Chicago’s longest-standing social service agency, Chicago Child Care Society (CCCS), will celebrate 170 years of serving Chicago youth and families at its 2019 Dream Builders Luncheon on Tuesday, May 7 at The Standard Club of Chicago. CCCS is a multi-service nonprofit child welfare agency that delivers high impact intervention and prevention services for children and youth who are facing significant challenges in their lives. In 2018, CCCS served more than 1,500 children, youth, and their parents through the Hyde Park and Englewood preschools and in various early intervention services and educational programs.
The annual Dream Builders luncheon raises funds and awareness to support programs that open a world of positive choices and relationships for Chicago’s children, adolescents, and families throughout the South Side and southern suburbs. John Rogers, founder, chairman, and CEO of Ariel Investments, will be honored with the 2019 Dream Builder Award for his work with the Ariel Community Academy (ACA), a public school on the South Side of Chicago. ACA builds curriculum around financial and investing concepts and has seen incredible academic results over the past 10 years. They also offer investment and financial literacy dinners for parents.
“We’re a small firm fighting a huge problem,” explains Rogers of his company’s involvement in ACA, “but the impact the school is having is real. Today’s job market is filled with financial services opportunities, yet many people of color don’t know what these jobs are. By introducing students to this industry’s vocabulary at a young age, we’re laying the foundation for a future of possibilities. I like the idea of this next generation being financially sophisticated. It’s never too early to begin learning these ideas.”
ACA was created in 1996 from a unique partnership with Ariel Investments. Through former Mayor Daley’s New School Initiative, Ariel was awarded a corporate sponsorship of a chartered school. Today, ACA offers classes from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, serving 500 students and their families. Ninety-eight percent of the student body is African-American and more than 85 percent of students receive subsidized lunches. ACA chose to target the North Kenwood neighborhood as it was one of the most underserved communities in Chicago. Now, the neighborhood is more vibrant and ACA is a center for community and family life.
“The missions of Ariel Academy and CCCS are based on a holistic approach,” says Dara Munson, CCCS’s CEO. “They both support the entire family — children and parents — in an effort to build stronger communities, facilitate upward economic mobility, and create pathways to success.”
Rogers’ company fosters the spirit of philanthropy where Ariel Investments’ teammates are encouraged to give back.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have met some terrific young people and dedicated teachers,” Rogers says. “When a student graduates, we stay in touch. We like when they can intern for us and then maybe someday even become one of our employees. Our involvement goes well beyond their elementary school years.”
When students ask Rogers what the keys to his success have been, he quotes one of his heroes: Warren Buffett. “Warren says that you need to understand your circles of confidence,” Rogers explains. “You need to know what you’re good at and stick with that. You must find your focus and stay focused.”
The Dream Builders Luncheon benefiting Chicago Child Care Society will take place on Tuesday, May 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Standard Club in Chicago. Tickets are $200 each. To purchase a ticket or to learn more about CCCS, visit cccsociety.org.
Ann Marie Scheidler is a contributing writer with Make It Better who has made a career writing about people, their favorite places, and the things they value most. Ann Marie, a pearl-loving yogi who has a thing for travel, lives in Lake Forest with her husband and five children.