Chicago Business Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Chicago Pledge Ongoing Support for Equitable Recovery Initiative

CHICAGO (February 25, 2021) Leaders from some of Chicago’s largest businesses and civic organizations released a letter today to reaffirm their commitment to the city and pledged to be collaborative partners with all of its stakeholders to ensure an equitable and inclusive recovery, in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust and its initiative, Together We Rise: For an Equitable and Just Recovery.

The letter, which was drafted and first circulated by Chicago-based investment firm The Vistria Group, includes signatures from nearly 60 executives representing a variety of organizations in the city’s law, nonprofit, health, consulting, and finance industries, among others.

“We believe in Chicago and the individuals who signed this letter are just a reflection of the many that are already engaged in an effort to help their community.  We’re certain more will be signing on as Chicago continues to rise,” said Kip Kirkpatrick, co-CEO of The Vistria Group. “Those represented by this letter today, as well as the many more who will be represented in the future, welcome the task and challenges that lie ahead and will be partnering with the City and The Chicago Community Trust on the initiative, Together We Rise: For an Equitable and Just Recovery. Together, we will build back in an equitable way.”

Citing racial strife, the economic downturn and ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the signatories emphasize the need for partnership amongst business, government, civic, religious, and nonprofit organizations to build a better future. Through in-kind or financial contributions, the signatories are aligned with efforts to increase employment, strengthen small business, and spur catalytic development in underdeveloped neighborhoods.

“Chicago is the greatest city in the world and that’s thanks to its people,” said Marty Nesbitt, co-CEO of The Vistria Group. “As residents and civic leaders, we are committed to partnering with our city and state leaders, our partners in the business community and our civic organizations to ensure a robust and equitable recovery. We commend Mayor Lightfoot for her steadfast leadership throughout this turbulent time.”

The letter builds on the Together We Rise: For an Equitable and Just Recovery initiative, which was announced last October to unite partners across the Chicago area to tackle the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and the deep-seated inequities amplified by the pandemic.  Led by The Chicago Community Trust, the initiative consists of three complementary parts:

-A $37 million plus philanthropic fund for making catalytic grants and investments;

-Galvanizing private-sector actors to adopt equitable business practices; and

-Identifying public policy and systems changes to achieve and sustain results that advance equity in our region.

“In this city of broad shoulders, we are inspired by the commitment of these business leaders to align their practices to advance inclusive opportunity,” said Gloria Castillo, director of the Together We Rise: For an Equitable and Just Recovery initiative at The Chicago Community Trust. “Our work to advance equitable economic growth requires partnership across philanthropy, business and communities and we look forward to working with these business leaders to reimagine our city’s future.”


Signatories of the letter as of February 24, 2021 include:

Kip Kirkpatrick Co-CEO, Senior Partner, The Vistria Group

Martin Nesbitt, Co-CEO, Senior Partner, The Vistria Group

Alan Cramb, President, Illinois Institute of Technology

Andrew Clarke, Global President, Mars Wrigley

Arnim Whisler, Principal Owner and Chairman, Chicago Red Stars

Brad Henderson, CEO, P33

Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, The Alford Group

Catherine Game, Executive Director, Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

Cheryl Howard-Neal, Principal, Engagement Group LLC

Chris Kempczinski, President and CEO, McDonald’s Corporation

Daniel Ryan, President, Central Region, JLL

Dave Casper, CEO, BMO Harris Bank

David W. Hanfland, Partner and Head of Americas, Kearney

Danny Wirtz, CEO, Chicago Blackhawks

Dean M. Harrison, President and CEO, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare

Eric Smith, Vice Chair, BMO Harris Bank

Gary Conkright, CEO, PhysIQ

George H. McCaskey, Chairman, Chicago Bears

Ghian Foreman, President and CEO, Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative

J.P. Gallagher, President and CEO, NorthShore University HealthSystem

James Coleman, Senior Managing Director, Accenture

Jeff Adkins, President and CEO, Energy BBDO

Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairman, Chicago White Sox

Joe Mansueto, Owner and Chairman, Chicago Fire Football Club

John Holmes, CEO, AAR

John Rogers, Chairman, co-CEO, CIO, Ariel Investments

Jud Snyder, Managing Partner, Chicago Office, EY

Kathy Scherer, Managing Partner, Chicago Office, Deloitte

Keith Parrott, CEO, AMITA Health

Larry Barden, Chair of the Management Committee, Sidley Austin LLP

Laura Hoey, Managing Partner, Chicago Office, Ropes & Gray LLP

Linda Imonti, Managing Principal, Chicago Office, KPMG LLP

Lisa Davidson, Vice Chairman and Chief Diversity Officer, Savills

Lori Dimun, CEO, Harris Theater for Music and Dance

Margaret Mueller, President & CEO, Executives’ Club of Chicago

Martin Cabrera Jr., CEO, Cabrera Capital Markets

Melissa Werneck, Global Chief People Officer, The Kraft Heinz Company

Mellody Hobson, President and co-CEO, Ariel Investments

Michael Albers, Director, Sales, American Airlines

Michael Alter, Principal Owner, Chicago Sky

Michael O’Grady, Chairman and CEO, Northern Trust

Michael Reinsdorf, President and COO, Chicago Bulls

Michael Sacks, Chairman and CEO, Grosvenor

Morton Schapiro, President, Northwestern University

Neill Jakobe, Head of Global Private Equity, Ropes & Gray LLP

Omar B. Lateef, Medical Center President and CEO, Rush University Medical Center

Paul Lambert, Mid West Division Executive, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; President of Chicago, Bank of America

Renee Blissett, Founder, Bliss Fit LLC

Richard Price, Chairman and CEO, Mesirow Financial

Rob Rubin, President, RSR Management Inc.

Robert Snyder, Founder & President, Innovation Elegance dba Sky Consulting, LLC

Roberto R. Herencia, Chairman and CEO, Byline Bancorp

Roger Hochschild, President and CEO, Discover Financial Services

Samuel K. Skinner, Co-Chairman of the City of Chicago Recovery Task Force, Greenberg Traurig

Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance

Teresa Wilton Harmon, Managing Partner, Chicago Office, Sidley Austin LLP

Thomas P. Fitzgerald, Chairman, Winston & Strawn LLP

Tina Sanders, CEO, Phalanx Family Services

Tom Ricketts, Executive Chairman, Chicago Cubs

Tom Shanley, MD, President and CEO, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Tricia Van Eck, Director, 6018North

Valerie Jarrett, President, The Barack Obama Foundation

Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, President, Wirtz Corporation