The Builders’ Board of Skender Foundation, comprised of young professionals, hosted its annual fundraiser, Harvesting Hope, on October 20 at House of Blues Chicago. This year’s charity partner and beneficiary was Embarc, a nonprofit three-year program that provides experience-based learning opportunities to low-income high school students. More than 300 people attended the event and raised $25,000, which will enable Embarc to continue to inspire and prepare their students for college and career success.
Embarc is the nation’s only teacher-led experiential program, founded in 2010 by teachers Imran Khan and January Miller at West Englewood’s Harper High School. From a pilot of just 100 students, Embarc has quickly grown into a highly-demanded, social and cultural education program projected to serve more than 700 students in the 2016-2017 school year in 14 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high schools throughout the city. Embarc’s theory of change is simple: you can only become what you can see. Rather than addressing the achievement gap by simply driving academic skills, Embarc innovatively aims to close the achievement gap by addressing non-cognitive skills, sparking a passion and perseverance for long-term goals, and teaching students the action steps it takes to achieve those goals.
"Embarc’s students, teachers, team and volunteers are incredibly honored by Skender Foundation’s support," says Imran Khan, CEO & Co-Founder of Embarc. "The Builders’ Board worked tirelessly to pull off an incredible event. The dollars raised at Harvesting Hope will bring a full year of Embarc’s award-winning program to a class of 25 CPS high school students this school year, providing transformative experiences around the city coupled with a curriculum that drives their academic, postsecondary and life success."
"We are thrilled with the success of this year’s Harvesting Hope," says Harvesting Hope Co-Chair, Brian Sanchez. "Embarc was a very inspirational organization to work with and we were moved by its mission from day one. Thanks to the generosity of this year’s sponsors and attendees, Embarc will hopefully be able to expand their student base and increase the number of cultural programs and outings."
In past years, Harvesting Hope highlighted Foundations of Music, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Emergency Needs Fund, Common Threads and Urban Initiatives, all local charities promoting wellness and education.