Axelson-side.ashxAccion Chicago was awarded the Alford-Axelson Award on June 22, 2015.

Six organizations were named finalists for the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence, an award that honors Chicago-area nonprofit organizations who exemplify outstanding managerial excellence in fulfillment of their missions. This year’s finalists are Accion Chicago, After School Matters, By the Hand Club for Kids, Interfaith House, Marwen, and Teen Living Programs.

“The Alford-Axelson Award recognizes the nonprofit organizations who set an example of outstanding nonprofit management practices and, through these practices, strengthen the nonprofit sector as a whole,” said Pier Rogers, Director of the Axelson Center. “A strong organizational infrastructure supports nonprofit organizations in their ability to deliver excellent programs. In selecting the annual winner for this award, the Alford-Axelson Award review committee seeks to bring greater attention to these internal strengths that make all the difference in nonprofit organizational sustainability.”

This Year’s Finalists

Accion Chicago believes in fair and equal access to economic resources so that entrepreneurs can achieve their full financial potential. Through customized business support including financial management and general business strategy, credit repair counseling, and small business loans, Accion helps entrepreneurs in underserved groups achieve financial security, grow their businesses, create jobs and stabilize their communities. Since 1994, Accion has made nearly 3,800 small business loans in Illinois and Northwest Indiana totaling $30 million.

After School Matters (ASM) provides Chicago public high school teens opportunities to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college, and beyond. ASM partners with community-based organizations, cultural institutions and independent instructors to provide Chicago teens with hands-on, project-based apprenticeships in the arts, communication, science, sports and technology. In 2014, ASM served more than 14,000 students across 2016 community sites and 75 Chicago Public Schools.

By the Hand Club for Kids is a Christ-centered, intensive and comprehensive after-school program serving Cabrini Green, Altgeld Gardens, Austin and Englewood that nurtures children—their mind, body, and soul—to position them for academic and personal success. Participants in By the Hand receive wraparound services including the support of a dedicated literacy team, homework assistance, healthy snacks and meals, mental health counseling, drug and sexual abstinence training, and enrichment activities. Special programs—the Club for Big Kids and the Club for College Kids—address the needs of high school and college age students.

Interfaith House (IFH) provides a healing environment and resources to help ill and injured homeless adults restore their health, rebuild their lives and regain self-sufficiency. The organization’s Assessment-Respite Program offers assistance for those completing their medical recovery, providing support for social and psychological issues and successful relocation into permanent housing. The Health and Housing Outreach Team provides continuing support for IFH clients who are living independently, and the Employment Project helps them develop job and job search skills and helps them find employment.

Marwen educates and inspires underserved young people through the visual arts, and fulfills a defined need for excellent art education for all students, regardless of background or income level. Marwen achieves their mission through three key program areas: Studio Programs offer after-school, weekend and summer classes in the arts; College and Career Programs prepares students for higher education and career experiences in the arts; and The Marwen Institute offers professional development opportunities for the organization’s teaching artists.

Teen Living Programs (TLP) builds community, hope and opportunity for youth who are homeless. For nearly 40 years, TLP has offered comprehensive, year-round services specifically for youth who are homeless that includes emergency needs and housing to education, job readiness, and whole health services. Through this outcome-driven programming, more than 75% of TLP’s residential clients will finish high school, complete career training, and secure employment.

About the Axelson Center
The Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University is the source for informative and engaging nonprofit professional development in the Chicago region. Through regular workshops, a BootCamp for new nonprofit CEOs, customized trainings and an annual conference, the Axelson Center delivers a superior educational experience for nonprofit managers, leaders and frontline staff, covering a vast array of topics from program evaluation to strategic planning, and communications to financial management. The valuable information presented through these programs enhances the impact of both the nonprofit sector and its professional staff. Visit for more information, including a full schedule of upcoming events.