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.
THE ALBERT PICK, JR. FUND STAFF
Please contact Alexis Allegra with any questions about grant funding, administration, or reporting.
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.
HEATHER D. PARISH
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.
Grants & Operations Administrator
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Shelley Davis’s story is one of purpose, passion, perseverance and the deep-seated belief that together, we can craft a more equitable and compassionate world. Her purpose is enabling access and opportunity to stabilize families and communities, which drives her dedication to helping individuals enter, grow and sustain their place in the middle class. Shelley’s career of more than 25 years of non-profit and philanthropic sector leadership began in crisis intervention counseling and policy advocacy. Her graduate studies at the University of Illinois Chicago, combined with pivotal fellowships and roles at The Field Foundation, The Ford Foundation and The Joyce Foundation, shaped her into an effective and impactful grantmaker. These experiences instilled in her a profound respect for the privilege of stewarding resources to uplift communities, laying the groundwork for her future leadership roles. Her tenure as Vice President at the Chicago Foundation for Women and as the inaugural Executive Director of the Forest Preserve Foundation exemplifies her dedication to the community, to issues that affect all women, and to creating inclusive spaces for all families. Most recently, Shelley served as President and CEO of The Coleman Foundation, a foundation with more than 200 million in assets focused on entrepreneurship, health, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Shelley led a team to develop a strategic plan that gave $10 Million annually. Shelley's civic engagements, including her role as Board chair of the Albert Pick Jr. Fund and as a Trustee for Lawrence University, as well as a decade as an Illinois Commissioner of Juvenile Justice, further illustrate her commitment to societal betterment. Shelley has been recognized with the UIC Jim Marek Alumni Appreciation Award, as a Top Philanthropist by Better Media Group, and by Crain’s Chicago Business to the 2022 Notable Black Leaders and Executives and Who’s Who 2023 and 2024 lists. Importantly, Shelley keeps herself healthy by biking, swimming, and studying yoga, and enjoys taking long walks and traveling. Shelley lives in Bronzeville with her husband and two teenage children.
SHELLEY A. DAVIS
NIKKI WILL STEIN
From 1989 to 2012, Nikki Will Stein was the Executive Director of the Polk Bros. Foundation in Chicago, IL. She was the first staff person hired after the Foundation separated from the Polk Bros. stores. At her retirement, the Foundation’s assets were over $400 million and its grant distributions had grown from $2.5 to more than $20 million a year. Prior to the Foundation, Nikki was the studio manager of her husband’s commercial photography studio from 1982-89 and from 1970-82, she was the administrator of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. In 2016, Nikki joined the board of the Albert Pick, Jr. Fund. She currently serves as vice-president of the Pick Fund and is its representative on the Illinois Immigration Funder Collaborative. Professional activities: Past chair of the board of the Donors Forum of Chicago (now Forefront); Co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Fund for Immigrants and Refugees; has participated on the steering committees of many funding collaborations, including the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods, Arts Work Fund, Fund for Educational Reform, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education and the Partnership for Quality Childcare. Civic participation: Past board president of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs; long-time board member of the Public Interest Law Initiative, St. Leonard’s Ministries and the JCUA. Awards: 1994 recipient of the Professional Grantor Award of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Fundraising Executives (now Association of Fundraising Professionals); 2001 recipient of the Cambodian Association of Illinois’ Ox Cart Award; 2005 honoree of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs; 2007 recipient of the Arthur Morgan Award from Antioch College; 2009 recipient of the Roger Baldwin Award from the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU; and with Fred Stein in 2014, inaugural recipient of the Studs Terkel Uplifting Voices Award of Chicago’s Community Media Workshop (now Public Narrative). Education: Antioch College and Hyde Park High School Personal: Married to Fred Stein, mother of Max Stein and Benjamin Stein and grandmother of Sophie, Zoe, Molly and Madelyn Stein; life-long resident of Chicago.
