THE ALBERT PICK, JR. FUND STAFF
Please contact Alexis Allegra with any questions about grant funding, administration, or reporting.
HEATHER D. PARISH
Heather D. Parish currently serves as Executive Director of The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund, which supports furthering social justice in Chicago’s under-resourced neighborhoods in the areas of Civic Activism, Culture, Education and Health and Human Services. From January 2013 – February 2022, she worked for the Pierce Family Foundation (PFF), which provides general operating and capacity building support for nonprofits that provide housing and support services for people experiencing homelessness. Heather was named Co-Executive Director of the foundation in January 2019 as part of a strategic partnership PFF entered into with the Cuore e Mani Foundation, and in 2022 she became the sole Executive Director. Prior to her work in the philanthropic sector, Heather led a full-time independent consulting practice for over 17 years, working with nonprofits and foundations engaged in housing, community development and capacity building initiatives. Her prior professional experience also includes work as a Public Finance Associate with Prudential Securities Incorporated, as a Senior Consultant with KPMG Peat Marwick’s Government Services Practice, and as a Fiscal and Policy Analyst for the California Legislative Analyst’s Office. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she specialized in Housing, Community Development and Urban Economic Development.
Since 2019, she has served as a founding board member for AMPT: Advancing Nonprofits, a trailblazing initiative that provides targeted and effective capacity building support through an anti-racism lens for small nonprofits on Chicago’s south and west sides, with priority given to those that are led by and serving Black and Latinx communities. In 2021-22, Heather served as a co-chair for Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness, a 30+ member funder collaborative. Heather currently holds memberships in the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP), Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP), the Harvard Club of Chicago and the California Alumni Association. She also serves on the following: Chicago Foundation for Women’s Advocacy Committee, Chicago Racial Justice Pooled Fund Steering Committee, Metropolitan Planning Council’s Effective Governance Committee and Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Chicago’s Leadership Advisory Committee. Previously, Heather served as a board member for the Illinois Finance Authority, the Illinois State Board of Investment and the Wieboldt Foundation.
Grants & Operations Administrator
Alexis has twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a direct service worker, program director, administrator and consultant; resulting in a broad set of nonprofit management skills. She spent much of her career moving through the leadership tract at Teen Living Programs (now Ignite), an organization on the south side of Chicago serving youth who have experienced homelessness, before leaving to start her own nonprofit consulting firm. As a consultant, Alexis has worked with numerous Chicago area nonprofits to strengthen programs, build capacity, and streamline processes and operations. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from the New School University and a Master’s certificate in Human Development from National Louis University. She has also held leadership roles with Chicago Women in Philanthropy, Chicago Scholars and the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits.
In her consulting practice, she has focused on assisting small and mid-size nonprofits build capacity through tackling various operational and programmatic challenges. She is a strategic thinker who has spent years working for and within nonprofits of all types and has a strong sense of their needs as it pertains to organizational development and can translate goals into specific initiatives.
The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund is a private, independent foundation established in 1947. While grantmaking interests and procedures have been updated over the years to reflect changing times, the Fund’s mission remains faithful to the intent of its founders, Corinne and Albert Pick, Jr.: to provide under-resourced Chicago residents with the tools they need to improve their lives. Mr. Pick was a business man who, among his other accomplishments, started Pick Hotels Corp., which eventually controlled 15 hotels. He and Mrs. Pick were avid philanthropists, serving on many boards and assisting many organizations
Today, the Fund concentrates on neighborhoods and/or people who are economically or otherwise under-resourced or who face discrimination. Chicago should be a city of hope, safety and opportunities for those who live here. We believe that people should be empowered to identify and define the problems they confront and work towards solutions. Our role is to ensure that community residents have the resources and support they need to undertake this work. Going forward, the Fund’s directors and staff aim to do our part, as a philanthropic institution, to support the growing movement around social justice and racial equity. We are asking ourselves how the Fund can do more to support the objectives of this movement. Therefore, we have begun an exploration process to review our grantmaking, Board and staff attitudes, investments and vendors with the goal of making changes over time that will be more in line with our values.
This is not an easy process with a direct path. As a field, philanthropy is considering how it can play a role in promoting social justice and racial equity. Best practices and strategies are still being developed. At the Pick Fund, we expect to encounter bumps along the way – we may make some mistakes and need to adjust our approach. Through this website, we will keep you advised of what we are doing and how our grantmaking is affected. We appreciate your patience as we work to build a better Albert Pick Jr. Fund for a better Chicago.
If you have applied before, you will note the application form has been revised to ask more specific questions about applicants’ demographics – who is served and who is in leadership roles. This is a first step to understanding who is benefiting from our grants and whether we are really reaching our target populations.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SHELLEY A. DAVIS
NIKKI WILL STEIN
MARK A. ROSENBERG