October 2016

Elevating the Dialog on Nutrition and Data


Through a colleague at Microsoft, I was recently asked to participate in an Innovations Panel as part of a program from the national nonprofit Common Threads. In case you are not aware, Common Threads believes cooking is a life skill. Founded in 2003, Common Threads’ mission is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical wellbeing, empowering them to be agents of change for healthier families, schools, and communities. Through hands-on cooking programs and nutrition education, this  nonprofit organization provides a preventative health program solution in urban schools to children, families, and teachers in under-served communities. All programs are supported by Common Bytes, their digital nutrition education platform. As students play the games, individually or in groups, they follow a recipe journey to learn how that recipe comes together from the very beginning.  Students will earn points for their classroom, school, and district. Common Threads provides training and hands on skills for parents, teachers, students and families, thereby positively impacting our local communities.

While many of us are fortunate enough to have wonderful grocery stores near our home, and have been taught from an early age the importance of nutrition and good diet, this is unfortunately not the case for many urban youth and their families. Common Threads fills the gap for urban children who have inadequate diets and they focus on the positive aspect of nutrition as a change agent in our communities. To give you the scope of their impact, in the 2015-16 school year + Summer, Common Threads impacted Chicago students  in the following ways:

  • 25,000 individuals reached
  • 193,000 meals and snacks served
  • 230 schools and partner sites locally

On Wednesday, October 4th, Common Threads convened an expert panel discussion, focused on the process of program innovation in the non-profit sector. Our goals were to emphasize the importance of partnerships—public and private—in innovation; use real examples of innovation to share with the audience; discuss ways that organizations can learn to collaborate better, and discuss recent technological innovations related to childhood nutrition, development and education.

In addition to myself, the following respected individuals discussed the importance of nutrition and innovative approached to a large group at Pepsico Chicago’s Sustainability Center:

lori-alexanderLori Alexander, Manager of Nutrition, The Quaker Oats Company

In her current role, Lori transforms nutrition research into new business opportunities and accelerates business growth through collaboration within a global network for Quaker.

Tarrah DeClemente, Manager of Student Wellness at Chicago Public Schools

Tarrah oversees CPS’s Student Wellness Department and the implementation of LearnWELL, an initiative that encompasses the requirements of the district’s tarrah-declementethree
wellness policies: Local School Wellness, Healthy Snack and Beverage and Physical Education Policy. She provides leadership and guidance related to strategic planning, grants and budget management. She promotes and market the school meal program including highlighting nutrition standards, local procurement efforts, and variety of flavor profiles.

Sam Koentopp, Program Manager, The Kitchen Community

sam-koentoppSam Koentopp is a gardener and teacher from Chicago. He now cultivates 1,000 square feet on Chicago’s north west side and uses his experience and passion to teach gardening to teachers and students in Chicago Public Schools as a Learning Garden Educator with The Kitchen Community.

Alyssa Plotkin, National Program Assistant, After-School All-Stars

alyssa-plotkinAlyssa Plotkin joined the ASAS team in 2013 and now serves as the National Program Assistant. Prior to joining the ASAS team, Alyssa was a high school ESL mathematics teacher in Miami, FL at Miami Central Senior High School, through Teach for America. Alyssa attended the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Dr. Judith Shelton, Curriculum Director, Ariel Community Academy

judith-sheltonDr. Judith Shelton has played an active role in the success of the Ariel Education Initiative since its inception. Working closely with Principal Lennette Coleman, as well as with parents, teachers and students, “Dr. Judy,” as she is known throughout the school, fosters a unique environment that personalizes education and provides resources targeted at meeting each student’s specific needs.

Dr. Jen Brown, Director, Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities, Center for Community Health at Northwestern University

jen-brownJen Brown, MPH, is Director of the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC), the community-based participatory program working with the Northwestern University Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) and the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute. The ARCC mission is growing equitable and collaborative partnerships between Chicago area communities and Northwestern University for research that leads to measurable improvement in community health.

