Can any one description encompass the vastly diverse field of social innovation and community change? Whether you are interested in environmental advocacy, policy research, community organizing, or immigration law, this industry is intertwined with many other sectors. This is a field dedicated to improving human and social welfare and can be achieved by engaging at any level of society: within community, private institution, or government. With extensive experience in law, consulting, administration, social services, and policy, our alumni have all taken unique paths to further social progress. Join us and discover the incredibly varied ways to pursue and build a fulfilling career in community building and social change.
Charles Barlow, AB'12, PhD (Cantab)
Lecturer in Public Policy and Geography, The University of Chicago
Professor Barlow graduated from the College in 2012 with a degree in public policy studies. He is a Lecturer in the Public Policy Studies Program in the College and the Committee on Geographical Studies at the University. His research interests lie at the nexus of residential segregation, the politics of neighborhood transformation, and financial innovation in the housing market. During his doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge, he resided at two Chicago Housing Authority mixed-income housing developments in Bronzeville. As an activist-scholar, Professor Barlow oversees several participatory research projects with community organizations and government agencies and currently leads the research efforts for the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance's working group on Housing Choice Voucher discrimination. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Public Housing Museum and the advisory board for the University Community Service Center.
Grace Chan, AB'90, AM'90, AB'90, AM'90
Director of Development and Communications, Common Cause Illinois
Ms. Chan is currently Director of Development and Communications at Common Cause Illinois, a grassroots non-partisan government advocacy organization. She also served previously as Deputy Director at the Chinese American Service League (CASL), a comprehensive social service agency serving recent immigrants from China. Prior to CASL, she held a number of senior level positions in government, corporate, and higher education, including Chief of Staff and Deputy Director at Illinois Department of Employment Security. She and her husband, Tom McKibben, also an alumnus of UChicago, have four teenage and young adult children.
Kelly Kleiman, AB'75, JD'79, None
Principal, NFP Consulting
Ms. Kleiman helps nonprofits compose action-oriented strategic plans, develop their Boards of Directors, and build programs for using high-skills volunteers. She also helps raise money from individuals and writes powerful promotional pieces for nonprofits specializing in advocacy, arts, education, law and government, women and girls, philanthropy and social services. A lawyer educated at the University of Chicago, she served as assistant dean of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and executive director of the Chicago Children's Choir before founding NFP Consulting more than 25 years ago. She is also a freelance journalist whose work about the arts, feminism, and social justice appears in print, online and on the radio. She was a founding member of the board of directors of the University of Chicago Public Interest Program and of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits, and currently serves on the board of the League of Women Voters of Cook County.
Murray Manus, AB'75, J.D., Stanford Law School 1979; MSW, Jane Addams School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2008
Community Support Specialist, Thresholds
Mr. Manus graduated from the College in 1975 with a B.A. in sociology. He was very involved with the Undergraduate Sociology Committee and for two years was research assistant to Professor William Wilson. He then obtained his law degree from Stanford University and practiced general business law for 17 years. Subsequently he joined Equip for Equality, a disability advocacy organization, as Legislative Policy Manager working primarily in Springfield on legislation and programs in the mental health area. In 2008 he obtained his masters degree in social work from the Jane Addams School at UIC and later became a licensed clinical social worker. He then worked for 5 years with the homeless as case manager at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. Since February 2014, he has been a Community Support Specialist with Thresholds, supporting people with serious mental illness in living independently in the community.
Zena Naiditch, AM'77
President & CEO, Equip for Equality
Zena Naiditch is the President & CEO of Equip for Equality, which she founded over 30 years ago. EFE advances the human and civil rights of children and adults with disabilities through individual and systems-change litigation, independent facility monitoring and investigations of abuse and neglect, and public policy and legislative advocacy. Earlier in her career, she held positions with the Illinois General Assembly and the Office of the Governor. She has consulted with other nonprofit organizations on leadership and organizational change. She has supported activists, attorneys and government officials in other countries seeking to end discrimination and other human rights violations and attend the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee that drafted the International Treaty on the Human Rights of People with Disabilities.Zena has BA with a triple major from the University of California at Berkeley and a MA from the University of Chicago in political science.
Daniel Schnitzer, AB'07, MS'12 (CMU) PhD'14 (CMU)
Mr. Schnitzer is CEO of SparkMeter, a leading provider of smart metering systems for micro-grids and central grid utilities in developing countries. He has served as a consultant to the United Nations, the World Bank, and from 2014 to 2015, he was the Chair of the United Nations SE4All Practitioner Network Microgrid Working Group. In 2012 he was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 for energy list. He received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in the Department of Engineering & Public Policy ('14), where his research focused on energy access in developing countries. He was formerly employed by KEMA, Inc. (now DNV GL) as an energy analyst, where he worked on utility energy efficiency programs and utility-scale renewables integration. In college, he majored in physics, economics and environmental studies (AB '07) and was an active member of the ultimate frisbee team.
Unmi Song, AB'82, MBA'86
President, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
Ms. Song graduated from the College with an AB in economics, worked in Seoul, Korea with the Gold Star Company, and then returned to Chicago for an MBA at the Booth School of Business. After an intense and fun career at Citicorp Investment Bank, she decided to apply her business experience to the non-profit sector. After almost 100 informational interviews, she joined the Joyce Foundation to work on public policy issues affecting low-wage workers. She now is the President of the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation which funds arts learning, education, employment, and health in Chicago. The foundation has assets of $170 million and grants seven million dollars every year to non-profits serving low-income families in Chicago.
Matthew Stagner, AB'81, PhD'92, MPP Harvard 1983
Senior Fellow/Director, Human Services Reserach, Mathematica Policy Research
Mr. Stagner holds a BA (1981) in history and PhD (1992) in public policy studies from the College, as well as a masters from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is currently a senior fellow and director at Mathematica Policy Research in their Chicago office. He recently also served as a senior lecturer at the Harris School at UChicago. Previously, Mr. Stagner directed Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at The Urban Institute in Washington. During the 1990s, he served as director of the division of children and youth policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Stagner is an expert on child welfare, program evaluation, and research use in policy making. He directs research on teen pregnancy prevention and foster care.