Organization: Chicago Beyond

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About Chicago Beyond:

Chicago Beyond exists to create equity for those most left behind youth living in Chicago’s most economically fragile communities and beyond. Launched in 2016, Chicago Beyond has invested more than $20 million in nonprofit organizations. Beyond the dollars, Chicago Beyond recognizes the importance of serving as a strategic partner to help grow their impact.

Chicago Beyond strives to identify the most disruptive community-born and led organizations that address two issues it sees as the flip sides of the same coin—educational attainment and youth safety.  It partners with organizations by investing in them, learning from them, and, most importantly, strategically supporting the growth of the organizations’ impact.

Since its inception, Chicago Beyond has launched several challenges. In its inaugural GO Innovate Challenge, it provided investments totaling $2.7 million to three organizations, Genesys Works Chicago, Dovetail Project and Storycatchers Theatre.  A key part of Chicago Beyond’s investments includes a research partnership with institutions such as UC Berkeley, Drexel University, University of Chicago Urban Labs to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs.

For more information about Chicago Beyond, please read below:

Chicago Tribune – Chicago Beyond announces winners of first innovation investments

Inside Philanthropy – New Venture Fund on a Niche Mission for At-Risk Youth

FOX News – Chicago nonprofit helps youth make more thoughtful life choices

To visit the Chicago Beyond website, please click here.

The Opportunity:

Chicago Beyond is seeking an entrepreneurial leader to lead the Innovation Team. This is an opportunity to build and develop one of the most critical components of Chicago Beyond’s investment process – the mechanism to identify innovative ideas, approaches and programs in education and youth safety.

The Head of Innovation’s primary responsibilities will include:

  • Understand the challenges, the needs and the solutions that exist in the communities Chicago Beyond serves;
  • Capitalize on each team member’s knowledge and other resources in youth safety and education to inform the investment process and overall work;
  • Identify potential ideas, approaches, programs and/or organizations through a mechanism and build out its pipeline of potential investment partners; and
  • Represent Chicago Beyond externally with national, local and community stakeholders.

In addition, as a key member of the Chicago Beyond team, s/he will have the unique opportunity to shape the overall strategy and direction of the organization in a start-up environment.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, characteristics and skills:

Passion for the Mission

Fully embracing the mission of Chicago Beyond, this leader will have a strong understanding of the full potential, power and impact of investing in, learning from, and helping grow organizations to create positive, transformative change in the lives of the least served youth in Chicago. With strong self-awareness, s/he will be a committed team player to working in partnership with his/her colleagues to shape and advance the overall investment strategy and direction of Chicago Beyond in powerful new ways. Driven by the challenges, the needs and the solutions that exist in the communities, s/he will investigate ideas and programs that challenge the status quo and bring them to the attention of the Chicago Beyond team.

Entrepreneurial Spirit  

Embodying an entrepreneurial spirit, the ideal candidate will have a proven record of leading a team to turn ideas into effective execution with little or no direction. S/he will demonstrate the ability to shift seamlessly between high-level strategy and execution work and be comfortable navigating through complexity and ambiguity while setting priorities for the team and leading team members to complete projects on time. With good judgment, grit and technical skills, s/he will be adept at analyzing and solving problems in new ways. S/he will engage with others to test ideas and find opportunities for continuous improvement and making course corrections as needed, taking appropriate risks and sharing lessons learned along the way.


The Head of Innovation will be skilled at leading a team to design a strategy and build the processes to identify and curate potential ideas, approaches, programs and/or organizations that have the potential to create positive, transformative change. An expert in the issues, trends and public policies in youth safety and education, s/he will also excel in accessing new resources and tapping networks and capitalizing on each team member’s knowledge to inform Chicago Beyond’s work. S/he will have the ability to earn the trust of the communities for meaningful knowledge exchange and information gathering and use those insights to drive decision-making.


A natural relationship builder and ambassador, this leader will believe deeply in building and nurturing a robust network of relationships to foster collaboration. S/he will bring outstanding written and oral communication and presentation skills to effectively articulate and convey the organization’s mission and its impact to a range of external partners to inspire action. With a high degree of emotional intelligence, s/he will foster a positive environment for participation and innovation with other colleagues at all levels to realize the Chicago Beyond model and achieve its full potential.

Candidates can come from a variety of backgrounds. Experiences in education/youth safety issue areas, community work/organizing and public policy work would be desirable.

Launched in April 2016, Chicago Beyond is a fast-moving start-up organization made up of a small but ambitious team looking to make a difference for the young people of Chicago. If you are an entrepreneurial individual looking to a join a dynamic team with significant opportunity to grow and shape what you do while making a meaningful impact on Chicago’s youth, then this will be a perfect role for you!


Anne McCarthy of Koya Leadership Partners has been retained for this search. Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven clients. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email Anne directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential