6th Annual Philanthropy Awards

Every child deserves a good education; a safe, loving home; and adequate health care. Every adult honestly trying to overcome difficulties and succeed in life does, too. Many Americans believe this and want to help. They pay their blessings forward by starting and supporting nonprofits that help accomplish these bold goals.

Six years ago, humbled and inspired by all of the incredible nonprofits in our community, we kicked off our annual Philanthropy Awards as a way to identify, elevate, and amplify these causes — and play matchmaker with the people who can help them succeed. It’s a virtuous circle, and one that we’re honored to facilitate. To date, the Make It Better Foundation has recognized 34 organizations for their exceptional work; at this year’s celebration, we’ll proudly add three more such causes to our growing network.

Our 2018 recipients have demonstrated excellence in the categories of Arts and Education, Human Services and Empowerment, and Social Justice. The Make It Better Foundation’s academy of judges — a vibrant community of esteemed venture philanthropists and thought leaders — selected the winners based on excellence, scalability, efficiency, leadership, and effectiveness. Not only will this year’s award recipients benefit from the invaluable support of these mentors, but they’ll also receive coverage across all Make It Better platforms, plus vital marketing training and networking opportunities.

The Make It Better Foundation most gratefully thanks our presenting sponsor Wintrust, our emcees at CBS 2 Chicago, the Kellogg Nonprofit Executive Education Team, and our generous award sponsors Robert and Joan Clifford (Arts & Education), Michael Rosengarden/Autohaus on Edens (Social Justice), and Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation in honor of pathways.org (Human Services and Empowerment).

Now for the fun part. Here, without further ado, are this year’s incredible winners (drumroll, please)…

(Click on each winner to watch an inspiring video about the organization’s powerful work.)

Accion Chicago (Social Justice)

6th Annual Philanthropy Awards: Accion Chicago

The Chicago Debate League (Arts and Education)

6th Annual Philanthropy Awards: The Chicago Debate League

Mercy Housing Lakefront (Human Services and Empowerment)

6th Annual Philanthropy Awards: Mercy Housing Lakefront

Thank you to the judges:


Macon BianucciMacon Bianucci is a student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a former intern at Make It Better, and she enjoys writing about social justice issues and politics. Macon is a longtime supporter of The Foundation For Tomorrow, a NGO in Tanzania that provides education and support for orphaned and vulnerable children.