Learning Lab: Working at the Intersection of “Arts &” @ Humboldt Park Cultural Center
Feb 12 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Art for art’s sake is a thing of the past. The arts, cultural, and creative sector (including institutional funders) is shifting to uplift civic causes in the communities it serves. Organizations working at intersections like arts and youth development, arts and health, and arts and veterans’ affairs are leading the way in using creativity and culture to improve the social and economic lives of their constituents.  

In this session we will discuss:

  • why artmakers are partnering with existing social service agencies
  • how artmakers are operating in divested communities where resources are scarce
  • the importance of arts, culture, and creativity in “non-arts” organizations
  • how you can thread social practice into your artmaking

Panelists: Calvin King / Founder and Executive Director / Free Lunch Academy

Cate Fox / Senior Program Officer / The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Lauren Krieg / Senior Program Officer / Albert Pick, Jr. Fund

Read the panelists bios.

Registration: $65

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Panelist bio: Calvin King III is a local Chicago business consultant and accomplished playwright with over 30 completed works for the stage. Calvin was very active in theater and writing for the stage during college. After becoming a father, educator, and youth pastor his creative work began to naturally center itself around children and youth. He set out to find ways he could use entertainment in an educational way to help coach and mentor young people to become the absolute greatest version of themselves, one choice at a time. Serving as the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Free Lunch Academy, Calvin has developed innovative teaching arts programs where children participate in their own learning and develop better social skills while having fun. Through mentoring his teaching artist staff and partnering with other organizations in the community, Calvin has made it a goal of the organization to eradicate bullying worldwide by October 1, 2025.


Panelist bio: Cate A. Fox is a Senior Program Officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. At the Foundation, Cate oversees: Culture, Equity, and the Arts and Community Capital awards as part of her work with the Chicago Commitment team.

Previously, Cate served as a senior consultant at The Alford Group, a consulting firm to the nonprofit community. Over seven years with Alford she helped nonprofit organizations, including those in the arts, evaluate programs, assess organizational strength, conduct strategic planning, and increase fundraising. Cate also worked with the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. to revise its international programs and structure.

Cate received a Master of Arts degree in Peace and Development Studies with first class honors from the University of Limerick (Limerick, Ireland), and a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Hollins University (Roanoke, VA).

Panelist bio: Lauren Krieg is the Senior Program Officer for the Albert Pick Jr. Fund, a private foundation that supports Civic Engagement, Education, the Arts, and Violence Prevention Programming and Healthcare Access for Children and Youth. Lauren is also the Vice President of Iris Krieg and Associates, a philanthropic advisory firm that provides grant management and consultation services to foundations and individual donors. Through this role, for more than eleven years, she has worked for several other Chicago foundations supporting the arts and a variety of other issues. Lauren has served on the Steering Committee of the Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development since 2008 and has been a strong advocate for the use of arts as a tool for improving communities and people’s lives in both traditional and unique ways.

Lauren earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees from Bryn Mawr College in Spanish and Cultural Anthropology and a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Framingham State College.


On BOARD® Lab: Legal & Fiduciary Responsibilities of Board Members @ WeWork Monroe
Mar 7 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Topics include:

  • Laws governing nonprofit boards of directors
  • The role of the director: responsibilities & restrictions
  • Bylaws
  • Understanding the importance of Directors & Officers insurance
  • Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and Duty of Obedience
  • Conflict of interest
  • Executive leadership responsibilities
  • Committees and non-governing boards: associate, auxiliary, advisory
  • The importance and process of strategic planning

Presenters: Braden Cleary / Director, Arts Services / Arts & Business Council of Chicago

Patricia Spiccia Marx / Attorney / Quarels & Brady

Cris Beilstein / Consultant / Elevation Collaborative

Price: $150

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Learning Lab: Sexual Harassment Training @ Webinar
Mar 16 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

This Learning Lab has reached capacity. To be placed on a waitlist, please contact Braden Cleary, Director of Arts Services at or (312) 372 – 1876 ext. 105.

