Our Mission And Story
The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance envisions an equitable and prosperous Chicagoland built by employer, worker and community collaborations. Its mission is to foster these efforts, and to help ensure their impacts reduce racial disparities in employment and earnings. The Alliance was launched in May 2012 by five founding workforce funders: the Chicago Community Trust, the Joyce Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the Polk Bros. Foundation. Since its founding the Funder Alliance has engaged over 30 funders to advance its shared mission. The Funder Alliance has come to be seen as the region’s major convener of the philanthropic community interested in workforce development and employment. Through a combination of grant making and civic leadership the Funder Alliance has used this role to carve out a unique position at the complex intersection point of workforce development, social justice, education and economic development.
What is a Funder Collaborative?
Funder collaboratives bring together funders to align resources towards a common mission. The Funder Alliance is structured as a Donor Advised Fund at The Chicago Community Trust, and it focuses on collaboration between private funders: foundations and corporations. There are two types of funders supporting the Alliance. Leadership Funders grant resources to a common pool, which supports the Funder Alliance itself and some portion of every CWFA initiative. Project Funders grant resources that only support a specific CWFA initiative. Leadership Funders assign a delegate to the Funder Alliance Management Committee which acts as its board.
The Funder Alliance supports projects either through direct engagement with partners or through open procurements. It does not follow any set funding schedule. Please visit the CWFA Procurement page for currently open and past RFP or RFQs.
Management Committee/Pooled Funders
The Management Committee consists of a representative from each of the pooled funders.
The Woods Fund of Chicago
Polk Bros Foundation
Clare Butterfield, Christopher Family Foundation
Caleb Herod, The Chicago Community Trust
Stephanie Banchero, The Joyce Foundation
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Pritzker Traubert Foundation
Jennifer Miller Rehfeldt,
The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
Michael Reese Health Trust
Circle of Service Foundation
Molly Leonard, JPMorgan Chase
Whitney Wade, Chicago Foundation for Women
Jessica Lucas, United Way of Metro Chicago
National Fund for Workforce Solutions
CWFA is a collaborative partner of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a national network promoting equitable economic opportunity and prosperous communities through investment and innovation. Based in Washington D.C., the National Fund partners with philanthropy, employers, workers, public and private community organizations and more than 30 regional collaboratives to invest in skills, improve systems and generate good jobs. The National Fund supports civic and business leaders in promoting evidence-based practices and policies that build shared prosperity. Learn more about the National Fund and its local partners at www.NationalFund.org.
Matt Bruce became the first Executive Director of the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance in October 2012. ”More” ”Less”
Adrian Esquivel is the Deputy Director for the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, working with the area’s stakeholders to advance the Alliance’s mission. ”More” ”Less”
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Cyndi Bergstein is Communications/Program Director for Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance focusing on industry workforce partnerships and a variety of employer practice change initiatives. ”More” Cyndi holds a Bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Syracuse University. ”Less”
Cyndi holds a Bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Syracuse University.
Nadine Fields is the Office Assistant for the Chicago Workforce Funder Alliance. Nadine graduated with honors from Harold Washington College. ”More” ”Less”
PROGRAM DIRECTOR (NETWORK OF EMPLOYER-LED WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS-NEWS)
Kylin Decker is the program director for Employer-led Workforce Solutions at the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance.
In this role, she serves as the convener of the Network of Employer-led Workforce Solutions, an initiative promoting the value of employer collaboration on shared workforce challenges and providing tools that facilitate employers connecting with other employers and community resources. Kylin’s work focuses on amplifying and supporting the efforts of employer tables and encouraging employers to take an active leadership role in improving the workforce system.
Before joining CWFA, Kylin was an Illinois attorney with practice experience in litigation and mediation, focusing on consumer protection, housing rights, and disability rights. Most of her litigation experience was in helping Chicago families and small businesses in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.
Kylin holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, a juris doctor from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, and a master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.