As National Managing Director of Bernstein’s Foundation and Institutional Advisory team, Clare and her team drive business strategy, thought leadership, and implementation of comprehensive investment management for foundations and other tax-exempt institutions. As a leader of the firm, she serves as a member of AB’s global Corporate Responsibility Advisory Council, a faculty member for firmwide advisor and associate training, and I am the past chair of Bernstein’s Central Region Diversity Champions Council. A frequent public speaker and writer, she also hosts “Inspired Investing,” a podcast dedicated to nonprofit and philanthropic financial health and best practices. Clare joined Bernstein in 2010 as a financial advisor, and was promoted to Principal in 2016, Managing Director in 2018, and Senior Vice President in 2019. Prior to joining the firm, she led the institutional practice for a leading community development financial institution. She earned her BA, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, her MA from The University of Chicago, and she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. She’s served on numerous boards and finance committees and currently acts as Treasurer for the Albert Pick, Jr. Fund. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and a couple of very spoiled pets in Oak Park, IL.
During most of her career at Chicago State University (CSU), Dr. Lindsey served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), a position from which she retired in 2011. In 1976, she began teaching educational psychology and child and adolescent development in the Department of Psychology where she was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of professor. From 2017 to 2018, Dr. Lindsey returned to CSU to serve as Interim President. Dr. Lindsey’s research focused primarily on the social development of preschool children. Additional projects included the study of minority children in private schools, the evaluation of various Head Start programs and the evaluation of reform projects in the Chicago Public Schools. Dr. Lindsey also led several projects focusing on teacher preparation, violence reduction, and social service. For almost 20 years, Dr. Lindsey was the administrative and educational leader for the CAS, the largest college at CSU. The college offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. While dean, the Gwendolyn Brooks Center was founded under the impetus of Professor Haki Madhubuti. Although retired from CSU, she continues to serve on the CSU Gwendolyn Brooks Advisory Board. Although she recently stepped down as board chair, she continues to serve on the board of Black Oaks Center for Sustainable and Renewable Living, a peri-urban farm located in the historically African-American farming community of Pembroke, Illinois about 60 miles south of Chicago. Since 2017, she has served on the The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund board and currently serves as Board Secretary. Dr. Lindsey received the B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan, and the M.A. and Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Chicago.
Verónica Cortez is the associate director of policy for Erikson Institute’s Policy and Leadership Department. She examines the efficacy of existing local and state early childhood policies and serves as a thought partner with other stakeholders, generating strategies and proposing solutions to advance policy and systems change. She co-facilitates the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows program. Cortez previously led the early childhood policy and advocacy work at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. She also worked at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Midwest office, doing both litigation and advocacy works in the areas of employment, education, voting, and immigrant rights. She earned her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law and has a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and Hispanic studies from Brown University.
Ahmadou Dramé was promoted to Director of the Illinois Justice Project (ILJP) in June 2023 after serving as Program Director for two years. Throughout his career, he has used his advocacy skills to empower communities impacted by mass incarceration, to call attention to the injustices of the criminal legal system, and to advance initiatives that eliminate permanent punishments and reduce society’s reliance on the criminal legal system as a response to socioeconomic and racial disparities. Ahmadou was an instrumental member of the award-winning Just Housing Coalition, which eliminated barriers to housing for returning residents in Cook County by securing the passage of the Just Housing Ordinance. He directed a program that provided “Know Your Rights” trainings to incarcerated people inside state prisons. He was Co-Chair of the Chicago Mayor’s Reentry Working Group, which created the city’s first Director of Reentry position and more than $50 million for housing and services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he directed a reentry housing pilot program that served 120 households. He is a 2023 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Ahmadou earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public administration from DePaul University. Ahmadou recently married his wife, Tyree.
Anna Lee is United Way of Metro Chicago’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. In this role, Anna works with community leaders, public sector partners, donors, and academic institutions in innovative efforts to build a stronger region. Anna holds a deep understanding of United Way’s core work as she co-managed and served as The Chicago Community Trust’s point person on the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, a partnership between the two organizations, which raised over $35 million to support the region’s residents most in need of support amid the COVID-19 crisis. Prior to United Way, Anna was at The Chicago Community Trust as a Senior Director of Community Impact. She led The Trust’s Addressing Critical Needs strategy, which included change-making efforts in building pathways to stability, promoting well-being, and strengthening social cohesion. Under Anna’s direction, this grantmaking strategy responded to the region’s most urgent needs and advanced policies and practices in strengthening the human service sector. Before her time at The Trust, Anna was the Director of Operations for Year Up Chicago, leading strategic planning efforts and overseeing day-to-day operations for the organization. She also held leadership roles in the public sector, including the Director of Research, Reporting & Communications and, later, the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Management at the Chicago Housing Authority. Anna also directed the contracting process at the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services and oversaw community development grants at the City’s Office of Budget and Management’s Empowerment Zone. Anna earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Boston College and master’s degrees in divinity and public policy, both from the University of Chicago. Anna is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and serves on the boards of Forefront and Disability Lead. Anna is a proud daughter of Korean immigrants. She enjoys exploring and learning from cities, especially her beloved Chicago. She resides in the West Ridge neighborhood with her family.
