The Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Institute DREAM. DARE. DO. Symposium on Women, Philanthropy, and Civil Society will feature a compilation of women from a wide variety of nonprofits and “focus more on the ‘why’ than the ‘how-to’” in making giving a central tenet in the United States. Zeroing in on the way that philanthropy has changed, the symposium will feature a number of Chicago’s best and brightest women from across the nonprofit spectrum. Get to know them here before you see them in person March 14-15 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.
Jessica Droste Yagan
Yagan is the CEO of Impact Engine, a venture fund that invests in for-profit tech businesses in their early stages. Impact Engine focuses on businesses that are working to improve education, health, economic empowerment and resource efficiency. Before her work at Impact Engine, Yagan worked with strategic planning and corporate social responsibility, including inner-city economic development. Yagan scored a spot on Crain’s 40-Under-40 list in 2013 and has also served as a 2014 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.
Linda Post Bushkofsky
Bushofsky is the executive director of Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), where she has worked for more than a decade. Prior to her experience with ELCA, Bushofsky had a successful career as a lawyer and has also worked as a teacher, an administrator, a writer and an editor. She is currently working toward a certificate in Ministry as Writing at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana.
Afriyie is the co-founder and executive director of mRelief, a nonprofit responsible for building a user-friendly web tool that connects low-income families with vital social services such as food stamps. mRelief is already on track to help more than 100,000 families this year. Afriyie comes from a strong background of digital engagement — she was a marketing associate for Google (where she co-produced Oprah’s first Google+ Hangout) and was also responsible for former President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union Hangout.
Jung is the co-founder and CEO of Rumi Spice, a for-profit company that imports saffron from Afghan farmers. Rumi Spice looks to give farmers an alternative to the opium market by giving them access to different products and hopes to eventually use this foundation to attain peace in Afghanistan. After serving in the military in Afghanistan, Jung went to business school and decided to return to the country — this time as an entrepreneur. What started out as a door-to-door sales business has transformed into a nation-wide business model that accounts for 5 percent of Afghanistan’s total saffron production — plus the hiring of 60 female farmers who are paid direct wages.
Ratner is the founder of Open Books and the co-founder of the Chicago Literary Alliance. After years of working with massively successful for-profit startups, Ratner pivoted to her current cause of literacy. Open Books is a nonprofit that funds annual programs for 5,000 students through sales of donated books in two award-winning stores. Three years after Open Books, she co-founded the Chicago Literary Alliance, which is a group of organizations that help meet literacy needs for people of all ages and backgrounds.
McWhorter is a WPI Council member and the co-chair of DREAM. DARE. DO. McWhorter also serves as the CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Center of Chicago. In her work with YWCA, she has pushed the organization to the digital age and pushed for partnerships, rather than just donations. McWhorter has been profiled by the Chicago Tribune and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Chicago Business Leader of Color Honoree, Diversity MBA magazine’s top 100 under 50 executive leaders and the Illinois CAP society’s outstanding leadership in advancing diversity award — to name a few.
To see all of these women and more speak at the symposium, buy your tickets here.