Three years into a commitment to the Brighton Park neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side, Mesirow Financial is proud of its work in the community and the impact the organization has made.
In November, Mesirow Chairman and CEO Richard Price sat down with leadership from Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and United Way, along with four Parent Mentors.
“It was made very clear that our impact and ability to move the needle alongside United Way for the past three years has been a marriage of the funding and hands-on volunteerism,” said Price. “Just one approach or the other cannot have the same impact– we need to put in our time and our resources to maximize the benefits to the neighborhood.”
Mesirow Financial helps fund the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council's Parent Mentor program, which places neighborhood parents in classrooms.
In 2016, a total of 52 parents – up from 45 last school year – work in classrooms throughout Brighton Park, assisting teachers and students, and effectively bringing the average classroom ratio down from 30 students to one adult, to 10 students to one adult.
Mesirow employees have contributed close to 2,900 hours of volunteerism in Brighton Park since 2013 – through school beautification projects, in-depth conversations with parent mentors, and twice-monthly mentoring kids from Brighton Park's Shields Middle School.
That’s more than 2.5 hours each day for the past three years.
In 2012, Mesirow Financial saw the need to augment the firm’s giving by focusing on one topic in which it could move the needle by uniting employees behind a cause. Through conversations with business leaders, other corporations and civic leadership, the issue of public education rose to the top. The implementation strategy: to partner with one organization that could leverage the firm’s passion, effort and funding across a neighborhood to build up an entire community.
Partnered with United Way, Mesirow Financial was brought into the newly established Neighborhood Network plan, making regional impact through coordinated neighborhood solutions. United Way’s Neighborhood Network initiative partners with close to 200 best-in-class human service agencies to drive change in ten neighborhoods, addressing education, income, health and basic needs.
In United Way’s first partner neighborhood, Brighton Park, the goal is focused on public education: raise graduation rates at Kelly High School to 90 percent by 2020.
To follow Mesirow Financial’s continued commitment in the neighborhood, please visit our Community Relations page and be sure to follow us on social media.