Join Chicago Cares CEO Jenné Myers for a weekly podcast discussing civic engagement, corporate citizenship, and social impact.

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Episode 1: Interview with James Rudyk | Published June 15, 2020

Listen to the inaugural episode of How Chicago Cares. Host Jenné Myers interviews James Rudyk, Executive Director of the Northwest Side Housing Center, about what allyship looks like in this moment in time. As James says, “How can we use this moment and take it moving forward to re-envision a city, a community, a neighborhood that is more racially equitable. We have to use this opportunity to do exactly that. Because a lot of these small actions of small groups of people or small organizations coming together is what’s going to change the world.” Let’s get inspired to take action together!

Episode 2: Interview with Michelle Morales | Published June 22, 2020

On this week's episode of How Chicago Cares, host Jenné Myers interviews Michelle Morales, President of the Woods Fund Chicago, about how we as Chicagoans must create a "new normal" that is more equitable and vibrant for all. As Michelle says, “If you're volunteering [in a food pantry], why isn't there a question of 'Why is there a food pantry?' or 'Why does a food pantry even have to exist?' If people start asking those questions, it points back to the systems in place that create those conditions." Take a listen!

Episode 3: Interview with Pastor Chris Harris | Published June 29, 2020

Listen to host Jenné Myers as she interviews Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Community Outreach about how service must be mutual in order to be transformative. As Chicago’s nonprofit organizations look to redefine service in an era of physical distancing, Jenné speaks with Pastor Harris about what he is seeing and how we can create service opportunities that center the community’s voice. As Pastor Harris says, "I'm working locally and making sure I raise my voice vocally in my community [...] but you have to have the heart to say 'I'm not looking down on someone else.' I'm looking over to my brother and my sister.”

Episode 4: Interview with Lindsey Evans | Published July 7, 2020

Did you know that over $650 billion in federal funding is allocated nationwide based on the results of the U.S. Census? On today’s episode of How Chicago Cares, host Jenné Myers interviews Lindsey Evans from the Mayor’s Office to discuss why completing the Census is so important and how the City has pivoted its outreach efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you haven't completed the Census yet, there’s still time! Get counted at 2020Census.gov.

Episode 5: Interview with Vu Le | Published July 14, 2020

On this week's episode, host Jenné Myers interviews Vu Le of Nonprofit AF. With Vu's no-BS approach and irreverent sense of humor, the two discuss how the nonprofit sector and funders must adapt their practices and framework in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest. As Vu says, "Maybe what we need to do, instead of focusing on empathy as the only condition or the only factor in helping people, is we target justice -- which means we do what is just no matter if we can sum up enough empathy or sympathy for someone."

Episode 6: Interview with Jonathan Swain | Published July 22, 2020

This week, host Jenné Myers interviews Jonathan Swain from LINK Unlimited about what he's seeing as a leader in both the nonprofit and business sectors. They talk about how the current health and economic crises are affecting LINK scholars – and how recent unrest has impacted smaller Black-owned and Black-led businesses in the city. "We're trying to create space for [students] to think about how they're navigating issues [...] in an environment where their opinions are not policed," Jonathan says. "What we're trying to do in our programs is give opportunities for teachers and students to bring their whole selves so they know that their experience and perspective is validated."

Episode 7: Interview with Tim Russell | Published July 29, 2020

This week, host Jenné Myers interviews Tim Russell, Vice President of Community Engagement at WTTW and former Chicago Cares board member, about best practices in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and how companies must engage and compensate their Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). "Diversity is relatively simple. It's representation," says Tim. "With inclusion, there's more of a cultural piece. Are people being invited to participate at the table? And then equity seeks to ensure that there's fair treatment, there's equality of opportunity, and there's fair access and resources."

Episode 8: Interview with Adam Alonso | Published August 6, 2020

On today's episode, host Jenné Myers interviews Adam Alonso of BUILD Chicago, one of Chicago's leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organizations. Listen as Jenné and Adam discuss how BUILD is adapting its services to engage young people in the current health crisis – as well as what BUILD's street outreach workers are seeing with the recent surge in violence in our city. "For the mom who just lost her eldest son, she's in no position to be in anything other than an utter state of shock and grief," Adam says. "So where we can pitch in and provide support for the family, that's what we do. That's the work. And with everything that's happened, it just feels that much heavier."

Episode 9: Interview with Vaughn Bryant | Published August 10, 2020

This week, host Jenné Myers interviews Vaughn Bryant of Metropolitan Peace Initiatives (MPI), a division of Metropolitan Family Services that works in partnership with community-based and citywide organizations to coordinate, support, and sustain services designed to heal communities that have experienced the highest levels of gun violence. Listen as the two discuss the work his team is doing in response to the public health crisis that is gun violence -- and how Chicago organizations are adapting their outreach programming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We're a rich city. Rich in resources," says Vaughn. "But we have to create the conditions for everyone to be able to access them -- and everybody's got to be on board with moving in the right direction. [...] We have the most alignment we've ever had with the state, the city, and the county in terms of investing in these areas, and I just think we have to respond."

Episode 10: Interview with Maria Kim | Published August 17, 2020

What makes someone or something essential? On this episode of How Chicago Cares, Jenné Myers connects with Maria Kim of Cara Chicago, a Chicago-based social enterprise that reconnects people experiencing poverty with hope, jobs, and opportunity. Jenné and Maria discuss essential employees as the core of our workforce, including Maria's recent op-ed and the role of trauma-informed workplaces in our "new normal" during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I wonder if we're getting the language twisted," Maria says. "I wonder if when we say 'Oh, these are essential workers or essential services,' we lose the thread. We forget that people are always essential. If we can recognize the essential humanity in each of us and see the talent in the people who have kept us as a country glued together and cleaned, fed, and safe, then maybe we will newly recognize what talent we have in this country."