Client Stories

Stories of transformation and success from our client partners. 

“We had much more comfort working in the racial equity space.”

I was stuck deciding how to engage in a new area of racial equity work — where and how to begin, and where to focus. I felt unprepared, nervous, and was afraid that I’d make mistakes.

Working with Bold Ventures, we had much more comfort working in the racial equity space and had clarity on how we wanted to lean into the space and where to focus.

Bold Ventures helped us understand how and where to best focus our efforts. They really listened to our individual interests and passions, and helped channel those into focus areas for the Foundation.
Beth Ganz
Executive Director
Katz Amsterdam Foundation

“I felt confident that I had enlisted people who could tackle a challenging task.”

I was overwhelmed with coordinating a strategy plan process with multiple stakeholders.

When I partnered with Bold Ventures, I felt confident that I had enlisted people who could tackle a challenging task.

We are still in the process of gathering information, but Jessyca's team is on top of all tasks and is on track.

The team has a breadth of knowledge and expertise, can work with multiple stakeholders and are adept at a range of projects. I really enjoy working with this team!
Anna Laubach
Director, Public Safety Portfolio and Special Initiatives
Robert R. McCormick Foundation

“Bold Ventures are trusted and valued partners in our work.”

I was trying to figure out how to support grassroots leaders through a process of collaboratively writing a powerful call for racial equity in philanthropy.

While inspiring, the challenge of helping a group find alignment and shared voice is a daunting task.

Bold Ventures was a trusted and insightful partner for the Chicago Peace Fellows that guided an open, creative, and authentic conversation that led to real alignment and powerful insights.

Bold Ventures are trusted and valued partners in our work.
Travis Rejman
Executive Director
Goldin Institute

“With Bold Ventures, I had a partner with whom to create.”

I was anxious and trying to prioritize the time to develop and launch our program.

With Bold Ventures, I had a partner with whom to create, and a relationship of mutual accountability to see our vision through.

We completed a pilot cohort of 13 participants who became more familiar with how individual biases manifested in their philanthropy.

If you are committed to thoughtful results and meaningful impact, partner with Bold Ventures to achieve your vision.
Eli Marsh
Director of Social and Community Impact
Chicago Foundation for Women

“Any time I tell someone that Bold Ventures is my consultant, people seem to respect me even more.”

I was a team of one, with little collaboration and feedback. I felt lonely at times, and was often questioning my decisions.

After working with Bold Ventures, I felt more confident about the direction our foundation was going, the path I was on, and I felt supported by a team who was not only educated, informed and knowledgeable, but who cared.

We made many new individual grant decisions from $1k to $150K. We changed our strategy to be more community driven, focusing on relationships and trust, and we gained a much clearer vision and purpose.

Bold Ventures knows the landscape, knows the players, and knows the issues. If they don't know something, they'll learn about it and get back to you. The team at Bold is available and approachable, and also honest and genuine.
Kelsey Malnati Howell
Executive Director 
Marc & Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation

Case Studies

Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation

The Client
The Marc & Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation (MFF) invests with community partners working in Chicago to promote peacebuilding, mental wellness, education, and workforce development.
The Work
Preparing a family foundation to become an effective large-scale grantmaker 

As the next generation of the family prepared to move into a leadership role, MFF sought support to redefine the foundation's mission, vision, and values as well as build relationships with new grantee partners. The NextGen leader sought out Bold Ventures because of our ability to scale and pace our support and services in line with the foundation’s growing ambitions. We began by helping the foundation refresh its strategic priorities and narrow the focus of its giving to increase impact. Once those changes were in place, the foundation's leader expressed a desire to build a stronger knowledge base in areas of potential investment and to learn more about effective philanthropic practices. Together we devised a learning plan and Bold Ventures developed materials and operational guidance to support the foundation improve its grantmaking practices.
The Results
Our work has built the confidence of its leader to give in the areas about which they are most passionate. By engaging with the right partners, experts, and networks, they have been able to amplify the impact of their giving and move forward with a more sophisticated operational plan that will help the foundation make a lasting difference.

Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities

The Client
The Chicago Fund, a project of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities was created in 2016 in response to a spike in violence that drew national attention to the problem of gun violence in Chicago and spurred action to reduce it. Supported by several major foundations, the rapid response fund has continued for seven consecutive years providing $6.7 million in support of 824 projects in communities experiencing high rates of gun violence.
The Work
Helping donors raise awareness of opportunities to advance local gun violence prevention efforts through evaluation and public communication

The leaders of the Chicago Fund came to Bold Ventures for our analytical skills and the relationships that we hold with community organizations engaged in violence prevention efforts. We have worked with the Chicago Fund annually to analyze and report on the totality of its community investments; learn from community stakeholders about the impact of these efforts to build trust and safety; and assist in raising awareness of the opportunity build a stronger network of community organizations engaged in efforts to combat violence amongst peer funders and the broader Chicago community.
The Results
The Chicago Fund has partnered with us to produce reports in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Bold Ventures' work helped the fund to build momentum for the continuation of this important funding opportunity.

Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation

The Client
Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) has a single vision: that every child in Illinois grows up healthy. Working through grantee partners across the state, ICHF focuses its grantmaking on identifying and funding solutions to the barriers that prevent children from accessing the ongoing health care they need, with a primary focus on children’s oral health and children’s mental health.
The Work
Equipping a foundation to advance equity through grantmaking practices After a multiyear equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) journey that culminated with a new strategic plan ICHF sought the support of Bold Ventures to audit and provide actionable steps for the foundation to advance EDI through its grantmaking practices. ICHF came to Bold Ventures knowing that it has experience working with private foundations to move them from strategy to actions that will create meaningful change. Bold Ventures harnessed ICHF's values of collaboration and shared learning to engage community stakeholders, grantees, and the foundation's board to audit its current grantmaking practices. The resulting audit and practical recommendations supported the foundation to center approaches that engender greater equity, trust, and transparency in its future grantmaking and enhance its goal to improve the health and wellness of children in Illinois.
The Results
Through this engagement Bold Ventures was able to provide resources to aid the foundation's continued learning about EDI, and investigate the landscape of opportunities for equitable practices that would allow the foundation to make grants with intention and confidence. Additionally, Bold Ventures served as a thought partner and guide to the foundation's staff as they learned about EDI informed approaches to grantmaking, foundation relationships, and platforms. At the close of this engagement ICHF had action oriented insights and recommendations for implementing grantmaking practices that will support the foundation to advance equitable and inclusive outcomes for the partners and communities it serves, consistent with its mission and values.

Katz Amsterdam Foundation

The Client
The Katz Amsterdam Foundation (KAF), is a family foundation which strives to be catalyst for eliminating barriers to mental and behavioral health, increase access to opportunity, and improve outcomes for all.
The Work
Supporting a family foundation to launch new programs that center racial equity With the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide uprisings resulting from the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other innocent Black people in 2020, an increased awareness grew among leaders of the public, private and philanthropic sectors of the need to confront the impact of their contributions to systemic racism; driving a resulting urgency to address the burden of historic divestment, underinvestment and exclusion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in their strategies. In this moment, the Katz Amsterdam Foundation (KAF), sought to expand the focus of its giving to include racially equitable strategies. But, with limited staff capacity and at the beginning of their own racial equity journey KAF knew it needed external guidance. KAF identified Bold Ventures to help both family and foundation staff better understand the broad landscape of strategies for addressing racial inequities and to identify the most promising areas where its investments could make an impact. Ultimately, family and staff were supported to align their passion for improving access to mental and behavioral health and their long standing commitment to civic engagement to create two new funding programs that center BIPOC communities.
The Results
Bold Ventures worked closely with the family and foundation staff to identify areas of passion, to elevate personal values that could guide these new investments and source specific investment opportunities based on a landscape analysis and recommended priorities. Following the success of this initial effort, Bold Ventures has remained a long term partner to KAF, supporting the growth of the foundation through hiring, developing additional programs areas, and serving as a thought partner and coach to the foundation's executive director.

Goldin Institute

The Client
The Goldin Institute inspires, equips and connects grassroots leaders who help their communities build on their strengths and collaborate to determine their own future. Among their global programs, a Chicago-based program, the Mutual Aid Collaborative (the Collaborative) is made up of 60 Black and Brown leaders and committed allies who live and work in the communities they serve on the South and West sides. Member of the Collaborative practice a liberatory model of shared leadership, accountability, collaborative decision-making and collective action.
The Work
Issuing a call for for “right relations” between philanthropy and community based organizations The Collaborative consists of several active projects that are currently providing resources to communities in need. The Collaborative sought Bold Ventures support because our commitment to influence the philanthropic sector, challenge its current practices, and effect change. Through partnership with the 60 member the Collaborative and a series of deeply personal and reflective conversation about the experiences of members with current philanthropic partnerships we supported the Collaborative to develop a funders pledge calling for “right relations” between philanthropy and community based organizations.
The Results
This project is providing a new framework for how funding could be informed by racial justice and equity and has received broad attention from the media, including important articles in the Chicago Sun Times and Crain's Chicago Business.
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