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What We Do

The mission of Springboard Foundation is to provide financial and intellectual capital to selected, "grassroots" charitable programs that are focused on improving the lives of needy children, their families, and their communities in the greater Chicago area. In fulfilling this mission, the Foundation also benefits the community by training its members in the workings of successful philanthropy so that they can, in turn, provide leadership in connection with other charitable causes outside the immediate focus of Springboard.


Current Programs

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Our mission is to provide children in underserved Chicago communities with lasting access to instrumental music instruction and ensemble play. We offer meaningful and positive life experiences based around music, such as taking healthy risks and experiencing accomplishment, nurturing and sharing one’s talents with your community, exploring and creating beauty, and creating relationships with positive, consistent mentors.

Boxing Out Negativity empowers youth to realize the best in themselves within a safe and supportive environment by providing afterschool and summer programming for North Lawndale’s highest-risk youth ages 8-17.  Boxing is used as a hook to maintain youths’ interest in programming designed to elicit character development and civic responsibility through training, mentorship, tutoring, motivational discussions, and other forms of engagement. 

Chicago Arts and Music Project exists to provide free El Sistema orchestral training in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. Students rehearse six days every week at the Breakthrough Ministries FamilyPlex.

Focus Fairies mentors and teaches preteen and adolescent girls the skill set needed to enhance their lives. The program has lessons on an array of topics including: bullying, peer pressure, etiquette, depression, stress, body image, self-esteem, financial literacy, and safety.

PRETTY provides comprehensive sexual health and reproductive justice education to girls. The program serves as a prevention method to many of the ills that young girls in various cities face, including but not limited to sexual abuse, risky sexual behaviors, unplanned pregnancies, sex trafficking, predator awareness, contraction of sexually transmitted infections and mental abuse.

The South Chicago Dance Theatre (SCDT) is a multicultural organization aiming to preserve the art of dance through quality performances and educational opportunities. SCDT’s auxiliary programming includes the Youth Training Company, a free to the public First Fridays Community Workshop Series, the Autism Project, an After School Matters teen employment program, public school based performances, and the annual South Chicago Dance Festival.

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The Chicago Eco House uses sustainability to alleviate poverty through the implementation of income-generating programming for at-risk youth at three sites: Englewood, Woodlawn, and West Garfield Park.

The Chicago Industrial Arts & Design Center offers hands-on, application-based education that compliments STEM/STEAM school curriculum, in addition to providing a learned vocational skill.

Chicago Youth Opportunities Initiative provides students in foster care and wards of the state youth with the tools to empower their minds and help them achieve their educational and career pursuits. Working with foster agencies, social workers, youth advocates, and other partners, youth receive mentoring, career workshops, life-skills programs, and collegiate prep.

Debate It Forward’s mission is to utilize core debate skills as teaching tools to improve self-advocacy, harness analytical thinking, and develop respectful disagreement among young people. Programming focuses on weekly hour-long after-school debate classes in Chicago elementary and middle schools taught by paid college students.

The Bloc uses the discipline of boxing to provide Chicago teens with resources and opportunities to improve their community. Using boxing as a tool to attract teens, boxers are engaged in mentoring and tutoring services to push them to academic and social excellence.

The Kirkwood Foundation seeks to increase the interest of high school students from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM, legal, and medical careers. This goal is achieved through guest speakers, career-themed field trips and activities where the students demonstrate their knowledge of a specific career.

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Students Run CHI is a youth mentoring program that pairs high school students with adult mentors and coaches to train together for the Chicago Marathon. It teaches goal setting, responsibility, discipline, health and wellness through running. In 2016, 26 students crossed the Chicago Marathon finish line. The organization is 100% volunteer-driven and managed.

ChiMOP is dedicated to affecting positive social change in young students with limited access to the arts by providing them with quality, time intensive, socially motivated youth orchestra programming in a safe and fun environment. Instruments are rented to students at no cost for the duration of their involvement in the program.

The mission of Chicago Slam Works to build upon the city?s heritage as the birthplace of modern performance poetry by empowering students, poets and arts organizations toward the advancement of the art form. Poets With Class, Chicago Slam Works? educational initiative equally emphasizes the craft of the written word and the creative process of performance to empower and engage students of all ages. Through dynamic and original lesson plans, the poetry workshops build confidence, literacy, and an appreciation for the fine arts.

Inspire Girls Academy seeks to offer free afterschool programming to Chicago Public School students on the south and west side of the city in hopes of inspiring young African American and Latino girls in STEAM concepts.

Math Circles of Chicago seeks to provide 5th to 12th graders in all communities of Chicago with opportunities to actively participate in doing novel mathematics in order to increase their mathematical power and to promote a lifelong love of mathematics. Math Circles of Chicago programs are free and available afterschool with a goal to provide equitable access to those students living in Chicago and attending public schools.

