Spark Chicago has served over 1,000 Chicago Public Schools students since launching in fall 2011.  We have grown from a cohort of 63 students across four schools to serving 350 students across 12 schools in the 2015-2016 school year.  Please click here to watch a short Today Show piece on the program.

With the support of our Corporate Champions, regional Executive and Advisory Board members, foundation and individual supporters, Spark Chicago is on pace to serve thousands of Chicago middle school students from our most underserved communities and ensure they know all the rich resources Chicago has to offer.

Achieving scale will have a real and meaningful impact on the city of Chicago.  Spark is a proven intervention in getting students on-track in the key areas of attendance, behavior, and grades as they make the transition into high school. Here in Chicago, 95% of Spark students finish 8th grade on track to graduate high school on time as compared to 71% district-wide.

Spark's Corporate Champions invest their time, talent, and resources to support the program. Our 2015-2016 Corporate Champions include: Capgemini, CareerBuilder, CEB, Chapman and Cutler LLP, Deloitte, GEM Realty, Google, Groupon, IBM, KPMG, Olson, PepsiCo, Tyson, and West Monroe Partners.

Join us in providing a “spark” to Chicago youth by mentoring, donating, or partnering with Spark.


Support Spark Chicago

Spark Chicago is seeking growth investors to help us achieve scale. To invest in Spark Chicago:

1. Make a donation on our website or send a check to our office at 223 W. Jackson Blvd, Suite 520 Chicago, IL 60606 and submit a corporate match to double or triple your impact
2. Serve on the Chicago Executive Board 
3. Learn more about how your foundation can work with Spark 
4. Join the Corporate Champions Program: click here to learn more, or email Anna-Claire Whitehead for specific information 
5. Become a Spark Ambassador at your company 

Contact Spark Chicago

Executive Director:
Kathleen St. Louis Caliento, Ph.D.

Corporate Partner and Development Inquiries:
Anna-Claire Whitehead, Director of External Relations

School Partner and Program Inquiries:
Natalie Bookey Baker, Managing Director

Mentor & Volunteer Inquiries:
J.D. Van Slyke, Volunteer Manager

General Inquiries:

Call: 312-470-4300
Visit: 223 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 520, Chicago, IL 60606

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Spark’s mission is to provide life-changing apprenticeships to youth in underserved communities across the United States. Spark, a national nonprofit with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, offers a unique program that re-engages middle school students in their education through hands-on apprenticeships and a Leadership Curriculum. Spark partners with schools and workplaces in cities coast-to-coast to match underserved 7th and 8th graders with mentors working in career fields aligned with the students’ strengths and interests. Spark’s parallel in-school curriculum reinforces the link between classrooms and careers while helping students build skills necessary for success in high school and beyond. After creating and supporting thousands of apprenticeships since 2004, the results are clear: Spark students consistently gain confidence, key skills, and positive relationships, and have a graduation rate above the national average.

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