In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management is holding The Arc of Innovation: Timeless Lessons from Thriving Nonprofits on May 2nd, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Gathering almost 500 nonprofit leaders from across the Midwest, this conference will look forward and backward, drawing on the timeless lessons and tested innovations of thriving nonprofits and their leaders.

The plenary speaker at The Arc of Innovation will be Vu Le, Executive Director of the Rainer Valley Corps and author of the well-known blog, Nonprofit AF.

Additionally, the Axelson Center will present their annual nonprofit management awards—the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Excellence and the Excellent Emerging Organization Award—at the conference luncheon. And back by popular demand, Axelson’s “Ask a Funder” session will allow for nonprofit leaders to sit down for quick one-on-one conversations with foundation representatives.

The Axelson Center has been working consistently at the cutting edge of nonprofit management education for 20 years, and The Arc of Innovation will include both comprehensive trends and practical takeaways for organizations and leaders looking to help their organizations thrive.


Hyatt Regency O’Hare

9300 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60601

8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. CST



Ellen Alberding, President and Board Member, The Joyce Foundation

Greg DiDomenico, President & CEO, Community Memorial Foundation

Helene D. Gayle, President & CEO, The Chicago Community Trust

Judith Gethner, Executive Director, Illinois Partners for Human Service

Mae Hong, Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Mark Ishaug, Chief Executive Officer, Thresholds

Michelle Larson, President and CEO, Adler Planetarium

Jimmy Lee, President and CEO, Goodcity

Dorri McWhorter, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

Mary Morten, President, Morten Group LLC

Maria Pesqueira, President, Healthy Communities Foundation

Denise Williams, Associate Professor, Metropolitan State University, College of Management–Entrepreneurship & Innovation

If you have not done so already, be sure to register today!

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Elevate is a virtual conference experience geared specifically for you, the social-impact leader who is focused on changing lives for good. By better understanding workforce trends, such as AI and equity, we enhance our capacity to increase impact and mission attainment – goals that we are all working hard to achieve.

Attending Elevate provides you an unparalleled opportunity to learn about critical and emerging social issues facing our organizations. It will be three days full of resources and skill-building activities including live key notes, on-demand webinars, a resource library, virtual networking opportunities, and so much more!

Wednesday, May 1 – Friday, May 3


Morten Group is proud to partner with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance in administrative support and participate on both the Program Task Force and Outreach Task Force for this year’s conference.

We hope to (virtually) see you there!

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On February 27th, Edgar Villanueva and Chicago nonprofit and foundation leaders will have an intimate event featuring an in-depth conversation about Decolonizing Wealth and how institutions that control access to money can advance racial equity and better serve the needs of communities of color.

The event will also highlight stories of Chicago area foundations about their journey to lead with racial equity. Speakers include:

Event Details

Wednesday, February 27 from 3:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m. CST

Program: 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Book Signing/Reception: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Location: Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614


Morten Group, LLC is pleased to be one of the co-sponsors for this important program.

Additional sponsors include: Goodman Theatre, Arabella Advisors, Crossroads Fund, Polk Bros. Foundation, Erikson Institute, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Iris Krieg & Associates, Forefront, TRHT Greater Chicago, Woods Fund Chicago, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Chicago, Chicago Latinos in Philanthropy, and Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy.


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