CHICAGO: [June 6], 2022 — The Field Foundation, in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, today announced the 2022 Leaders for a New Chicago cohort. The 10 leaderswhose work aligns with Field's grantmaking areas of Art, Justice, and Media & Storytellingexemplify the power of creativity, focus and sheer determination in serving the communities and spaces they occupy across Chicago. Since the program was launched in 2019, the MacArthur Foundation has committed a total of $4.2 million to support the award recipients, who represent areas directly impacted by the city's history of structural racism, discrimination, and disinvestment.
Now in its fourth year, the Leaders for a New Chicago awards are part of Field's ongoing investment in racial justice visionaries and organizations addressing systemic issues in underserved communities. Each leader will receive a no-strings-attached award for $25,000, and their affiliated organizations each will receive an additional $25,000 general operating grant. The intent of the awards is to recognize past accomplishments while shining a light on the leaders who will influence decision-making across Chicago.
A committee comprised of 2021 awardees, and facilitated by Field and MacArthur staff members, oversaw the process of reviewing nominations and recommending award recipients. Their selection of the 2022 leaders includes artists, advocates, educators, organizers, social change agents and storytellers. Coming from different geographic backgrounds and income levels, the leaders represent a diversity of age, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, and sexual orientation.
"The common thread across this group of dynamic individuals is their ability to lead, inspire and empower their communities," said Field Foundation Leadership Investment Program Officer analía rodríguez, who was a member of the inaugural 2019 cohort. "We look forward to bringing them together with support and resources to help advance their work and make this a city that works for everybody."
MacArthur Senior Program Officer, Chicago Commitment, Geoffrey Banks said, "We are proud to recognize these visionary leaders for their individual and collective wisdom and expertise. This is an opportunity to elevate the voices of individuals who are leaders in their communities and fields and to provide them with 'no strings attached' support, enabling the leaders to choose how to spend the funds to pursue their professional and personal goals as they continue changing the landscape of our city."
2022 LEADERS FOR A NEW CHICAGO
Kevin Iega Jeff (he/him/his) is a co-founder of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) and creative/executive director of Deeply Rooted Productions, DRDT's umbrella organization. Jeff is an accomplished dancer, award-winning choreographer, acclaimed artistic director, thought leader, teacher, and mentor for young artists. His work addresses socially relevant issues and has been featured in high-profile productions, such as Spike Lee's movie "She's Gotta Have It," The National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards, and the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Scheherazade Tillet (she/her/hers) is a co-founder and executive director of A Long Walk Home, which empowers young artists and activists to end violence against all girls and women. Tillet has dedicated her life's work to Black girls, including those who have been marginalized by society and victims of all forms of violence. Notably, she was an early vocal supporter of young women who accused R&B artist R. Kelly of assault. Tillet is nationally recognized for raising public consciousness, changing cultural narratives, and advancing research and policy.
avery r. young (he/him/his) is an award-winning artist, composer, and producer and a teaching artist with Urban Gateways, which helps youth to overcome social and economic barriers so they can access Chicago's artistic and cultural vitality. young's work focuses on social justice, equity, queer identity, and body consciousness. Through his teaching artistry, he has mentored and influenced a new generation of Chicago artists and thinkers, including Jamila Woods, Eve Ewing, Erika Esperanza- Dickerson and Xavier Ramey.
Emily Blum (she/her/hers) is executive director of Disability Lead, a Chicago-based nonprofit network that works toward fostering an equitable and inclusive society by developing power and leadership roles for people with disabilities. As a seasoned nonprofit leader and a woman who experiences a disability, her work with Disability Lead is both personal and professional. Prior to joining Disability Lead, Blum held senior positions at leading nonprofits in Chicago, including Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago Humanities Festival, and Heartland Alliance.
Antonio Gutierrez (they/them/theirs) is the strategic coordinator and co-founder of Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), an organization that defends its communities, challenges the institutions that target and dehumanize them, and builds collective power. Gutierrez uses their voice to influence the mainstream narrative that impacts them and their community. Gutierrez has helped co-found three social justice organizations in the Chicago area and has been recognized as a change agent on the Windy City Times "30 under 30" list.
Dixon Romeo (he/him/his) is the de facto leader of Not Me Wea community organization focusing on housing, organization education and mutual aid org which evolved from weekly mutual aid grocery distribution and tenant organizing in 2020. Not Me We is now fiscally sponsored by Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), of which Dixon is a member, and is active in the Obama Community Benefits Agreement Coalition, along with Not Me We. STOP's mission is to advance economic and social human rights by organizing and developing leadership among people most affected by economic and racial oppression.
Tanya Watkins (she/her/hers) is the executive director of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), a multi-issue, faith-based, social justice organization that assists residents in building power. Under her leadership, SOUL has been pivotal in the fight for police accountability and community investment in Chicago and helped pave the way for the passage of the Pretrial Fairness Act. Watkins serves on the board of directors for the BlackRoots Alliance and on the advisory board for Black Lives Matter Chicago.
Dr. Dorene P. Wiese (she/her/hers), an Ojibwe tribal member, is chief executive officer of the American Indian Association of Illinois, an urban-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming American Indian education into an experience founded in Native culture, language, and history. Wiese is a political strategist, educator, organizer, artist, media agent, and leader in the Urban American Indian movement. She is a founding member of the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative. In 1972, she became the first American Indian filmmaker in Chicago.
MEDIA & STORYTELLING
Trina Reynolds-Tyler (she/her/they/them) is director of data for Invisible Institute, whose mission is to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable. Before joining the institute in 2016, Reynolds-Tyler was an organizer, participating in a 2015 campaign calling for the firing of the off-duty police officer who killed Rekia Boyd. In 2019, Reynolds-Tyler was a human rights intern with the Human Rights Data Analysis group. She received a Master of Public Policy in 2020 from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
Irene Romulo (she/her/hers) is the development and community engagement coordinator and a co-founder of Cicero Independiente, a hyperlocal, bilingual news outlet focused on government accountability and cultural presence in Cicero. Romulo is an advocate, community organizer, and journalist from Cicero. Prior to launching Cicero Independiente in 2019, Romulo worked in abolitionist organizing with Organized Communities Against Deportations. Romulo participated in City Bureau's reporting fellowship program and was an Ida B. Wells Fellow at Type Investigations.
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 www.fieldfoundation.org .
About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 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, and nuclear risk. 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 has invested nearly $1.5 billion in more than 1,600 organizations and individuals across the Chicago regionmore than any other place in the world. The Foundation's Chicago Commitment is focused on contributing to civic partnerships, investing in vital communities, advancing influential and diverse leaders, and cultivating creative expression and art. Learn more at www.macfound.org/chicago