About the Organization

Between Friends is a nonprofit agency dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and building a community free of abuse. Through their 24-hour crisis phone line, counseling, and legal assistance, they provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals and families in crisis, while educating communities as part of the movement to end domestic violence. They are dedicated to providing the highest quality of trauma-informed services, while recognizing and responding to vicarious trauma that can occur within staff providing such services.

Between Friends recognizes that sexism is a root cause of domestic violence, and as such, women are disproportionately the targets of this form of oppression. They also acknowledge that domestic violence is intrinsically linked to all systemic forms of violence, including heterosexism, cissexism, classism, racism, ageism, ableism, and sizeism. Domestic violence affects everyone and their programs support all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, marital status, national origin, language capacity, or ability.

About the Position

The Executive Director of Between Friends will lead and oversee all affairs related to the organization, and is responsible for directing and overseeing the operations of the agency, including fundraising, fiscal management, program management, public relations, and implementing the Boards’ directives. The successful candidate must be a skilled leader, and comfortable working in a highly collaborative environment where self-care is emphasized. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, and enables the Board to meet its governance, financial, and legal responsibilities. They must be deeply committed to the goals of the organization and willing to act as an advocate around a broad range of domestic violence issues.

For best consideration, please apply by Friday, June 21, 2019. Click here to view the full position description, essential qualifications, and application instructions.

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Access the full report here.

Top LGBTQ community needs include living wage, safety, healthcare, and employment

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, April 30, the data summary report from the 2019 Chicago LGBTQ Community Needs Assessment will be released to the public. The needs assessment was conducted by Morten Group, LLC on behalf of The LGBT Community Fund, a donor-advised fund of The Chicago Community Trust. Over 2,000 LGBTQ individuals in the Chicagoland area participated in the data collection process.

An invitation only press breakfast for project partners, community leaders, and members of the media will be held at 9 am that morning at Affinity Community Services, one of the project’s 70+ community partners. Affinity, located at 2850 South Wabash Avenue, is a social justice organization serving the needs of the Black LGBTQ community in Chicago.

“We are eager to share the results of this important project, and we are grateful to every person who participated in the research effort,” said Denise C. Foy, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the LGBT Community Fund. “Over two thousand people took the time to share their experiences and needs with us, and this truly impacts how we allocate our funding to support and strengthen the community.”

In 2018, the Steering Committee of The LGBT Community Fund retained Morten Group to conduct the needs assessment in order to gather data on current strengths, assets, needs and challenges of the Chicagoland LGBTQ community. Morten Group conducted the first needs assessment of this nature for The LGBT Community Fund in 2011; this new assessment allows for comparison of the data and an updated snapshot of the community’s needs in 2019.

Data collection took place over a fifteen-week field period, from October 17, 2018 through January 31, 2019. Over 2,000 individuals participated across three data collection tools: an online survey, drop boxes with paper data cards (brief surveys) and focus groups. A snowball sampling method was used, with over 70 partner organizations, groups and businesses sharing the link to the online survey and spreading the word throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

The top five community needs identified through the online survey (about 3 out of 4 participants completed the online survey, making it the largest data collection tool) include: 1) basic income and living wage, 2) community safety/violence, 3) discrimination based on race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity, 4) health insurance and physical/mental health services and care, and 5) employment.

Across all three data collection tools, the following emerged as seven key themes, which the researchers will discuss in detail at the press release breakfast: 1) inequities within the LGBTQ population, 2) high-quality, affordable, culturally responsive, comprehensive health care, 3) employment/underemployment and equity in the job market, 4) support accessing quality human and government services, 5) community safety and violence prevention for all, 6) affordable housing and gentrification, and 7) resilience and capacity of a participatory, intersectional LGBTQ community.