Alberto Morales’ experiences as an LGBT, first-generation college graduate and son of Mexican immigrants are the reason his north star points toward equity. Alberto brings a proven track record with racial equity facilitation, strategic planning, grantmaking, capacity-building, program evaluation and project management. Most recently, Alberto worked for the Cristo Rey Network’s School Growth office launching new schools across the country. Previously, Alberto worked for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation where he supported the stewardship of multimillion dollar grants across the early childhood, middle school, high school, and post-secondary public education sectors. He created a racial equity disparities report that led to a prioritized focus on the South Side of Chicago for the foundation’s $40M+ annual portfolio. He also managed relationships with the sports partners, Chicago Bulls, White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Blackhawks, and assisted them in developing, implementing, and evaluating over $2.5M grant strategies. Alberto also co-developed the Heartland Alliance Chicago Community Data Portal, a free online dashboard that curates data sets from leading sources in one portal, offering neighborhood snapshots of economic opportunity, education, and health and wellness. Alberto began his career in higher education as Assistant Director of the Georgetown Scholars Program, a nationally recognized model, empowering over 600 first-generation students. Alberto holds a B.Sc. in Health Care Management and Policy from Georgetown University and a Master of Public Affairs from Brown University, where he was selected as commencement speaker. He is on the Auxiliary Board for the National Museum of Mexican Art. He is a previous fellow with the Surge Institute, World Economic Forum, New Leaders Council, Hispanics in Philanthropy, and Aspen Institute. He is also a 2020 recipient of Chicago Scholars "35 under 35" award that recognizes "a group of talented young professionals making an impact in Chicago." Alberto is also the Co-chair of Nuestro Futuro, an initiative of the Chicago Community Trust that awards grants to nonprofits serving the Latinx community. Alberto also sits on the Executive Board of the Albert Pick Jr. Fund.
Investment, Financial & Audit Committee Members
The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund is lucky to have two professionals lending their financial expertise as ad hoc members of the Investment, Financial and Audit Committee of the Board.
Laura Glick is the Chief Investment Officer for the Spencer Foundation and is responsible for the management of the organization’s $600MM endowment. In addition, she serves as a member of the retirement committee for the foundation. Based in Chicago, the Spencer Foundation funds transformative education research. Previously, she held senior level positions in the Goldman Sachs Investment Management Division, JP Morgan Chase Private Bank, and the Wells Fargo Private Bank. Laura is a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Finance Committee for BellXcel, a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving education for all youth. Laura also serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Industrial & Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan, the Endowment Committee for the Winnetka Community House, and Client Advisory Boards at Northern Trust and TIAA. She earned her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a M.S.E. and B.S.E. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering.
Elva Gonzalez is Healthy Community Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer and oversees all financial and accounting work for the organization. She has over 20 years experience in financial management in the not-for-profit and private sectors. These roles include Principal at Arenas Accounting Services LLC, a full-service accounting firm with strength in preparation of financial statements, tax returns, and schedules to support financial reports to various local non-profit boards. Elva provided continuity and stability to a number of firms going through transitions as an ‘outsourced’ CFO. Prior to launching her own accounting firm, she held various leadership roles at Motorola, Inc. From traveling the world as a senior auditor, visiting most, if not all offices worldwide, Elva’s career grew with more responsibility leading to her last role as the global accounting and finance manager of the Chief Technology Office with responsibility for approximately 700 employees and over $140M in annual expense budget. Elva is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois Chicago.