Learning Lab 2023: Deep Listening. Human-Centered Design Tools @ Online
Feb 22 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Learning Lab: How Human-Centered Design Can Help You Listen to What Your Community Needs 

George Aye, Co-Founder and Director of Innovation at Greater Good Studio, will lead participants in a deep listening session. This method is one of several being practiced during an overview of human-centered design. This session will feature a video that Greater Good Studio produced as a teaching tool for sharing how to learn design research. The behaviors modeled during the video gives learners a rich sense for how to show up and honor the lived experiences of research participants that we’re ultimately learning from. 

Content Expert: George Aye, Co-Founder and Director of Innovation at Greater Good Studio

George Aye believes that design can lead to positive behavior change. Before co-founding Greater Good Studio, he spent seven years at global innovation firm IDEO before being hired as the first human-centered designer at the Chicago Transit Authority. Since founding Greater Good, he has worked across multiple social issues, including autism, criminal justice, education, public health, and health care. He has facilitated discussions with small executive leadership teams and workshops with 150+ participants to help uncover hidden opportunities for innovation. George is an adjunct full professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Price: Pay What You Can ($15-$35)

Learning Lab 2023: Brand Strategy & Storytelling For Arts Nonprofits @ Online
Apr 26 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Learning Lab: Brand Strategy And Storytelling for Arts + Culture Nonprofits 

Brand strategy is no longer optional for the arts.   

Mission statements are aspirational, yet they are not enough – they are not decision-making tools and are rarely unique or memorable. In this session, we will make a case for articulating an organizational purpose that can help you make big and small decisions, create team alignment, make your funders understand why you are unique, and communicate to your audiences what they can expect from you. 

Content Expert: Jennifer Martindale, Marketing and Branding Professional

Jennifer has worked with global brands, innovative nonprofits, and founder-led companies. Her expertise includes consumer goods, multi-unit retail & restaurants, arts & entertainment, automotive, government, and professional sports. She believes brands can use their platform to help shift culture. She worked at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Leo Burnett, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, before joining the Chicago Cubs as Senior Vice President of Marketing

Learning Lab: Roadmap to Enacting Pay Equity and Transparency in Nonprofits @ Online
Aug 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Learning Lab: Roadmap To Enacting Pay Equity and Transparency in Nonprofits

Enacting pay equity is not as expensive as it appears. From posting salaries in job offers and creating organizational policies to talking about money and fair compensation from a place of justice, this Learning Lab will tackle crucial aspects of understanding and navigating pay equity and transparency. 


Price: Pay What You Can ($15 – $35)

Content Expert: Elsa Hiltner, Organizer and Consultant for Pay Equity & Associate Director of Programs at Lawyers for the Creative Arts.

Elsa Hiltner has worked for over 15 years as a freelance artist and arts non-profit administrator, including as director of development for Collaboraction Theatre Company and as Associate Director of Programs at Lawyers for the Creative Arts. Her essays on labor and pay equity have inspired systemic change in the theatre industry. Her Theatrical Designer Pay Resource has been used nationwide to promote pay transparency and start conversations around pay equity. She is a co-founder of On Our Team, which successfully organized pay transparency on the job sites of Playbill, BroadwayWorld, and the League of Chicago Theatres.

Learning Lab: Proposal/Grant Writing, Building a Successful Case @ Online
Oct 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

At the Arts & Business Council of Chicago, we are creating a world where creativity is universally valued as a resource with limitless potential for social and economic impact. We are an arts service organization focused on serving Chicago’s cultural workers and enterprises through consulting, programming, and mentorship to ensure community vitality and an equitable creative economy. 

One of the ways in which we fulfill our mission is through our Learning Labs Program. Learning Labs provide opportunities to start new conversations about non-profit management with a particular focus on arts + culture. The goal of this program is to continue discussing solutions for challenges faced across the sector. 

About Learning Lab: Grant Writing, Building a Successful Case for your Project

Support for nonprofit arts organizations and art makers in Chicagoland drastically increased last year and is expected to continue growing until the end of this year. Grant amounts from the city and state are larger, their terms are more flexible, and the application process is less rigid. When it comes to private foundations, a similar case is happening. 

However, even if there are more funding opportunities, the chances of getting funds will largely depend on the applicant’s ability to effectively build their case and present a successful grant application. 

In view of this exciting scenario, the Arts & Business Council offers a Learning Lab on Grant Writing where participants will gain insights into communicating effectively with prospective funders.  

During this workshop, attendees will get tailored advice on building a case for their project or organization. This session focuses on philanthropic foundation and government grants for arts organizations, although some underlying principles around proposal writing apply to individuals.  

Content Expert: TBD

Topics covered during the session 

  • Brief History of Nonprofit Funding 
  • Anatomy of a Grant Application, with a focus on narrative, timeline, budget, and impact/evaluation 
  • Case Studies: Critically Examining Writing Samples 
  • Creating Your Case: Share your Elevator Pitch  

Topics not covered 

  • Identifying relevant government and private foundation funders 
  • Types of foundations and other funders 
  • Types of proposals and submissions
  • Application for research grants 


We encourage participants to prepare a one-paragraph pitch for a project they want to get funded.  


Price: Pay What You Can ($20-$35)

Content Expert: TBD


Questions about this event? 

Email Constanza Mendoza, A&BC’s Director of Programs, at