, The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation; and Dinaz Mansuri, Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation.
Addresses challenges and opportunities relevant to family foundations.

Grantmakers Concerned with Poverty
Co-chairs: Chris Brown, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); and Jennifer Welch, City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.
Educates funders and brings together philanthropy resources, and uses the influence of Illinois' funding community to advocate for increasing funding as well as public policy changes that address poverty in Illinois.

Health Program Affinity Group
Co-chair: Clark McCain, The Coleman Foundation; and Kate O’Connor, Grant Healthcare Foundation.
Provides an arena for networking, discussion health issues of mutual interest to funders, and creating pathways to synergistic giving and collaboration.

MicroEdge Users Group
Co-chairs: Chindaly Griffith, Allstate Insurance Company; and Wendy Vendel, Steans Family Foundation.
Provides a forum for practical knowledge sharing and strategic discussion for users of MicroEdge's grants management databases.

North Suburban Peer Network
Co-chairs: Qadira Harris, Allstate Insurance Company; and Cynthia Jones, W.W. Grainger, Inc.
Provides an open, comfortable forum for discussion of issues related to corporate grantmakers in north-suburban Chicago.

Peer Network for New Grantmakers
Co-chairs: Jennifer Shanks, The Siragusa Foundation; and Lindsey Whitlock, Crown Family Philanthropies.
Discusses challenges and opportunities new foundation and corporate giving staff face in their work.