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About

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Overview

Since 1916, the Chicago Urban League—through collaborative community, corporate and civic relationships—has helped people find jobs, secure affordable housing, enhance their educational experiences, and grow their businesses. We are passionate advocates for educational equality, economic development and social justice. We believe that a strong African American community makes a stronger, better Chicago.

Read our Annual Reports

Our Strategies

Ensuring access to quality education that prepares individuals to become lifelong learners and to be competitive and successful in the global economy.

Preparing individuals for work at all levels in an ever-changing economy, developing engaged citizens, and building strong families.

Supporting community-based investment and growth through facilitating entrepreneurship, business development, and home and real estate ownership.

Advocating for policies and programs that ensure equal participation by African Americans in the economic and social mainstream.

 

 

Partners

The Chicago Urban League is grateful to all of our partners and sponsors who help us provide opportunities that make an impact in our community.

Executive Staff

Barbara Lumpkin
Barbara Lumpkin

Interim President and CEO

Barbara A. Lumpkin was named Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Urban League in June 2018. She oversees strategic planning, development, community outreach and programming for the organization, which includes departments focused on workforce development, housing, entrepreneurship, youth education, leadership development, and research and advocacy.

Before joining the League, Lumpkin founded Lumpkin Strategies, LLC, a boutique business affairs firm. Lumpkin previously served as Deputy CEO and Executive Director for External Partnerships at Chicago Public Schools, where she was responsible for leading efforts to garner cash and in-kind support for the third-largest school district in the nation.

Lumpkin also served as Comptroller, Budget Director, Special Assistant to the Mayor, City Treasurer and Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Chicago. She was the first woman appointed City Comptroller and the first African-American woman to serve as City Treasurer for Chicago.

She has also held positions with several financial institutions. She was Senior Vice President and Director of Public and Government Strategic Business Affairs at Northern Trust Bank; Senior Vice President, Department Head – Corporate Trust and Agency Services at Amalgamated Bank of Chicago; and Vice President, Human Resources, Personal Financial Services, Corporate Trust and Agency Services at Bank of America (formerly known as Continental Bank).

Lumpkin has served on numerous Chicago-area civic and charitable boards.

Calmetta Coleman
Calmetta Coleman

Senior Vice President of External Affairs

Calmetta Coleman is Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Chicago Urban League. She oversees the External Affairs team and is responsible for the organization’s marketing, communications and brand strategy. As a member of the executive leadership team, she contributes to strategic planning, with the goal of advancing the organization’s position with all relevant constituents.  
 
Prior to joining the Chicago Urban League in October 2017, Calmetta served as Director of Communications for Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago, developing and executing communication strategies to increase awareness of the university's impact through civic engagement and serving as a spokeswoman on community and civic issues. 
 
Calmetta was also previously Senior Vice President, Director of Editorial Services and Corporate Media at Ketchum, a global public relations agency. In that role, she provided thought-leadership communication, broad editorial support, strategic media relations counsel and media training for Ketchum clients across a range of industries.  
 
Other previous roles include Vice President, Senior Communications Manager for JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Vice President, Media Relations Manager for Bank One. She began her career as a national business journalist, serving as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal from 1995 to 2002.

Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, Ph.D.
Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, Ph.D.

Vice President, Executive Director of the Research and Policy Center

Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, Pd.D., is Vice President and Executive Director of the Research and Policy Center at the Chicago Urban League. In this role, Bechteler oversees all external research and advocacy activities for the League, and is responsible for aligning Chicago Urban League’s policy, advocacy and government affairs agenda with the vision, mission and strategic goals of the organization. She also oversees the League’s “Race and Equity Initiative,” designed to help the League engage in thoughtful, informed discussions on race, structural racism and racial equity for African Americans.

Bechteler has more than 15 years of experience in research and policy. Prior to joining the Chicago Urban League in 2013, she was the Associate Director of Research and Policy for the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University. During her time at Roosevelt University, she examined the role of Illinois drug policies in the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans and promoted public health approaches to reduce substance use and overdose deaths.

Bechteler received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in 2006 and her Ph.D. in social work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois in 2015. She is a current member of the American Evaluation Association, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and the Society for Social Work and Research.

Diane Heffner
Diane Heffner

Vice President, Human Resources

Diane Heffner is Vice President of Human Resources at the Chicago Urban League. She is responsible for developing human resources programs and strategies that assist directors and managers in optimizing their contributions to the organization’s performance.