As of January 1, 2020, Illinois employers must provide sexual harassment training to all full-time and part-time equivalent employees on an annual basis in order to be compliant with Illinois employment law. This includes nonprofit organizations! The Arts & Business Council of Chicago has engaged the Illinois Department of Human Rights to deliver compliance training to our clients.   

Participants will engage in a series of thoughtful discussions and exercises about the different perceptions of appropriate and inappropriate conduct. Participants will learn about the two types of sexual harassment, i.e.quid pro quo and hostile work environment, as well as issues including third-party and bystander sexual harassment. The training will encourage employees to report sexual harassment and help build a culture of respect.  

Due to limited capacity, this training is only open to current clients of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago. If you have questions about your client status, please contact Braden Cleary, Director of Arts Services at or (312) 372 – 1876 ext. 105.  

Registration: Free 

Presenter: Marcio Mendoza / Human Rights Trainer / Illinois Department of Human Rights

On BOARD® Lab: Nonprofit Finances, Budgeting, & Tax Issues @ Webinar
Apr 4 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Topics include:

  • Financial oversight; policy creation and compliance; and safeguarding of assets
    • Policies: conflict of interest, whistleblower, document retention & destruction, executive compensation, etc.
  • Achieving financial accountability
  • What occurs during an audit and when you need one
  • Managing cash flow
  • Taxes including payroll, UBIT, and changes to GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles)
  • Maintaining nonprofit status through tax compliance – filing with the IRS and other government entities

Presenter: Megan Angle, CPAManager / Porte Brown LLC

Price: $150

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Learning Lab: Capital Campaigns (Webinar) @ Webinar
Apr 22 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Acquiring land, renovating buildings, and purchasing large supplies are huge projects that take careful planning. A capital campaign is a fundraising process that aims to raise enough money to make any of these facility-related purchases. Running a successful capital campaign is a surefire way for nonprofit organizations to own space in the community they serve and create community wealth as an anchor institution.

In this session we will discuss:

  • Understanding the feasibility of reaching a high-impact fundraising goal in your capital campaign;
  • Business planning and lending processes;
  • Marketing and communications strategies to advocate for donations to your campaign;
  • And getting to the finish line! How will you know if you were successful?

Presenter: Tracy Lewis / CEO / Lewis & Associates LLC

Meet the presenter!

Registration: $65

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Lewis & Associates LLC. intentionally & purposefully supports small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies, with strategic planning community engagement and project management consultation services. Lewis & Associates is lead by Tracy Lewis, who is a Detroit native with a passion for urban spaces, sensory experiences and politics. Tracy has a Masters in Public Administration from Wayne State University and has worked in communities of color for the past 12 years on a variety of community and economic development projects.

On BOARD® Lab: Fundraising & Arts Advocacy in the COVID-19 Crisis (Webinar) @ Webinar
May 2 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
On BOARD® Lab: Fundraising & Arts Advocacy in the COVID-19 Crisis (Webinar) @ Webinar | Chicago | Illinois | United States

Topics include:

  • Funding landscape for nonprofit organizations and sector-wide trends in giving
  • The role board members play in securing funds
  • Creating a donor cultivation strategy
  • The role of board members in arts advocacy
  • Emerging issues in arts & cultural policy including The CARES Act and the government’s role in COVID-19 response

Presenters: Suzanne Griffith / Navigate Nonprofits

Jonathan VanderBrug / Deputy Director, Civic Engagement / Arts Alliance Illinois

Price: Pay-What-You-Can

All dollars earned from this On BOARD® Lab will go directly toward our efforts to creatively and accessibly provide support and lend expertise to nonprofit organizations during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Learning Lab: Rebooting Your Strategic Plan (Webinar) @ Webinar
May 11 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a huge toll on nonprofit arts, cultural, and creative organizations. Many have faced canceled programs, staff reductions, and financial loss; and have been forced to put their strategic plans to the side. Although we don’t know when or if our organizations will operate in the way they used to, this webinar will outline tools to help organizations reboot their strategic plans in a way that is responsive to our new environment and find pathways to move forward. 