The first comprehensive LGBT Community Needs Assessment was conducted by Morten Group on behalf of the LGBT Community Fund in the fall of 2011, with a data report release in June of 2012. The 2019 LGBTQ Community Needs Assessment allows the researchers to compare current data with the results from the 2011 data collection. Mary F. Morten, President, Morten Group, LLC, shared: “Some things have changed since our first needs assessment for the Trust, but others have remained the same.” What’s changed? “For example, folks are more concerned about housing and gentrification in 2019, whereas in 2011 there was greater concern about the recession.” What’s stayed the same? For example: “People continue to be very concerned about healthcare. And the percentage of folks identifying as single has remained the same – 4 in 10.” Another important change to note: “This year’s data collection process saw greater inclusion and representation of LGBTQ folks with disabilities and transgender/gender nonconforming (TGNC) folks,” added Morten.

In addition to being released to the public online, the full data summary report will also be made available to the community in a number of presentations. Dr. Keisha Farmer-Smith, Research Director, noted, “We use a participatory action research model, meaning that we view participants as partners. This data exists because of them and belongs to them. After the last needs assessment report was released in 2012, we saw so many organizations put the data to use in creative and innovative ways. We look forward to seeing how people can use this round of data to support the important work they are doing in their communities.”

The LGBT Community Fund began in 2010 with an operating grant from The Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust and a grant from The Chicago Community Trust. The Fund exists to provide strategic support to nonprofit organizations serving the Chicago-area LGBTQ community, and aims to address a wide range of needs. In 2015, the LGBT Community Fund’s first round of funding awarded $282,500 in IMPACT Grants, providing seed money and supporting capacity building. In 2016, the second round of funding awarded $350,000 in Transformational Grants, supporting innovative projects reaching traditionally underserved populations. In 2017, the third round of funding distributed $315,000 in Community Grants addressing urgent and underserved needs (healthcare, safety, and youth and senior services).

Morten Group, LLC is a national consulting firm, based in Chicago, whose work centers around transformation through assessment, education, and action. For more information, please visit:

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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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About the Organization

La Casa Norte’s mission is to serve youth and families confronting homelessness. They provide access to stable housing and deliver comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. La Casa Norte (LCN) dreams of a world where all people have dignity, communities thrive and everyone belongs. Their mission and vision are implemented through their Acuerdos (core values) of collaborative work, empathy, mutual respect, access to resources, and a just experience for all. These values set the standard for their organizational programs and operations. La Casa Norte has been empowering homeless and at-risk populations, particularly youth and families, through culturally appropriate programming focused on helping families and individuals in regaining housing stability and moving towards renewed economic self- sufficiency.

About the Position

La Casa Norte is currently searching for their next Executive Director. The ideal candidate will be a strong, transformational leader and visionary with experience in the development and implementation of human services and poverty reduction programs, especially homelessness. The candidate must be culturally-informed and possess a unique talent for inspiring staff and volunteers, as well as demonstrated experience in managing partner relationships, responsibilities and agreements.

For best consideration, please apply by Wednesday, May 15. Click here to view the full position description, essential qualifications, and application instructions.

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The Opportunity

Woods Fund Chicago, a bold grantmaking foundation, seeks candidates for the position of president. The president manages $65 million in assets and leads the foundation to support community organizing and public policy advocacy that advances racial equity and economic justice.

About the Organization

Woods Fund seeks to help create a society where people of all racial and ethnic groups across all levels of social and economic status are empowered and have a voice to influence policies that impact their lives and where all communities are free of poverty and racism. Woods Fund is a grantmaking foundation committed to the promotion of social, economic, and racial justice through the support of community organizing and public policy advocacy that engages people that are most impacted.

About the Position

The next president of Woods Fund is expected to be a leader of the highest personal and professional integrity and demonstrate an enthusiastic commitment to the vision and mission of the foundation. The president will have demonstrated experience working and collaborating with disinvested communities and people of color, as well as a strong track record advancing racial equity and economic justice. The successful candidate will be experienced in working closely with a board of directors, staff, outside consultants and others, along with a proven ability to motivate and lead.


For best consideration, please submit a resume and cover letter to by Wednesday, May 1Click here to view the full position description, essential qualifications, and application instructions.