Prior to joining the Chicago Urban League in 2017, she was president of HR Coach 4 Success, where she provided career coaching and consulting services to executive-level and hourly employees. She also previously held positions in human resources for three major retailers, Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Home Depot, where she led district and regional level teams.

Mavis Laing
Mavis Laing

Vice President, Executive Director of the IMPACT Leadership Development Program

Mavis Laing is Vice President and Executive Director of the IMPACT Leadership Development Program at the Chicago Urban League.  She is accountable for directing all phases of the program, including program design and implementation, as well as coordinating and overseeing the daily operations.



Laing previously served as the chief operating officer of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, where she was responsible for managing more than 100 staff members supporting a wide range of operational functions. Her staff’s functions included management of 86,000 girl and 24,000 adult members who reported into seven local offices, cookie and retail product sales, and summer camp programs. 


Laing began her work in the nonprofit sector as Vice President of Volunteer Services for the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society in Chicago.  She serves on the board of the Primo Center for Women and Children and the advisory council of the Latino Policy Forum and is also a member of the Chicago Chapter of The Links, Inc., and the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Lawrence Witry
Lawrence Witry

Vice President, Finance and Technology

Lawrence Witry leads the accounting and finance team and oversees technology for the Chicago Urban League. Witry joined the League in 2007 controller and has more than three decades of diverse accounting experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. He previously served as Director of Finance for the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, as Director of Accounting and Disbursement for Mount Sinai Hospital, and as Director of Finance for LaRabida Children’s Hospital.

Lawrence is a native Chicagoan who received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from DePaul University.

Margaret Wooten
Margaret Wooten

Vice President, Housing and Financial Empowerment

Margaret Wooten manages the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Urban League's Housing and Financial Empowerment Center. She is responsible for providing a comprehensive array of housing counseling tools, which include foreclosure counseling, pre-foreclosure counseling, First-Time Homebuyers Educational Workshops, pre- and post-purchase counseling, as well as Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counseling and Reverse Mortgage counseling for senior citizens.

Wooten is a certified housing counselor through the American Homeowner Education and Counseling Training Institute, (AHECTI) as well as the NeighborWorks Training Institute for HUD.

Prior to joining the Chicago Urban League, Wooten served as a social worker for the Department of Public Welfare’s General Assistance Program in East Orange, N.J., managing the day-to-day operations of Substance Abuse Cases, Nursing Homes Cases and Pre-Natal Cases.

She was also previously employed as a Paralegal for the law firm of Franklin and Crutcher in Chicago, where she was responsible for the landlord/tenant court call and the file review of buyers and sellers for real estate property transactions.

Wooten received her formal education from Chicago State University.

Auxiliaries

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Overview

In addition to our broad community of donors and collaborators, the Chicago Urban League is supported by three auxiliaries that help to expand our impact. These auxiliaries are intergenerational and promote activities in line with the League’s mission. They work to develop civic leaders within our network of supporters, and they provide thousands of volunteer service hours to the community.

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The Leaguers

The mission of The Leaguers of the Chicago Urban League—established in 1955 by Muriel Ibom—is to assist with Chicago Urban League’s fundraising efforts; perpetuate the Urban League’s policies and programs; increase awareness and community interest in the Urban League’s work; acquaint Chicagoans with the challenges that the League addresses; and solicit memberships and volunteers for Urban League activities. Join our efforts to empower communities and change lives by contacting Shapell Smith, president of The Leaguers, at snikko10@sbcglobal.net.

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Women's Board

The Women's Board was founded in 1966 by Dr. Arnita Young Boswell, the sister of Whitney M. Young, Jr., executive director of the National Urban League from 1961 until 1971. The auxiliary’s primary focus is to raise funds for scholarships in Whitney M. Young, Jr.’s name. The auxiliary is a group of philanthropic women who believe that “to whom much is given, much is required.” Women’s Board members play an active role in advancing the growth of the Chicago Urban League through direct service and fundraising.

“Our members believe that all things are possible when one is given support and the tools to succeed. By providing scholarships to students and supporting them along their educational journey, we are providing them the opportunity to gain the skills needed to be independent, critical thinkers, and productive citizens, says president, Jasmine E. Guy.”

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Metropolitan Board

The mission of the Metropolitan Board - founded in 1983 by John Rogers and James Compton - is to identify and develop the leadership potential of African American young professionals in Chicago. This award-winning group of young leaders provides service to the community and supports the mission of our organization. Join our efforts to engage the next generation of Chicago leaders by contacting membership@metroboard.org or www.metroboard.org.

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