Inspiration Kitchens Lakeview Pantry Bottom Line Code Platoon Off Their Plate Meals for the NHS College Possible Curt’s Café Metro Squash Kid’s First Chicago Reading in Motion Vocel America Needs You Open Books Noble Family Support Fund Cook County Hospitals Greater Chicago Food Depository Hesed House University of Chicago Hospital Foundation Northwestern Memorial Foundation One Million Degrees Hunter Health Clinic Sewing Masks for a Safe Chicago My Block, My Hood, My City
What made you want to get involved in the Giving Challenge? I love that the Giving Challenge brings DRW employees together with a focus on giving and I was excited to see that this year’s challenge included donating our time at volunteer events. I think that giving back our time and talents to the communities where we live and work is one of the best gifts that we can give. I was also excited to work with my colleagues to make a real impact around the holidays!
Carissa Although I don’t have much of my own robotics knowledge, working with the students at DRW College Prep has been an experience within itself. I started in October, and joined my colleague Bob (who started the DRW College Prep Robotics Team) every Thursday to share my programming knowledge with the students. Every week, we set out an objective or feature for the students to accomplish. It might be as complex as incorporating a new computer vision library into their program, or as simple as changing out a robot’s tire to get over a crater.
Since its inception, Code Platoon has made it their mission to transform the lives of veterans. By giving them the skills to become full stack web developers, they become eligible for full time internships at a variety of companies around Chicago, including DRW. Hosted at the Lyric Opera House building, our CIO, Seth, emphasized that not only was the event a fundraiser, but also a celebration of the success Code Platoon has had their first three years.
Kids Code Jeunesse What is the mission of your organization? We are a Canadian not for profit organization dedicated to empowering children and educators, with a particular focus on girls and children from disadvantaged groups, with the skills we all need to thrive in a technology driven society. By bringing digital learning experiences into the classroom and in communities, we teach Canadians how to be better thinkers and better creators in a digital world.
MD Anderson Cancer Society What is the mission of your organization? The mission of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation, and the world through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research and prevention, and through education for undergraduate and graduate students, trainees, professionals, employees and the public. What populations do you serve? MD Anderson serves a variety of patients, but focuses on cancer prevention and research.
Willing Hearts What is the mission of your organization? Our mission is to provide daily meals and other support services to the underprivileged, the needy, and other marginalized members in Singapore, and to assist and guide them towards rehabilitating and reinstating themselves as useful members of our society. What populations do you serve? Our beneficiaries include the elderly, the disabled, low income families, children from single parent families or otherwise poverty stricken families, and migrant workers in Singapore.
Student Sponsor Partners What is the mission of your organization? Student Sponsor Partners (SSP) bridges the education gap for low-income and underserved New York City students through an integrated program that connects them with sponsors who fund a private high school education and mentors who provide guidance and emotional support, making a meaningful impact on their lives. What populations do you serve? SSP is dedicated to providing NYC high school students, who live in poverty and face significant barriers to academic success, with a college preparatory, non-public high school education.
Code Club What is the mission of your organization? Our aim is to inspire the next generation to get excited about computing and digital making. What populations do you serve? We support a nationwide network of volunteers and educators who run free coding clubs where young people aged 9-13 build and share their ideas, learning along the way. How else can you get involved in your organization? We offer many options for members of the community to get involved, including as volunteers, hosts, and teachers.
Open Books Website: Open Books What is the mission of your organization? Open Books’ mission is to transform lives through reading, writing, and the giving power of used books. What populations do you serve? We serve young readers from all over the Chicagoland area. What will the money DRW raises go towards? This year, the money from the DRW Giving Challenge will contribute to our Storytime program for readers ages 0-3, which includes storytelling, read-aloud books, singing (with live guitar accompaniment), crafts, special guests, and more.
