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A New Year’s Message From Spark’s Executive Director

  |   Board of Directors, chicago, non-profit, nonprofit, spark ventures, zambia


Friends of Spark,



This year has created so many challenges for our partners but has also provided opportunities for growth, creative ways to interact, and new ways to stay connected. We find ourselves in a position of reflection and gratitude as we say goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021 with hope and optimism.



One thing we know to be true is that our partner organizations would not be in the strong position they are in today without our amazing group of Spark supporters. We entered this pandemic with a lot of uncertainty and are approaching the New Year feeling grateful and proud of the incredible work our partners have done to support their communities. With your support this year, we have:


Protected Vulnerable Communities


​Spark provided additional emergency funding to each of our partners, most of which was used for PPE and extra supplies of food as many were driven deeper into poverty and faced serious food insecurity due to loss of income, supply chain disruptions, and price gouging. Together, our partners provided over 2,500 masks, 10,000 bars of soap, and over 45,000 meals to help protect their vulnerable communities.


Expanded Our Impact


We were thrilled to expand our impact in 2020 through a local partnership with I Grow Chicago. We’re so inspired by the work they’re doing and honored to support their “Born to Thrive” program. This program is providing educational support for remote-learning for forty of Englewood’s most vulnerable children and teens. They are receiving technology and internet access, school supplies, social-emotional support, peer-to-peer activities, meals & snacks, transportation, and advocacy to help them overcome the barriers to virtual learning that are disproportionately affecting children in their neighborhood.


Empowered Future Leaders


Together, we provided uninterrupted funding to continue educating and feeding children, paying salaries of dedicated teachers, supporting women entrepreneurs, and providing mental & physical healthcare while schools and centers were closed.



All of Spark’s partners are on the front lines helping their communities during this health and economic crisis. We know that we’re only as strong and healthy as the most vulnerable among us. Thank you for partnering with us throughout this unprecedented year and for offering hope to those who are struggling the most. We continue to be inspired and motivated by your generosity and kindness.


Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year,
Kristin Schrepferman, Executive Director