Announcing Our 2020 Cohort: Leaders for a New Chicago

By June 16, 2020June 4th, 2021Field News


11 Local Leaders awarded for groundbreaking work

CHICAGO – The Field Foundation, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, today announced the 2020 Leaders for a New Chicago cohort. The leadership awards are part of Field’s ongoing investment in racial justice visionaries and organizations addressing systemic issues in Chicago’s divested communities. The MacArthur Foundation committed $2.1 million to support the awards to recognize and support diverse leaders from communities affected by Chicago’s history of structural racism, discrimination, and disinvestment.

The 11 leaders in three categories — Media & Storytelling, Justice, and Art — reach across boundaries to find new ways, new stories, and new ideas that propel Chicago toward its full potential, said Angelique Power, president of the Field Foundation of Chicago.

“This award recognizes power. These visionaries are changing the game across the city and we need them now more than ever,” Power said. “Each leader will receive a $25,000 cash award in recognition of past accomplishments, and their affiliated organizations will each receive an additional $25,000 general operating grant.”

“We are committed to reflecting, serving, and amplifying the voices of leaders from across Chicago, with an emphasis on communities that are historically underrepresented in civic discourse,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “When the Leaders for a New Chicago are included in city- or sector-wide discussions, their community-based expertise and experience can help inform the decisions that shape our city.”



Dorothy Burge, Co-founder and Activist, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
One of the strongest voices in Chicago for police accountability and reparations for survivors of police torture, Burge amplifies the voices of survivors and of activists in the movement. Burge and others designed a curriculum for Chicago Public Schools to expose students to the history of and battle against police violence and successfully advocated for the grandchildren of torture survivors to be recipients of free tuition at Chicago community colleges.

Hoda Katebi, Founder & Organizer, Blue Tin Production Co-op
Katebi created a fashion house that brings together those who have historically been most marginalized in this industry — working-class women of color — to collectively profit from the work they create. As an activist and community organizer and part of campaigns to end surveillance programs and police militarization, Katebi brings an arts-based approach to systems change.

Ryan Keesling, Executive Director, Free Write Arts & Literacy
Keesling has worked in locked facilities such as the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and in the community with criminalized youth and young adults for two decades. Keesling has developed highly effective, healing-centered methodologies for engaging incarcerated youth in arts and literacy programming. He cultivates the leadership of criminalized youth and amplifies their stories through publishing, exhibition and multidisciplinary art practices.

Faheem Majeed, Co-Director, The Floating Museum
Majeed flips the idea of museums on its head, moving a museum outdoors, on the Chicago River, floating through the city. Through a commitment to collective leadership, Majeed has developed a long history within the South Side community, the citywide arts community and of working in community-based art organizations.

Elijah McKinnon, Co-founder and Director of Development, Reunion Chicago
McKinnon is an award-winning strategist, creative director, entrepreneur, artist and advocate for queer history, queer artmaking, and queer practices in Chicago. McKinnon co-creates an art gallery, event space, and project incubator located in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood for marginalized communities and narratives.

Jackie Taylor, Founder & CEO, Black Ensemble Theater
Taylor founded, directed, and for 45 years has led the only African American theater in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse Uptown community on Chicago’s North Side. Taylor makes racial equity primary in her mission and is committed to Chicago as a cultural hub for theater and for the arts in general.


Juliet de Jesus Alejandre, Executive Director, Logan Square Neighborhood Assoc.
Alejandre developed a strong racial justice framework that centers Latinx youth from the community in actions, policy conversations, and strategy meetings. Alejandre has a commitment to long-term problem solving in Logan Square through community-driven solutions and coalition building at the local, city, state and national levels.

Asiaha Butler, Executive Director, Resident Association of Greater Englewood
Butler is a key community strategist and one of the most recognized and powerful voices in the Englewood community. She uses education, youth development, economic development, and civic empowerment to uplift, inspire, and change perceptions of the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.

Sharlyn Grace, Executive Director, Chicago Community Bond Fund
Sharlyn Grace’s work provides direct resources and organizing efforts to end people being jailed simply because they are poor. The use of money bonds has decreased by over 50 percent thanks to pressure from litigation and community organizing led by CCBF and her leadership. Through Grace’s coalition building efforts, eliminating money bond is now a statewide issue. She is a lifelong organizer who uses her legal skills, credentials, and access in support of grassroots movements for social change.


Stephanie Manriquez, Executive Producer & Educator, National Museum of Mexican Art
A trusted voice in the Chicago radio community, Manriquez trains and mentors her community members in their pursuit of access to the equipment, networks, and ecosystems that allow their voices to be shared. Manriquez is the force behind a fast-growing ecology of young Latinx radio talent in Chicago.

Tiffany Walden, Co-founder & Editor-in-Chief, The TRiiBE
As co-founder and editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE, Tiffany Walden has impressively built a news organization that has become a vital piece of Chicago’s media landscape and a voice for black Chicago. As a reporter, editor, media visionary, and fierce advocate for systemic change, Walden shifts the sensational coverage black communities receive and is determined to bring voices out of neighborhoods.

“These leaders are changing the city and will be key in leading it to new places post-COVID, Power said. “Watch them. Listen to them. They are incredible visionaries we are honored to support. They work in various ways, but they all share a love of Chicago.”

About the Field Foundation
Founded in 1940 by Marshall Field III, the Field Foundation is a private, independent foundation that has been dedicated to the promise of Chicago for more than 80 years. The Field Foundation aims its grantmaking toward the goal of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art, Media & Storytelling and Leadership Investment. With racial equity at the center of its giving, it directs dollars to critical organizations working to address systemic issues in Chicago and aims to directly benefit some of our city’s most divested communities. Learn more at

About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. MacArthur supports Chicago nonprofits, leaders and communities by strengthening organizations, contributing to civic partnerships, investing in vital communities, advancing influential and diverse leaders and cultivating creative expression and art. Learn more at

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