As traders and technologists, we use data to inform every decision we make. The same goes for DRW College Prep, where data shapes an individualized approach for each student and motivates students to thrive in high school and beyond. With a short four years to prepare DRW College Prep students to get to and through college, Superintendent Michael Milkie, Principal Jennifer Reid, and Dean of College Counseling Danielle Mack lean on data to use those years most effectively.
The FIRST Lego League is an international competition in which teams design, build and program a robot made of Lego blocks. Students between the ages of 9 and 16 work with coaches to build robots and try to solve real-world problems like food safety, recycling and access to clean drinking water. DRW’s Jay and Seth share what it was like to coach a team that made it all the way to the Championship, how the competition helps prepare kids for their careers, and how building a Lego robot enhanced their own work at DRW.
To make sure that the impact of their efforts are maximized, many local tech companies make giving back part of their cultural DNA. We asked a few of them about the kinds of work they do and to tell us more about their favorite initiatives in 2017. Read more at Built in Chicago
[This story was written and contributed by Martha Khanna, Director of Development & External Affairs at Bottom Line Chicago.] Bottom Line was founded on the belief that students need a mentor and a guide not only during the college application process, but through the entire college experience to succeed. Through our Access program, our counselors work closely with high school seniors to identify suitable colleges that fit with their interests, match with their academic ability, and affordability.
[This story was contributed by Jill Kohlberg, Executive Director at Summer of a Lifetime.] While making the near-impossible decision of where to go to school, it can be helpful to lean on someone who has recently attended. Real stories and experiences from college students can help someone decide whether college is the right choice, and importantly, what field to study. Now, imagine being immersed in that real college environment yourself, before you make that life-changing choice.
[This blog was written and contributed by Curtis Shaw Flagg, Director of Marketing and Tim O’Brien, Executive Director at Open Books.] When visionary founder Stacy Ratner first launched Open Books in her basement, she did so with the thought that reading is one of life’s simplest pleasures. However, many kids don’t have access to books, or in many cases, have never learned how to read. It’s this barrier that can hold back a child’s creativity, and prohibit them from experiencing all the benefits that reading and writing affords.
[This blog was written and contributed by Lauren Rich, Director of Development at MetroSquash] We wanted to build a transformative program for students in Chicago. When we learned about the urban squash movement that started in Boston, which used squash to build a bridge to college success, we knew that bringing this movement to Chicago was the perfect opportunity to begin making impactful change. In 2005, we founded our own program: MetroSquash.
[This blog was written and contributed by Evan Cauble-Johnson, Chief Development Officer at Inspiration Corporation.] Working as a police officer on Chicago’s West Side in the ‘80s, Lisa Nigro, Inspiration Corporation’s founder, was constantly reminded of her upbringing. Her mother battled addiction, while her father was rarely around. On a near-daily basis, she saw populations struggling with homelessness, domestic violence and gun-violence. Throughout her time as an officer, she consistently saw that the greatest kindness often came from those with the least.
[This blog was written and contributed by Rodrigo Levy, Founder and Executive Director at Code Platoon] I used to be a trader. I traded equity options on the Cboe floor and then ran a volatility desk. As the trading environment grew more competitive, I left in 2012 with aspirations of becoming a software developer. But when I learned it would take two to four years to get a computer science degree, I decided to look for a better way.
As the daughter of refugees who came to the United States to make a better life for their family, Reshma grew up with a passion to create opportunities for others. Reshma was captain of the debate team in school and a political science major, and learned throughout her formative experiences that everyone deserves to have access to economic opportunities. So, at 33, she decided to take a risk and run for the U.
That dynamic was on full display Wednesday night at SPiN Chicago during the fourth annual T4Youth Table Tennis Tech Tournament More than 400 people from Chicago’s trading and tech community gathered for a night of fun competition all benefiting the Chicago Tech Academy (ChiTech), a charter school in Chicago focused on STEM education for minority and low-income students. The event, co-founded by Objective Paradigm, 3Points Communications and SPR, raised more than $100,000 for the second year in a row.
