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Chicago Urban League Unveils African American Leadership Development Program

For Immediate Release
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Roderick K. Hawkins
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IMPACT program to prepare next generation of African American Leaders across sectors

CHICAGO, IL— (March 6, 2014) In a bold effort to increase the number of African Americans who are prepared to take on leadership roles in the public, private and non-profit sectors, the Chicago Urban League is pleased to announce the launch of its IMPACT Leadership Development Program (IMPACT). The competitive, nine-month program will empower the next generation of leaders through an experiential learning process that will assist participants in developing the necessary motivation, knowledge, skills, abilities and networking competencies to be effective in leadership roles within organizations and on boards of directors.

“In order to ensure that there is a robust pipeline of prepared, engaged and culturally competent leaders in the African American community, we must make an investment in their development,” said Andrea L. Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “Through IMPACT, and with the support of our partners, we will build a pipeline that will lead to more diversity in the executive suites and in the board rooms of Chicago’s major public, private and non-profit organizations.”

The IMPACT Leadership Development Program, designed to support African American professionals between the ages of 30 and 45, will provide training, skills development and education regarding current issues impacting Chicago and the African American community. In addition, IMPACT will serve as a catalyst for the development of strong networks of support and collaboration among program participants and African American senior leaders serving as mentors.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is the education partner for IMPACT and will provide academic programming and host the program at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago. Major support for the program also comes from The Chicago Community Trust, who provided a founding grant to establish the program.

“Through IMPACT, we are combining the University of Chicago’s expertise in management education and our commitment to partnering with organizations like the Chicago Urban League to make a difference for individuals and the broader community,” said Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement for the University of Chicago. “This program has the potential to strengthen organizations across the city by preparing emerging talent for higher leadership.”

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is one of the world’s leading business schools.

“We are delighted to collaborate with the Chicago Urban League to present the IMPACT Leadership Development Program,” said George Wu, Professor of Managerial and Organizational Behavior at Chicago Booth. “I look forward to welcoming the inaugural class in the fall and helping them take their leadership to a level that will exponentially increase their impact on the community.”

Terry Mazany, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, added, “The Chicago Urban League has, for nearly a century, prepared African Americans for educational, economic and social advancement opportunities. As the need increases for more diverse leadership in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, the IMPACT program will be a dynamic resource that will prepare emerging leaders of current and future leadership opportunities.”

Each IMPACT program class will have a maximum of 30 participants and will be selected through a competitive application process. Each program will run for nine months, with the inaugural cycle beginning in September 2014 and ending in May 2015. Applications are currently available on the Chicago Urban League website at Completed applications must be received by April 23, 2014.



About the Chicago Urban League
Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. For more information, visit

About The Chicago Community Trust
For 98 years, The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2012, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $170 million to nonprofit organizations. From strengthening community schools to assisting local art programs, from building health centers to helping lives affected by violence, the Trust continues to enhance our region. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at


About the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is one of the leading business schools in the world. The school’s faculty includes many renowned scholars, and its graduates include many business leaders across the U.S. and worldwide. The Chicago approach to management education is distinguished by how it leverages fundamental knowledge, its rigor and its practical application to business challenges. Chicago Booth offers a Full-Time MBA Program, an Evening MBA Program and a Weekend MBA Program, as well as an Executive MBA Program in Chicago, London and Hong Kong. The school also offers a Ph.D. program, open-enrollment executive education and custom corporate education.