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CWIP Annual Luncheon
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Chicago Women in Philanthropy Annual Luncheon

Keynote Speaker and Making a Difference Honoree: Elizabeth Dozier, Managing Director, Chicago Beyond
Elizabeth Dozier Managing Director, Chicago Beyond A lifelong educator, Elizabeth Dozier has spent her career working tirelessly to interrupt the culture of inequity that is often pervasive in urban education. In 2008, Dozier was selected by then CEO of Chicago Public Schools, former U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, to participate in a bold strategy for improving Chicago’s lowest performing schools, known as the Turnaround Model. Dozier joined the team as co-principal at Chicago’s first turnaround high school, while simultaneously developing the instructional strategy and framework for future turnaround schools. Dozier later became the principal at Christian Fenger Academy High School, which at the time was known as one of the most violent and underperforming schools in the city of Chicago. Under Dozier’s leadership, Fenger experienced a decrease in its dropout rate from 19% to 2%, a 40% increase in Freshmen On-Track to graduate, and double digit increases in attendance and the school’s state graduation rate. During Dozier’s tenure from 2008-2015, Fenger became one of the district leaders in restorative justice, social and emotional learning and academic interventions.

In 2016, Dozier led the launch of Chicago Beyond, a privately held organization that seeks to create opportunity and access for Chicago’s young people. Chicago Beyond invests in and analyzes new, innovative ideas and scalable programs to address two urgent issues that are flip sides of the same coin – youth violence and educational attainment. Over time, Chicago Beyond aims to leverage its findings to spark further public and philanthropic investments in work that does the most good per dollar to improve the lives of Chicago’s young people.

Dozier’s work has been featured in Paul Tough’s NY Times best-selling book, How Children Succeed and Harvard Education Press’ Belonging and Becoming: The Power of Social Emotional Learning in High Schools. Ebony magazine named Dozier one of 2014’s “Power 100” and CNN followed her work as a part of its 8-episode docu-series, Chicagoland. Dozier and the story of Fenger have been highlighted by Education Week, National Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, Nightly News with Brian Williams and several other local and international media outlets. Dozier has been invited to speak about her work at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, as well as numerous other public and business institutions.

A Nationally Board Certified Teacher in mathematics and graduate of the New Leaders program, Dozier holds a bachelor’s degree in Business as well as a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Dozier is most known for her innovative and creative approaches to successfully addressing the complex needs of the whole child. She is inspired by the potential and promise that lies within every child.

Notes and Review from the 2017 CWIP Annual Luncheon provided by Anne Zender
“Build Bridges and Throw Down Ropes”

“When women wake, mountains move,” is one of Elizabeth Dozier’s favorite quotes. Dozier, Chicago Women in Philanthropy’s Making a Difference honoree, cited that quote during her keynote speech at CWIP’s Annual Luncheon on March 2. 

Dozier is managing director of Chicago Beyond, a privately held organization that seeks to create opportunity and access for Chicago’s young people. The group invests in and analyzes ideas and programs to address youth violence and educational attainment. 

Dozier is a former Fenger Academy High School Principal who was featured on the 2014 CNN documentary series “Chicagoland.” She told the story of a student who was shot in the head during her time at Fenger. From that experience, she learned “to realize that every moment is precious, we never know when people will be there and when they won’t…Treat people with dignity, humanity, decency, even when it is hard.”

She said Chicago Beyond is particularly interested in organizations that “are getting to the very core of what we are trying to disrupt.” The CWIP luncheon featured a performance by Changing Voices, a program that serves court-involved juveniles and young adults. In 2016, Changing Voices was one of three winners in Chicago Beyond’s first-ever innovation challenge. 

Dozier urged her listeners to “look more to see the potential in those who exist on the perimeters of Chicago. How are we building bridges and throwing down ropes?” She urged the audience to “see people not as caterpillars but as butterflies. It is incumbent that we unleash that ability within ourselves.” 

“Our collective liberation is bound together one to another,” Dozier said. “We are all connected. You can believe you can’t change the things you don’t like, but the day you see that for a lie is the day your world opens up.” 

The luncheon also featured remarks by Lindrea Reynolds, mentee participant in CWIP’s Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program and marketing manager for After School Matters, and Sandra Abrevaya, president and chief impact officer at Thrive Chicago, a citywide collective impact initiative.

Click here to see pictures from this year's Annual Luncheon


In the years past, the following prestigious women have been honored for their contribution to philanthropy in Chicago:

    • 2015 - Dr. Melissa Gilliam, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Pediatrics and Chief of Family Planning at the University of Chicago, 2015
    • 2014 - Julia Stasch, Vice President of U.S. Programs, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
    • 2013 - Maria S. Pesqueira, President & CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, 2013
    • 2012 - Aurie Pennick, Executive Director and Treasure of the Field Foundation of Illinois, 2012
    • 2010 - Adele Simmons, Metropolis 
    • 2009 - Amina Dickerson, Kraft Foods
    • 2008 - Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company (previously President of Peoples Gas)
    • 2007 - Anna Roosevelt, Boeing Company
    • 2006 - Gigi Pritzker

Chicago Women in Philanthropy
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