New generation of entrepreneurs and philanthropist in Chicago

Chicago has always been known as an innovative city, full of imaginative ideas related with urban planning and high education standards. Some people has called it “The City of Progress”, and probably they are right. the current generation of big plans (some already underway) are poised to leave a dramatic imprint on the city. However, besides all those urban and social projects, philanthropy has always been considered as an important aspect for the development of the city from a cultural point of view. There is a new generation of Chicago philanthropists. Below there is a list of some of young and youngish professionals whose nonprofit interests, and careers, have them doing a round of parties during the previous years.


Co-founder, SoMe Connect, Chicago. Causes “at the intersection of education and entrepreneurship” interest Mr. Shah, 31, who joined the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s E-Council three years ago; he also provides pro bono social media services to the organization. Mr. Shah worked at Deloitte before starting his own firm and now has “more free time to give back.”


Corporate community relations manager, office of the chairman, Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc., Chicago. Ms. Forman, 32, worked in public affairs, including event planning, before joining Mesirow three years ago. “I’ve been exposed to the gala scene my whole career—now I’m just on the other side of things,” she says. She’s on the associates boards of Girls on the Run and the Chicago Center for Jewish Genetics, and she is organizing the new associate board for BuildOn.


Director and corporate liaison in the office of the CEO, Ariel Investments LLC, Chicago. Ms. Duncan, 31, is stepping up her personal commitments this season. She is the president of Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Junior Board and is on its board of directors, and just joined the board of the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. She’s interested in youth education and breast cancer prevention. “My mom is a three-time survivor,” says Ms. Duncan, whose boss is John W. Rogers Jr. She also is the head varsity girls’ basketball coach at University of Chicago Laboratory School.


Financial adviser and partner, WealthCare Advisors LLC, Schaumburg. Mr. Billimoria, 32, joined the American Cancer Society Associate Board of Ambassadors in fall 2012. A financial planner and a CPA, he spent most of his 20s studying. “Now I have more free time,” he says. He volunteers at Chicago nonprofit Ladder Up as a tax adviser.

Philanthropy - Forum_kenny slaught_chicago

Image courtesy of Stars Foundation at


Senior vice president and practice lead, multi- manager solutions group, Northern Trust Corp., Chicago. “People don’t get where they are without a good support network and opportunities,” says Mr. McCareins, 37, who moved to Chicago from Connecticut three years ago. Most of his philanthropy involves at-risk youth: He’s on the E-Council of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and is a Merit School of Music trustee.


Principal, Baird Capital U.S. Private Equity Group, Chicago. “I don’t believe in what some people believe—that you make a lot of money and give later in life,” says Mr. Liao, 38. He has been a member of Goodman Theatre’s Scenemakers board since 2010 and its vice president since 2012. He’s also on the Chicago Sinfonietta Board and is a founding member of the Association of Asian American Investment Managers.


President and CEO, Spaan Tech Inc., Chicago. Philanthropy “is a good way for me to get outside of myself,” says Ms. Shah, 40. She has been on the board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, the President’s Council at the Museum of Science and Industry, the University of Chicago Laboratory School advisory board and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.


Director of government and public affairs, BP America, Chicago. Ms. Hanserd’s job takes her to major fundraisers, and the 44-year-old has personal philanthropic interests as well. Education is one. Women’s issues also are important. She joined the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago board in June and has served on the board of Annie’s Legacy, a women’s resource organization.


Senior program officer, community affairs, Northern Trust Corp., Chicago. This is the second fall gala season for Ms. Geocaris, 32, who says she enjoys both the social and professional aspects of the events. The daughter of John Geocaris, CEO of Little Lady Foods Inc. in Elk Grove Village, she has been on the board of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s Young Leaders Society as well as the nominating committee for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Education and women’s and girls’ issues are among her philanthropic interests. She has been part of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship E-Council’s Back to School, Back to Business Benefit.


Partner and national head of corporate practice, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Chicago. Career and family life have conspired to put philanthropy higher on Mr. Grossmann’s to-do list. “My kids are older, I’m more established in my career,” says Mr. Grossmann, 43. He has been on the board of Public Allies Chicago and active with the North Suburban Medical Research Junior Board (his wife co-chairs that board). Jewish causes are a philanthropic interest.



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