This podcast episode was published on Crain’s Chicago Business podcast series Chicago Comes Back on February 4, 2021 with Emily Drake Tessa and Todd Connor.
The founder of Chicago Beyond talks about how the past year has focused attention on inequity and how philanthropy can have an impact on whole communities.
Every Thursday in Chicago Comes Back, Emily Drake and Todd Connor provide resilient leadership insights to help your business move forward as we emerge from the pandemic. Drake and Connor facilitate Crain’s Leadership Academy. Drake is a licensed therapist, owner of the Collective Academy and a leadership coach. Connor is the founder of Bunker Labs and the Collective Academy and is also a leadership consultant.
This week we sit down with Liz Dozier, former Chicago Public Schools principal turned social entrepreneur and founder at Chicago Beyond, who has been a driving force for catalytic change for our young. To date, Chicago Beyond has invested more than $30 million in community-led initiatives and individuals to help all youth to achieve their full potential here in Chicago, and beyond. As we think about Chicago coming back, we wanted to check in with her for perspective on what recovery means and needs to look like for our young people.
Todd Connor: Liz, you’ve been at the forefront of preparing our young people for life beyond school, from your time as principal at Christian Fenger Academy High School in the Roseland neighborhood to your role now leading Chicago Beyond. Can you give us your perspective on the state of the system, as it were? How are we doing as a city?
Liz Dozier: Systemic racism still acts as an underlying driver of the state of the system. We have evidence of how that driver impacts everything from health care to our education. This last year made a huge difference in the acknowledgement of that reality. Rightly so, this time period has forced us to examine and begin to reform our city, state and national practices and policies in order to create a system that is equitable and allows access and opportunity for all people.