Shift:Englewood Youth Orchestra began in 2014 with the realization that music could be a powerful intervention for children dealing with the everyday challenges of the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Students participate in intensive music programming for 9 hours a week after school, which consists of orchestral string ensemble work, bucket band rhythm instruction, and creative composition instruction designed to give students a voice and help them express themselves in a positive way.

Territory is an afterschool and summer design team program, putting young people to work in their own communities, using urban design to build community identity and re-imagine public spaces across Chicago. Team members learn design skills through activities, and each team completes an urban design, public art or placemaking project working in partnership with their host community, and each project is unique, reflecting the expertise of our team members and the needs of the community.

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Founded in 2012, the Mariachi Heritage Foundation (MHF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, exists to affirm, celebrate and preserve the rich cultural heritage of mariachi music and other Mexican heritage arts.  MHF seeks to create opportunities for individuals and communities to celebrate, share and sustain the vitality of Mexico's performing arts traditions.  Our work promotes the importance of cultural heritage for strengthening ethnic identity and community.

M.U.S.I.C. Inc. Chicago was founded in 2011 by Sarah Dupuis and Joi Truman with a handful of used, child-sized violins and a desire to provide a unique opportunity for students in Chicago's west side communities. Their vision was to create a program that integrated high achieving music education and character development.

MY BLOCK, MY HOOD, MY CITY is a vessel to introduce Chicagoans to places in their city they've never seen or experienced. Providing mentoring workshops and monthly outings, these "Urban explorations" brings students from the Southside to different neighborhoods like Greektown and Uptown.

R CITY seeks to bring together the best of our city to build a path for families to walk from cradle to college to the glory of God. Located in a community enduring one of Chicago's highest homicide counts, R CITY is the community center of River City Community Church, the outpouring of nearly a decade of listening to and learning from the neighbors of West Humboldt Park.

Founded in July 2008 and based in Chicago, Illinois, Red Clay Dance is a professional touring company that creates and performs a diverse repertoire of Afro-contemporary dance which fuses traditional West African movement with contemporary dance forms.  The company is a trendsetter for uniting elite professional dance creation and performance with a social consciousness that spills from the stage to the community. Red Clay posses the unique ability to offer authentic engagement for dance through creating and performing work within marginalized communities.

How do we train our students in complex environments to continually hold a positive mindset?  How do we instill as sense of perseverance that enables them to create goals that lead to life achievements? Through the practice of artistic expression, positive mindfulness and social emotional core competencies, our students develop life skills that empower them to handle obstacles and continue to move forward with the rest of their life.

West Point's Mission is to engage urban youth through music instruction and performance; cultivating artistically connected, socially conscious, productive adults. 

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Chicago LAMP is modeled after the National AMACHI Program, which provides assistance to children who are impacted by incarceration through mentoring. The AMACHI model was developed in 2000 by Reverend Dr. Wilson W. Goode, former Mayor of Philadelphia, and John Di Iulio, professor at the University of Pennsylvania. This model has been replicated in more than 250 cities across the nation and has proven successful in offering intervention that breaks the troublesome cycle of generational poverty and incarceration.

City Incite develops and administers fundamental programing that uplifts, teaches, and incites children, teens, adults, and seniors.  Our programs have gotten accepted into Chicago Public Schools--After School Matters, Chicago Housing Authority senior care centers, and various private community outreach organizations.

The mission of Diasporal Discoveries ("DD") is to expose youth to the diversity of the African Diaspora with a goal of connecting them to various cultures across the globe and expanding their horizons through cultural education and travel, both domestic and abroad.

Dream On Education is where education meets creativity and inspiration. We provide the best and brightest 6-8th graders in at-risk communities with all of our services: tutoring, mentoring, cultural exposure, and professional exposure.

Forward Momentum Chicago provides quality dance education programs to schools and communities with limited arts access. Programs are designed to not only increase dance skills and awareness, but to foster creativity, critical thinking, and social-emotional learning. From classroom residencies to formal studio training, Forward Momentum Chicago offers a variety of dance experiences for all ages and ability levels.

The mission of Harambee is to transform and encourage at-risk youth with the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ and empower them to know and experience the value and dignity of work by training and mentoring in biblically-based work-ethic.

Lost Boyz services youth girls and boys ages 4 to 18 through our baseball/softball and SYL programs from February until August of every year. Our target population is focused primarily on ultra high-risk youth, incarcerated youth, alienated youth, low income youth, and abused youth. As a result of our efforts since 2008, over 210 children from the South Shore community and 32 children detained in the Illinois Youth Center (IYC) have stayed trouble free for a range of four to nine months while occupied with our athletic and youth leadership activities.

The Wood Family Foundation (WFF) works to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for its children's programs and other children's charities they support.