In this webinar we will discuss: 

  • Clarifying your commitments to yourorganization, audiences, donors, and community constituents. 
  • Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your organization. 
  • Generating ideas to address the most important gaps you now face.   
  • Identifying new opportunities in your business and artistic production with the changed world we now live in. 
  • Embracing an iterative mindset to reboot your strategic plan while the world continues to evolve. 

Presenter: Cris Beilstein / Elevation Collaborative

Meet the Presenter!

Registration: Pay-What-You-Can

Even $5 makes a difference! If you have a stable income, please consider making a contribution towards this webinar. All dollars earned from this Learning Lab will go directly toward our efforts to creatively and accessibly provide support and lend expertise to nonprofit organizations during the COVID-19 crisis.

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With over two decades of business leadership experience in innovation, product development, training, and coaching, Cris is known for her ability to see new possibilities in challenging situations and for her coaching skills that bring out the best in people.  She has an open and inclusive style, and her fusion of creative curiosity and technical practicality benefits clients as she guides them from thinking big to strategic planning and action.


Learning Lab: Marketing Your Mission in a Post-Pandemic World @ Webinar
Jul 22 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Arts and cultural programming has drastically changed due to COVID-19 – maybe for good. As organizations rethink and reinvent their services and programs to respond to emerging challenges, they will need to move from project-based marketing to holistic, brand-driven “institutional marketing.” Strong missions and brands will help organizations engage audiences, maintain loyal donors, and recruit effective board members. By transforming the challenges of the pandemic into creative opportunities, organizations can find new strategies to meet their audiences where they are and emerge as arts leaders in an increasingly competitive landscape.

In this session we will discuss:

  • Definitions of project-based marketing and institutional marketing – and their challenges and benefits;
  • The mechanics of a clear and compelling mission;
  • Communicating a cohesive brand that represents your new and adapted program models;
  • And strategies for staying relevant and present.

Presenter: Ben van Loon / Communications Director / AFIRE

Registration: $25

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On BOARD® Lab: Arts Organization Structures & Board Responsibilities @ Webinar
Sep 14 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

On BOARD® is the Arts & Business Council of Chicago’s unique board governance and leadership training program that prepares individuals who are ready to engage as active board members of arts, cultural, and creative nonprofit organizations. Individuals who successfully complete the full program demonstrate an understanding and commitment to upholding high standards of nonprofit board governance.

Arts Organization Structures & Board Responsibilities is part 1 of 6 in the full On BOARD® curriculum. To register for the full program session, click here.

Topics include:

  • Structures of arts and cultural organizations and their boards
  • Phases of development of nonprofit organizations, from the founding board to the working board and the governing board
  • Analysis of the board’s role in planning, governance, staffing & structure, income generation, audience development & marketing, financial management, and facilities management
  • Expectations of board contributions of time, talent, and treasure
  • Relationship between the board and staff, and challenges posed by staffing and board transitions

Presenter: Braden Cleary / Director of Arts Services / Arts & Business Council of Chicago

Price: $35 – Nonprofit and public sector employees use code NPO20 for $10 discount

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Learning Lab: Crafting a Thoughtful Fundraising Approach During COVID-19 @ Webinar
Sep 16 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Everyone can fundraise – even you! Although our environments have been reshaped by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the important calls for social justice by the Black Lives Matter movement, arts and cultural organizations can still find success by developing thoughtful strategies with donor cultivation at top of mind. Whether it’s a full annual plan or a shorter-term initiative, the current moment has taught the nonprofit sector that we must be ready to meet future challenges. Building clear fundraising plans with well-timed tactics can help us do just that.

In this session we will discuss:

  • An analysis of the current fundraising landscape for arts, cultural, and creative nonprofit organizations;
  • What you need to know to develop a successful fundraising strategy;
  • A deeper dive into important fund development tactics like matching gifts and targeted email campaigns;
  • And the fundraising steps your organization can take to thrive during COVID-19

Presenters: Christine Grodecki / Consultant / CCS Fundraising
                        Laura Aikens / Senior Vice President / CCS Fundraising

Registration: $25

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