Excellent Emerging Organization Award for Nonprofits

Lead the Way: Creating Organizational Excellence

Finalists represent Chicago arts, music and girl empowerment organizations

CHICAGO (May 5, 2015) — DanceWorks Chicago, GirlForward, and Intonation Music Workshop have been selected as finalists for the Excellent Emerging Organization Award, an annual honor presented to a young nonprofit serving the Chicago region whose potential for growth and impact is high.

“These finalists demonstrate that nonprofit management excellence is not limited to organizations with large budgets and long histories” said Pier Rogers, Director of the Axelson Center. “Financially sustainable practices, sound management, clear visions and strategic plans for future success are a fundamental part of any nonprofit organization. “When organizations are small and earlier in their development, focusing not only on program development but also on developing the internal strength of the organization can make a tremendous difference in achieving excellence and sustainability in the long term.”

Winners for both the Excellent Emerging Organization Award and the Alford-Axelson Award will be announced at the luncheon at the Annual Symposium for Nonprofit Professionals and Volunteers, June 22, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. This one day conference offers professional development and networking opportunities for nonprofit leaders. Learn more and register for the Symposium.

This Year's Finalists

DanceWorks Chicago helps new professional dancers and choreographers build a foundation in their early careers by offering a laboratory for training, collaboration, mentorship and performance. Through classes, events and performances, DanceWorks fills a niche in the dance ecosystem, supporting and actively cultivating new talent and showcasing exciting work from established choreographers. In its most recent complete season, DanceWorks held almost 90 events, reaching more than 14,000 people in Chicago and beyond.

GirlForward creates strong, empowered and confident girls who will become tomorrow’s independent women, successfully supporting themselves, their families and their communities. The organization works specifically with adolescent refugee girls and provides them with individual mentorship, educational programs and leadership opportunities, creating a community of support that serves as a resource and a source of empowerment. Specific programs include the Mentorship Program, which pairs high school girls with one-on-one mentors to achieve short and long-term goals related to Wellness, Wisdom, Wallet and the World; Camp GirlForward, an academic and social justice-based curriculum that builds critical literacy skills and confidence; and the Safe Spaces Project, providing after-school tutoring, workshops and access to educational technology.

Intonation Music Workshop empowers children to become rock stars on every stage of life through innovative music education. Through three types of programming—school and community-based band programs, direct enrollment electives and one-day clinics and workshops—Intonation works with youth ages 6-17 in Chicago to channel their love of music into a valuable skill set and an opportunity to express their creativity. In 2013-14, Intonation served almost 700 students, comprising 51 pop bands across 12 city sites.

About the Axelson Center

The Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University is the source for informative and engaging nonprofit professional development in the Chicago region. Through regular workshops, a BootCamp for New Nonprofit CEOs, customized trainings and an annual conference, the Axelson Center delivers a superior educational experience for nonprofit managers, leaders and frontline staff, covering a vast array of topics from program evaluation to strategic planning, and communications to financial management. The valuable information presented through these programs enhances the impact of both the nonprofit sector and its professional staff. Visit www.northpark.edu/axelson for more information, including a full schedule of upcoming events.

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