In many ways, this was a panel unlike any I have previously participated in. First, the caliber of talent and educational degrees was outstanding. Second, we immediately “connected” on the focus of nutrition as a way to help our communities thrive overall. Third, while the topic of STEM and Public-Private partnerships are often discussed in the city, this panel had a unique focus on health and nutrition, and on  the importance of STEM throughout the educational cycle. Dr. Judy emphasized that Math and Science are closely connected to learning about positive diet choices and that students’ STEM skills were reinforced as they participated in classes on menus, gardening and cooking.  As we brainstormed about innovation, we discussed how using data can help  articulate our collective impact in underserved communities. Through the panel  discussion, we hypothesized the connection between lack of internet access and lack of 21st century skills with low nutrition education. We felt that it was not a coincidence that food deserts overlay digital access deserts, and that struggling families need access to better nutrition, as well as access to the internet. We agreed that everyone interested in improving nutrition needed to be more aware of the public, open data available  to analyze the connection between a student’s economic situation, STEM skills and access to good  nutrition. It was suggested that advocates for CommonThreads should be more closely connected to Civic Tech Programs and Meet ups and that there should  be a stronger “megaphone” for looking at health disparities in the Civic Tech community.

There are many, many challenging problems to solve in our communities today. But Step 1 begins at home. If we can work more closely and use data to effectively and efficiently target families in need of nutrition training and better  dietary resources, we can help improve students’ energy and cognitive achievement. We can help break a cycle of poor nutrition, caused by many issues, including lack of knowledge and training.  We can help families make healthy choices, providing stepping stones to improved success at school, and throughout their lives.


Week in the life of a Civic Tech Evangelist Part 1: #micities conference


The past week of my life has been Civic Tech heaven! From traveling to Ann Arbor to speak at the #micities conference to cloud surfing on my first flight to the Sunlight Foundations Transparency Camp held in Cleveland Ohio, I’ve gained deeper insight about the amazing world of Civic Tech and Engagement from some of the brightest advocates across the nation. From building Smart Cities through civic technology, to building 21st century skills for high school students through inventive educational initiatives, I have been absorbing valuable information about what other advocates are doing to make the world we live in a better place. Journey with me as I take you on a voyage into the emerging sphere of Civic Tech and Engagement through the lenses of a Civic Tech Evangelist.


The first stop on my epic adventure was on October 8th, 2016, when I traveled to the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) to participate as a lightning talk speaker for the #micities conference. The #micities conference is an event designed for different Civic Technologists to discuss how they are using information technology to impact community engagement, solve problems in urban communities, and improve the quality of life for citizens across the state of Michigan. The event was keynoted by the brilliant Dr. Anthony Townsend, author of the 2013 book Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, who shared his insights on different digital technology practices governments, businesses, and citizens are administering across the world to address timeless urban adversities. Dr. Townsend’s conversation expounded on the impact of digital master planning discussing how cities like Chicago, London, Dublin, and New York are using digital technology to impact the societal advancement in different sectors of each cities ecosystem.


One of the plans Dr. Townsend discussed was Chicago’s Technology Plan. Chicago’s technology plan is one that infuses the five comprehensive strategies of developing next-generation infrastructure, expanding digital literacy, infusing civic technological innovation, promoting tech sector growth, and creating an efficient/effective open government in order to fulfill the vision of Chicago being a city where technology “fuels opportunity, inclusion, engagement and innovation”. When reflecting on this vision, I cannot help but think of the amazing work my colleagues Kevin Wei, Adam Hecktman, and Shelley Stern conduct in Chicago to enhance the cities civic technological landscape. Through nurturing the digital literacy skills of senior citizens through the ingenious initiative DigiSeniors, promoting innovation and civic engagement through the cutting edge creation of the Chicago City Data User Group, and through serving as key advisors to technology organizations, government officials, community cohorts, and other influential institutions, this terrific trio has made everlasting impacts on Chicago becoming a thriving Smart City.

After Dr. Townsend’s presentation, the spotlight shifted to the lightning talk sessions where five speakers (myself included) were given approximately six minutes and forty seconds to share information about how we are using civic technology to impact our respective communities. Here is a brief rundown of the different speakers and the projects they are working:

  • Kevin Liberman: Realizing Urban Data
    • Kevin Liberman, of the Guikema Reasearch Group, addressed the important question of how to optimize human wellbeing through the constraints of the environment. Kevin discussed how his team uses urban analytics, infrastructure resilience, statistical learning, predictive modeling, and decision risk/analysis to make urban systems more efficient.
  • Adam Engstrom: Ethics of Designing with Open Data
    • Adam Engstrom, student at the University of Michigan, talked about ethics in designing open data. Adam discussed how developers must hold themselves to a higher ethical standard when creating digital tools for communities they intend to serve. He discussed some of the deficiencies of select digital tools in the city of Jackson and emphasized the importance of developers making digital tools transparent to citizens in order to aid them with making better decisions.
  • Jonathan Stroud: Data Analysis of the Flint Water Crisis
    • Jonathan Stroud, member of the University of Michigan Data Science Team, spoke on how his team is using data science and machine learning to determine what homes are at high risk of elevated lead readings in the city of Flint. Working with University of Michigan and Google researchers, Jonathan’s team has incorporated their research into an application called UniteFlint, which allows citizens to conduct risk assessments of their homes water lead readings. This application also has aided construction workers with the lead service line replacement in the city of Flint.
  • Samuel Krassenstein: Taking the First Steps Toward a Smart City
    • Samuel Krassenstein, a city of Detroit employee and MBA/MUP candidate, gave the audience his insight on building a Smart City. Samuel spoke on how the city of Detroit is taking steps in the right direction toward becoming a Smart City through tools like the Open Data Portal, SeeClickFix, and the Traffic Signal Management System. He also spoke on how technological innovation and collaboration with change makers will help Detroit take those next steps towards becoming a Smart City.

During my lightning talk session, I presented the amazing civic engagement initiative that I am sure you all have heard about called @cutgroupdetroit. To those have not heard, the Civic User Testing Group (CUTGroup) is a community of residents who get paid to test civic websites and apps to help create better technology. The feedback provided by citizens testing the civic technology goes directly into improving the usability and functionality of the technology resulting into enhanced civic tech for the entire community.


During my presentation, I talked about the creators of CUTGroup (@SmartChicago), the birth of @cutgroupdetroit, highlighted the recruitment efforts, and elaborated on the first CUTGroup test we conducted on September 8th, 2016 at the Ford Research & Engagement Center (for more info on our first test, check out Shelley Stern’s blog here). The overall message I intended to send to the #micities audience was that through hard work, dedication, community connectivity, and most importantly, correlated collaboration, powerful movements can be established that are capable of creating lasting impacts on the communities we inspire to innovate.


What did I learn from this enlightening experience? I learned more about how civic tech is reshaping communities and building brighter futures for citizens all across the mighty mitten. I obtained more knowledge about the inner workings of Smart Cities and learned more about the different civic driven blueprints cities are using to make improvements to their cities . There are so many awesome approaches being taken throughout the globe to create Smart Cities and by studying from what others are doing to improve their cities, positive changes can made to improve our own. I like to send a big thank you to Scott TenBrink and the University of Michigan for inviting me to share the amazing initiative at the #micities conference. It was truly an excellent experience that shed light on some amazing initiatives that are being powered by civic tech.

I also like to give a huge shout out to the incredible CUTGroup Detroit team. To Sonja Marziano, Garlin Gilchrist, Shelley Stern, the @D3detroit team, Boitshoko Molefhi, and the CUTGroup Detroit Street team, it was an extraordinary experience working with you all on this project. CUTGroup Detroit would be impossible without all of the hard work and commitment we collectively put forth. I look forward to continuing our civic engagement efforts as we move forward with CUTGroup Detroit.

Stayed tuned for part two of my series where I document my adventures at the Points of Light Civic Accelerator.

Microsoft and Perfomics Host the Bingubator in Chicago

Chicago Bingubator

Today, Microsoft Corp. and Performics are hosting the first ever Bingubator session with Microsoft HoloLens. Bingubator is both a space and an experience derived by Bing Ads in conjunction with its industry partners to collaborate on new ideas to create innovative customer concepts.

The goal of this event is to foster collaboration across the search and media industries in the Bingubator’s open and collaborative environment reflecting Microsoft’s own open partnership approach.

Inside the Bingubator visitors will find a variety of technology that can be discovered and experienced first-hand and act as a source of inspiration for groups of creative and technology experts to come up with new and exciting customer experience uses and applications for the marketing industry in Chicago and beyond.

