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2021 Nonprofit Conference

The Alchemy of Change

Better Nonprofits for Better Communities

May 19, 2021

(Rescheduled from May 2020)

Hyatt Regency O’Hare Chicago

9300 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Rosemont, IL 60018

For over 20 years, Axelson Center conferences have included superb content, networking opportunities and valuable resource sharing. Join us on May 19, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare (rescheduled from May 2020). This conference will grapple with questions of both organizational and structural change, engaging the strategic and systemic realities that structure work of nonprofits in Chicago.

Originally scheduled to be announced at the 2020 conference luncheon, the Axelson Center will announce the winners of the 2020 annual nonprofit management awards —the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Excellence and the Excellent Emerging Organization Award—via social media on May 14, 2020. Finalists are listed below.


3Arts is a nonprofit organization that advocates for Chicago’s women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities who work in the performing, teaching, and visual arts. By providing cash awards, project funding, residency fellowships, professional development, and promotion, 3Arts helps artists take risks, experiment, and build momentum in their careers.

Apna Ghar

Apna Ghar provides critical, comprehensive, culturally competent services, and conducts outreach and advocacy across communities to end gender violence.

Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center

ChicagoCAC’s mission is to unite public, private and community partners to ensure the safety, health and well-being of abused children.

Communities in Schools of Chicago

The mission of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

High Jump

High Jump seeks to bring equity to education for Chicago middle school students who have exhibited ambition and potential and who are of limited economic means. We provide a positive and resource-rich environment where students receive academic enrichment, social-emotional learning, and high school counseling with the goals of sending our participants to superior college preparatory schools, ensuring their success while they are there, and enhancing their ability to gain admission to highly regarded fouryear colleges and universities.

New Moms

New Moms’ mission is to express the love of God by surrounding young moms and their children with everything they need to transform their lives.

Northern Illinois Food Bank

Leading the Northern Illinois community in solving hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships.

The Cradle

Building families through adoption. Supporting families through life’s challenges. Strengthening communities through education.

Urban Gateways

To engage young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change.

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

Girl Forward

GirlForward is a community of support dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls who have been displaced globally by conflict and persecution.

Math Circles

Creating opportunities for all children across Chicago to develop a passion for mathematics.

South Chicago Dance Theatre

The South Chicago Dance Theatre (SCDT) is a multicultural organization aiming to preserve the art of dance through quality performances and educational opportunities. The diverse repertoire of the company seamlessly fuses classical and contemporary dance styles as well as preserves historic dance work. With cultural diplomacy at the heart of the organization, the SCDT is committed to creating, performing and teaching dance on a regional, national and international platform.

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