T4Youth is an annual ping pong tournament that brings Chicago’s top tech companies together and raises money for the Chicago Tech Academy, or ChiTech, a nonprofit high school that teaches STEM concepts to minority and low-income students. The amount of funds T4Youth raised has increased year over year, from $50,000 in 2014 to over $100,000 last year. Now in its fourth year, T4Youth expects to involve 48 teams and hundreds of attendees with a goal of raising $175,000 in the team building, networking and fundraising night out.
De’Andra: My first day at DRW College Prep was both difficult and exciting. I was entering a new school with very high expectations and a much steeper learning curve than my middle school. Instantly, I saw a building full of adults that actually cared about the well-being of every student. In high school, it’s important to develop strong study habits and I did my best to start right away. I studied hard, as I knew it becomes harder to raise your GPA as you progress through high school.
ChiTech: What led you into entrepreneurship? Kimberly Trautmann: I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I started a jewelry business in high school. I made jewelry and sold it to stores. Now I help other entrepreneurs build their businesses as an investor. What led you to the position you’re in today? It’s not a straight line. I studied Art and Marketing in undergraduate, so I did not study anything related to tech in college.
Leading up to the 3rd Annual Little Black Dress Night, we’re giving you the special chance to get to know some of our featured guests. Kimberly Trautmann is director at DRW VC. ChiTech: What led you into entrepreneurship? Kimberly Trautmann: I got my first taste of entrepreneurship when I started a jewelry business in high school. I made jewelry and sold it to stores. Now I help other entrepreneurs build their businesses as an investor.
T4Youth — the four “T”s stand for “tech table tennis tournament” — was founded in 2014 by trading technology recruiting agency Objective Paradigm, SPR Consulting and futures industry public relations firm 3Points Communications with the aim of turning technologists’ common love of ping pong into a way to give back to the community. The event supports the Chicago Tech Academy (ChiTech), a local high school dedicated to providing low-income students with technology and entrepreneurship skills.
Jim: I began participating with Partners with Sassier after I learned about the school they built in Sassier, Haiti. The school had made a huge impact on the students, serving a community of mainly subsistence farmers who were unable to read or write and living off less than $2 of income per day. To me, the best way to make things better for the next generation is through education. The students in this school were progressing at a very good level and it became clear that this was an opportunity to help a dramatically under-served community.
Invest for Kids, started by investment professionals Ron Levin and Ben Kovler in 2009, has become a not-to-be-missed event for many of their Chicago peers, and even some outside the city. With support from industry heavyweights like Equity Group Investments Chairman Sam Zell and GCM Grosvenor CEO Michael Sacks, that’s not a huge surprise. The eighth annual gathering is tomorrow. Read more at Crain’s Chicago Business.
Bob: Chicago is home to more than 54,000 technologists and was named the top U.S. city for growth-stage technology companies. This presents a huge opportunity for Chicago’s brightest students – like the ones at DRW College Prep –to build their skills and tap this vibrant job market. I believe strongly that giving high schoolers access to more technical training, especially computer programming, is one of the most effective ways to prepare them for the future.
Our founder and CEO Don Wilson once shared, “I am most interested in projects that have a long term impact on improving the community in which we live. Nothing comes closer to accomplishing that than education.” With that mission in mind, DRW worked with the Noble Network of Charter Schools to support a high school in the Homan Square neighborhood of Chicago – just six miles west of DRW’s Chicago headquarters.
In a Chicago neighborhood where the number of violent crime reports ranks 9th among Chicago’s 77 communities, DRW College Prep is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of high school students. DRW College Prep sits just six miles away from its benefactor, Chicago-based principal trading ﬁrm DRW. Through the school, DRW and its founder and CEO, Don Wilson, are helping bridge the gap between poverty and prosperity. DRW funded a signiﬁcant portion of the startup costs to launch DRW College Prep and continues to partner with the school — providing both ﬁnancial and human resources.