Today’s event welcomes teams from Mediavest | Spark, Starcom and of course, Performics and Microsoft. There will be presentations on the technology available to inspire creativity which includes Surface 4 and Surface Books, Xbox, Bing, Windows 10 and Microsoft HoloLens. Attendees will also be invited to experience the technology for themselves, including Microsoft HoloLens throughout the day, and will be given the opportunity to jointly ideate and add their own interpretation and concepts using the tools and space provided.

The Bing Network, which today powers nearly one-third of all PC searches in the US, is thrilled to be working closely with its highly-valued partners for the future growth and innovation of the industry and we look forward to many inspirational Bingubator sessions in the future.

Civic Chat — Networking Our Neighborhoods: Dan Gaylin, NORC

Advisor.TV Civic Chat Networking Our Neighborhoods episode with Dan Gaylin

NORC is a global research institute that is putting data and research into the hands of the government, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and citizens so it can be transformed into powerful information that aids in better decision-making and policy creation.

Dan Gaylin, President and CEO of NORC, explains that their research supports many initiatives, particularly education. Their research and data analysis is being used to better understand the education system in the United States and help the federal government understand the skills that are critical for the future. For example, NORC recently teamed up with The Chicago Tribune and The Joyce Foundation to study the views Chicago parents have on the quality of various Chicago Public Schools.

In Shelley Stern Grach’s latest Civic Chat: Networking Our Neighborhoods, she connects with Dan Gaylin to discuss how NORC is leverage data analysis to create empowered decision-making and policy across the globe.

Watch Shelley’s chat with Dan live on Advisor.TV.


Microsoft Participates in Museum Science and Industry’s Science Works! and Provides Hour of Code Classes to Students

And they call this work? Volunteering with students at Museum Science and Industry’s Science Works! isn’t work — it’s fun and rewarding.


minecraft-logo museum_of_science_and_industry_logo-svg-2

Team Microsoft is proud to be one of over 20 companies, universities and government organizations who helped inspire our youth for careers in STEM at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in October. Science Works! 2016 helps students learn about cool jobs and hot careers, straight from professionals during a two-day hands-on learning and career celebration. Open to youth and their families, with a wonderful supporting cast of teachers and chaperones, Science Works! provides an opportunity to play with technology, perform experiments, see what interesting jobs the STEM fields have to offer, and talk to STEM professionals about what excites them in their field. There was a wide range of choices to address nearly every area of interest: weather forecasting with CBS2 meteorologists and the mobile weather lab; energy lessons with ComEd; taking the heartbeat of dogs with veterinarians; and creating your own brainwave art through fun, interactive experiences.

Our team of Microsoft volunteers held three Hour of Code classes for nearly 100 elementary school students from Chicagoland. Working from the Code.org site, our team decided to work with the students on learning to code with Minecraft.


Our team brought in Surface devices for the students to use and literally, every seat was filled. The students were amazing as they worked in pairs or teams of three to code and build with Minecraft. They were not only learning to code, they were learning about teamwork and collaboration. They were experimenting with critical thinking skills, figuring out logical steps in the coding process. And just as importantly, we learned along with the students. We learned that 5th and 6th graders have fine intuitive skills, and they create teams seamlessly while focusing on collaborative ways to achieve success. It was great to see how coding is just plain fun, as well as a skill that is valued in the workforce.


Many thanks to the MSI staff who welcomed us to their wonderful, amazing space. Their planning and technical support provided a seamless experience for our team as well as the students. Congratulations to the teachers and chaperones who guided the students to our space, on time and ready to code. And most of all, a huge thank you to the students who showed their enthusiasm and passion for technology and who will be our leaders of tomorrow.

Manufacturing Day at UI LABS Spotlights Issues of Diversity and Inclusion

We have focused a great deal of attention on STEM, and rightly so. There has been special emphasis on Computer Science skills and coding skills. However, when I attended the recent Manufacturing Day program at UI Labs, I realized that we have been missing an important aspect of STEM—helping to accelerate the Manufacturing pipeline for Chicagoland’s workforce. Manufacturing in the 21st century is based on a mosaic of skills— classic Science and Math knowledge, artistic talents for creative design, and the physical eye-to-hand coordination to operate sophisticated machinery. As a child of the Motor City, and a committed Midwesterner, I’m joining the Manufacturing bandwagon and urging all of us to take a fresh look at STEMM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Manufacturing—to build our local economy, bring jobs to our youth, and to re-energize the workforce pipeline.