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About the Organization

The Ms. Foundation for Women strives to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The organization seeks to achieve this by investing in and strengthening the capacity of women-led movements, particularly by women and girls-of-color, to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of all women and girls. Since 1973, the Ms. Foundation has invested more than $70 million into building the power of women in social justice fields, serving as a conduit to the philanthropic sector as an intermediary funder investing in women and girls. Ms. Foundation believes that equity and inclusion are the cornerstones of a true democracy in which the worth and dignity of every person is valued. They have long held a unique position in the philanthropic world and have taken risks to invest in those who have systemically been left out. Through its partnerships, Ms. Foundation seeks to build a collective understanding and collaboration to advance gender, racial equity, and justice for all.

About the Position

The Vice President of Advancement will report to the President and CEO and serve as a visionary partner. They will be considered a member of the Executive Team. This newly created position will oversee the Development and Communications departments. The Vice President is responsible for cultivating and soliciting principal and major gifts, annual giving, corporate and foundation giving, special events, and prospect research and tracking. They will work with the Board of Directors and Foundation staff to determine overall fundraising strategies and priorities, with the goal of significant expansion of the donor base and overall contributions. In addition, this position will work to develop and implement an organization-wide, communications plan to raise the visibility of the Ms. Foundation, its grantees, and partners to key external audiences.


Click here to view the full position description, essential qualifications, and application instructions.

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About TRHT Greater Chicago

Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) is a comprehensive, national, and community-based process to “unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism.”

The mission of TRHT Greater Chicago is to proliferate healing and equity within individuals, neighborhoods, and communities to change the prevailing race narrative, fuel transformation, erase the belief in racial hierarchy, and drive towards racial equity. They have focused planning work in four key areas: narrative change, racial healing, law and policy, and youth, creating design teams for each. These four areas are closely interrelated; work done in on one often impacts the other. The design teams completed a planning process from August 2017-March 2018, resulting in the development of a strategic framework to guide the work ahead. Woods Fund is interested in identifying a Director to help lead the implementation, working closely with the existing strategic partners including Woods Fund, Metropolitan Family Services, Field Foundation of Illinois, Pierce Family Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, and new partners.

About the Opportunity

The Director will lead the TRHT Greater Chicago work during this important implementation phase. They are expected to provide strategic direction, manage TRHT staff, lead the implementation and a community-led grantmaking process, engage external stakeholders, raise funds, and develop a foundation and infrastructure for the work that will build upon existing work, propel the vision forward, and position TRHT Greater Chicago as a lead agent for transformation. The successful candidate must be a dynamic leader who can connect with diverse audiences, and who has a deep understanding and commitment to racial equity and anti-racist work in the community.

Woods Fund will serve as the administering and lead organization during the initial implementation period which may last for the next few years. The Director will be under contract to accommodate the mobility of the next phase of work, with the potential for a different organization to administer and lead the work in the future. The Director will be supervised, report to the President of Woods Fund, and will also be accountable to the advisory partners which includes foundations, community, and public and private sectors.


Click here to view the full position description, essential qualifications, and application instructions.

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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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Jessica Kadish-Hernandez

Jessica joined Morten Group in 2011 as the firm’s Project Coordinator and later as Project Manager for a wide array of client projects, including strategic planning, executive searches, organizational assessments, and board development. As a Consulting Associate, she works as a facilitator with Morten Group’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team. She has been a teaching artist for over ten years, leading sessions with participants ranging from kindergarteners to corporate professionals. She holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she worked with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to develop and facilitate professional development curricula for elementary school teachers in the Urbana Public Schools. She is fluent in Spanish.

We asked Jessica, “If you could share a meal with any two individuals, living or dead, who would you choose and why?” She said, “Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin. For their transformation of the American literature and theatre. For their incisive insights (here). And for their wicked senses of humor. They were friends in life, and I bet their back-and-forth banter across the table would be hilarious.”

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