Investment Strategy


Investment Strategy

Our Mission

Chicago Beyond invests in organizations, people, and ideas that advance equity for youth and communities. 

Investment Philosophy

We believe there is no single barrier to equity, thus our strategy takes a holistic approach and we invest in diverse ideas that reflect a broad range of issue areas.We recognizethat thebroader ecosystemand itshistoricalfoundations ofstructural racism, power, and privilegehave dramatically impeded the lives and life outcomes of young people.Rather than asking “what does a young person need to do differently?”we seek to influencechange in the ecosystemin order tohelp youth reach their fullest potential.

Investment Strategy

We focuson impactingsystems and supportingearly-stage and maturing organizationsthathavenot gained substantial financial backing (in relation to the scope of idea) orhavelimited access to resources. Accordingly, we seek investments that drive change at two key levels:

  • Direct Youth and CommunityOrganizations, people, and ideas that address the immediate and acute needs of youth and provide pathways to help youth reach their fullest potential
  • Systems level – Organizations, people, and ideas that influence the overarching beliefs, ideologies,behaviorsand practices that undergird, enable, or reinforce systemic inequity to help youth reach their fullest potential 

Our process for investing is not about evaluating ideas or checking boxes. Instead, we seek to understand the potential of a partnership and what we can do together in service of youth knowing that we will both learn and deepen our impact from it.  

When exploring a possible investment, the factors we value most are:

Rooted in youth and community experience, voice, and relationship

  • How is an organization/person/ideainfluenced and shaped by youth and community voice, experience, and relationship? Howis youth voiceintegrated in the work? 
  • What is the potential toamplify youth and community voice throughthepartnership?  

Adaptable to changing conditions and new knowledge 

  • How doesan organization/person/ideademonstrate an openness to learning and propensity for adjusting to newenvironments, and/or new information and change? 

  • What is the potential for mutual learning throughthepartnership?  

Audacious vision for change that is backed by action  

  • How does an organization/person/ideapushthemselves and others to have greater impact? How dothey challenge where they’ve been, or what they knowin order to better impact youth? 
  • What is the potential to grow or deepen impact through the partnership? 

Relevant to the opportunities, needs, culture and values of youth and communities

  • How does an organization/person/idea recognize and understand the complexity of its issue area and community? How can that understanding be integrated into the work?
  • What is the potential to develop a fuller picture of the opportunities and challenges youth face through the partnership? 

Collaborative relationship with others or ideas that build on one another

  • How does an organization/person/idea connect and drive collaborative action with others?
  • What is the potential to cultivate a healthy, cooperative relationship through the partnership?  

Capacity to engage in a high-touch relationship built on mutual trust

  • How does an organization/person/idea demonstrate its ability to work closely together?
  • What is the potential for Chicago Beyond to add value to the partnership?