— Shelley Stern Grach

Kurt Summers, City of Chicago TreasurerAs digitization transforms American manufacturing, the nature of skilled work is changing and demand for technical talent is on the rise. To foster a skilled workforce, making manufacturing careers accessible and inclusive is more important than ever.

“Manufacturing today is a tech job—it’s all about data,” Caralynn Collens, CEO of UI LABS, told a group of high school students from Prosser Academy last week.

The students were at Chicago-based innovation accelerator UI LABS—home to the Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute—for Manufacturing Day, an annual nationwide celebration designed to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. To commemorate the occasion, on Oct. 7 UI LABS hosted the students along with a distinguished group of government officials and community leaders for a discussion of how to increase diversity and access to careers in manufacturing.

Andre Gudger, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; Ted Dean, Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the Department of Commerce; and Kurt Summers, Treasurer for the City of Chicago provided opening remarks for the program, titled “Under-served On-ramp to the Manufacturing and Maker Economy.”

“Success going forward is about innovation and new ideas,” Summers told the audience. “Expanding the [workforce] pipeline is key.”

The program featured two panel sessions that addressed how to expand inclusion in the workforce and foster business development in the modern manufacturing environment. A recurring theme in the discussion was the importance of showing children that manufacturing is a viable career path for everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity.

“The way they become empowered is they see adults like them,” said Dr. Keenan Grenell, executive director of the Manufacturing Diversity Institute, which co-hosted the program with UI LABS.

An audience member from Chicago Public Schools agreed, adding that we need to “show kids it’s attainable” and make manufacturing “urban, hip-hop cool” to appeal to a younger generation.

Participants identified hurdles, like schools that wait too long to introduce students to manufacturing, and employers whose experience requirements preclude new entrants to the workforce.

Slide from Manufacturing Day

Haley Stevens, director of workforce development for UI LABS, echoed the group’s call to engage parents, communities and regional groups to address the issues raised.

“We are truly at a tipping point in terms of organizing resources,” she said.

Content from the discussion will form the basis for two white papers that MDI plans to publish later this year.

Seated in the tiered classroom at UI LABS, the Prosser Academy sophomores learned about how the manufacturing industry is changing—and what that could mean for their own careers.

The students watched a video showing employees assembling a Ford Model T, followed by a clip of a modern automobile factory filled with robots. While human beings are no longer assembling the vehicles, they still have a key role to play, using computer science skills to program the machines, said Aileen Nolan, research associate for UI LABS.

Touring UI LABS’ manufacturing floor, the Prosser students experienced augmented reality firsthand, using the Light Guide system on display to assemble a fuel injector for a jet engine. Lead engineer Kelley Patrick showed the group an Iron Man replica he designed using advanced software and produced on equipment at UI LABS.

The students later played the role of engineer—designing and prototyping bean bags to test in a game of Cornhole.

“Who thinks manufacturing is more exciting after today?” asked Michael Fornasiero, a GE engineer and ASME fellow embedded with UI LABS, toward the end of the students’ visit.

Twenty hands shot into the air.

katie-mulligan-2Katie Mulligan is manager of communications and design for UI LABS, a Chicago-based innovation accelerator, where she manages external communications, media relations and branding.

Civic Chat — Networking Our Neighborhoods: James Richmond, STEM Programs at Chicago Public Schools

Civic Chat with Shelley Stern Grach and James Richmond of Chicago Public Schools
STEM Programs for Chicago Public Schools are dedicated to enriching, exposing, educating, and engaging students to the world of STEM. In order to promote early STEM education, they offer a wide range of programs, such as their career and technical programsCS4All, and STEM programs that involve five of their Early College STEM Schools.

James Richmond, Project Manager for STEM Programs at Chicago Public Schools, works primarily on the Out of School Time Enrichment programs, which take place after school, on weekends, and during vacations. These programs allow students to apply the knowledge they learn in school through hands-on projects such as robot building, web coding, and app development. Students are also encouraged to peak their interest in all areas of STEM by participating in programs, such as the Summer STEM Launch Camps.

In Shelley Stern Grach’s latest Civic Chat: Networking Our Neighborhoods, she connects with James Richmond to discuss the amazing learning opportunities that Chicago Public Schools is offering to students across the city.

Watch Shelley’s chat with James live on Advisor.TV.

Big Shoulders — Zach Borders, Civic Artworks

Adam Hecktman and Zach Borders

Businesses of all sizes have been using productivity platforms to collaborate for decades now. Further, social networking has become the de facto way that we share ideas and interests with like-minded people all over the world. Both technologies have helped people overcome traditional barriers to conversation, ideation, and planning. Civic Artworks has recognized the applicability of such platforms to community organizing and communicating with public officials. To that end, they have created a platform of their own that gives communities the tools they need to shape the future of their neighborhoods.

In my latest Big Shoulders, an Advisor.tv web series exploring Chicago’s civic technology space and its leaders, I had the pleasure of hosting Zach Borders, the CEO and Founder of Civic ArtWorks. Zach explains how the Municipal platform empowers community members with the tools they need to fund, plan, and execute projects that impact their neighborhoods.

Watch my talk with Zach Borders live on Advisor.tv.

How Microsoft is Using the Cloud to Transform Water Management


Photo: Thomas Slack — s l a c k c r e a t i v e

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting Chicago and sharing the stage with our partner, Ecolab, to discuss how technology is transforming the way resources are managed and used, with a particular focus on water. Christophe Beck, President of Ecolab, and I participated in a joint keynote at the National Association of Manufacturers’ Leading Edge Executive Forum and it was exciting to hear how sustainability has been infused into the priorities and agenda at the National Association of Manufacturers.

We discussed how water scarcity, water quality and water management, present manufacturers with an incredible opportunity to rethink and reinvent the ways in which water is used and managed. By leveraging advanced analytics, mobile devices, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and genomics, companies like Ecolab are helping transform every aspect of how people live, work and learn. These trends offer huge potential, not only to help business, but also will help address pressing sustainability issues like energy, transportation, food and water.

Water may well be the ‘next carbon’ in terms of the severity and scope; The demand for water has risen alongside population growth, urbanization, changing diets and rising demand for energy. In fact, the United Nations’ World Water Development Report 2015 predicts that, within 15 years, demand will outpace supply by almost 40 percent, and the lack of freshwater will be a major source of stress for two-thirds of the world’s population.

But we see a great opportunity to use the cloud, IoT and machine learning to transform water management. At the event, Ecolab discussed how cloud technologies are being used to create solutions to reduce, reuse and recycle water. The cloud and advanced analytics tools will provide not only real-time sensing and control of water-intensive processes, but also will help Ecolab make recommendations for their customers that may lead to further reduction in water, energy and labor costs.

These technologies can also be used beyond water management scenarios to include decision support tools to evaluate risks and uncover solutions for water security and biodiversity. In Seattle, we partnered with the oceanographers at the University of Washington and a local shellfish company, Taylor Shellfish, to create a cloud-based solution aimed at biodiversity. The solution, LiveOcean, provides geo-targeted forecasts of ocean acidity levels, enabling shellfish farmers to make smart decisions about when to hatch and plant oysters.

These water solutions are also important for cities. Already, Microsoft is working with Chicago to leverage these technologies in the City Digital initiative to develop and test smart and sustainable solutions to make the city more resilient. This includes projects focused on water, such as the Smart Green Infrastructure Monitoring pilot, which will allow city planners to measure green infrastructure solutions against traditional infrastructure solutions.

We are excited about the transformative power of the cloud to change the way people and organizations manage and use resources like water. And we’re committed to building out a cloud for global good, which includes building a responsible cloud that minimizes our use of water. Our work on water is just beginning – stay tuned for more updates.

Civic Chat — Networking Our Neighborhoods: Kara Kennedy, Executive Director of Lumity

Shelley Stern and Kara Kennedy

As a local nonprofit, Lumity reaches out to the community to help make Chicago better, one person at a time. Not only does Lumity connect other nonprofits to resources like financial planning, seminars and trainings, and more, they reach out to individuals to empower the next generation. The organization exposes Chicago’s students to STEM careers to inspire them to stay in school, find a meaningful career path, and place in a permanent job.

In Shelley Stern Grach’s latest Civic Chat: Networking Our Neighborhoods, she connects with Kara Kennedy, Executive Director of Lumity, to discuss the work Lumity is doing to empower students through STEM.

Watch Shelley’s chat with Kara live on Advisor.TV.