Monday, August 13, 2012

Partners Chicago Director Honored at Quinn Chapel's Community Role Call

In commemoration of the congregation's 165th Anniversary, Quinn Chapel AME Church held a celebratory event designated as their Community "Role Call." The ceremony served to publicly acknowledge members of Quinn's community that aided the church in becoming the strong social pillar it is today. Gianfranco Grande, Director of Partners Chicago office and VP of Philanthropy, was one of the honorees distinguished at this event.

Quinn Chapel AME's colorful sanctuary.
Founded in 1847, Quinn Chapel has a rich and deep history. From serving as a station for the Underground Railroad to hosting renowned speakers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington, and a handful of US presidents, Quinn has played an instrumental role in the spiritual well-being and cultural history of Chicago.

Partners VP of Philanthropy was in good company at Quinn's Role Call with other recipients including Senator Mattie Hunter, Alderpeople Pat Dowell & Bob Fioretti, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Treasurer for the City of Chicago Stephanie D. Neely. Partners Chicago would like to extend their congratulations to Quinn for its outstanding 165 years of history and to Gianfranco Grande for his recognition at this historic event.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gianfranco Grande Graced With AIA Illinois Award

This past April, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois convened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield for their annual awards presentation. Out of a pool of 140 nominations 20 awards were presented, recognizing achievements in both design and service to the architectural community of Illinois. Partners Chicago is pleased to announce that Gianfranco Grande, Partners’ VP of Philanthropy and Director of the Chicago Regional Office, was the recipient of the Richard Nickel Award.

The award finalists are selected by an AIA-appointed jury who judge the nominees in accordance with AIA’s Principles for Livable Communities. The 10 principles emphasize urban and environmental preservation, transportation and building variety, human use, and design flexibility and excellence. The Richard Nickel Award specifically recognizes an, “individual non-architect who has shown their dedication to the principles of livable communities through grassroots or independent initiatives.”

Gianfranco Grande posing with AIA Illinois 2012 President Mary Brush, AIA

Gianfranco Grande’s commendation came with little surprise to those who have worked alongside him since he opened the Partners Chicago Office in 2008. Since its inception, the organization has worked with over 400 historic churches and synagogues across Illinois and has launched numerous workshops, trainings, and programs. Grande, who personally oversees these projects, continues to work tirelessly to expand the office’s public outreach. In 2010, his efforts resulted in a Chicago Landmarks Preservation Excellence Award.

The Partners Chicago Office has certainly kept itself busy since it opened its doors. The New Dollars/New Partners training, a capacity building program that aims to equip congregations with the tools to restore their historic buildings, is in its 6th year and claims over 80 graduates. The Chicago Office also hosts numerous workshops each month covering various topics related to historic preservation, including: starting a 501(c)3, energy conservation, stained glass maintenance, and legal compliance issues for congregations. In addition to faith and lay leader trainings, Partners Chicago also conducts many educational, arts, and policy related programming (including the Halo Effect Project and Arts in Sacred Places Training).

Gianfranco Grande can be found at the heart of these initiatives, ensuring that Partners reaches the many vibrant and diverse communities across Chicago and Illinois. His work is integral to the success of the organization and we at the Chicago office offer him our sincere congratulations for his recognition with the Richard Nickel Award.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Team member

Hello Partners!

My name is Joan Ogwumike and I am very excited to be the newest intern working for Partners. When I found the internship I knew I needed the position. I was ready for the challenges, the extensive research and thinking of ideas that could bring valuable outcomes for the organization and its purpose.
Now that I have started, I was right in predicting the position and how my tasks would vary. But with a smile, I progress. I feel ready for everything this summer internship will bring. I know the experience will be very rewarding as I compose a brief for aldermen and local officials on the value of Sacred Places, conduct interviews, and push my strong writing and research skills wherever it is needed.
As a Chicagoan and senior in college, I am also a daughter, friend, great listener and hard worker to those who best know me. In May 2013 I will be graduating as someone aspiring to be a policy maker, and heading into graduate school.
On  my spare time, I try not have spare time. I enjoy staying busy. Since I live at school during the semester, I am either working on homework, at work, or being active with friends. When I'm in Chicago I spend a lot of time watching movies with my sisters, enjoying the city, and going with friends.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Arts in Sacred Places Orientation - Huge Success!

On Tuesday, April 17th the United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple was alive with energy. James Parlor was full to the brim with over 110 artists, art foundation representatives, and individuals associated with 30 of the city’s congregations. Everyone present had arrived for Partners Art in Sacred Places (AiSP) Orientation, a four-hour long event designed to inform and demonstrate the possibility of creating lasting homes for the Arts in Chicago’s many sacred places.

A shot of Chicago Temple's beautifully illuminated steeple.

The event was coordinated by Partners Chicago’s own Dawn Marie Galtieri, Executive/Artistic Director from Voice of the City, and could not have achieved such success without the help of Chicago Artist Resource, DCASE, Illinois Arts Alliance, Illinois Arts Council, and the League of Chicago Theatres. Members of Partners national leadership team were present and two national trainers, Elizabeth Terry and DeAmon Harges, led exercises in defining mission and tools for successful collaborations.

The orientation gave a brief overview of Partners as a national organization and the diverse work it is involved in across the country. The results from the Arts in Sacred Places Research and Study conducted in Philadelphia were shared and an update was given regarding the two AiSP Chicago Pilot Communities, Logan Square and South Chicago. Partners Chicago’s AiSP program will be expanding city-wide this year, building partnerships between many of the city’s artists and faith communities.

Some of Partners Chicago’s participants shared their own personal accounts of building meaningful partnerships. Their stories served to highlight AiSP’s approach, which utilizes a best practices model that is focused on the assets all individuals and groups can bring to the table, whether they offer a sacred space or a unique vision. It is the aim of the two training modules (the first of which will be held Tuesday, June 26th from 9AM – 4PM) to prepare all parties by critically thinking about their space or vision and to thoroughly understand the values and assets they can bring to an AiSP partnership. The modules also focus on equipping candidates with the tools necessary for great collaborations, such as active listening, space-sharing exercises, and having a well-defined mission.

The orientation ended with a Q & A and a discussion about the next steps. The AiSP program is conducted in two phases, with the first emphasizing training, building the foundations of a successful partnership, and lease facilitation. Phase two is focused on sustaining these partnerships with shared management programs. Applications for the first training module are due Thursday, May 31st. The program is spaced over many months, and Chicago is still in the very nascent stages of this exciting roll-out.

The Arts in Sacred Places Orientation was a huge success! Many participants stayed late to chat with fellow artists or faith leaders and to further cultivate their own blossoming partnerships. Partners Chicago was very happy to see everyone who turned out and looks forward to developing relationships with you as the Arts in Sacred Places program becomes more deeply rooted in the city. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Intern Introduction

Hello Partners!

My name is Allison Savage and I am Partners Chicago’s newest intern! This summer I’ll be diving headfirst into the Chicago Halo Effect study, doing everything from helping with house of worship interviews, conducting methodological research, and perhaps even working on policy recommendation. I’ll also be spending some time with the Arts in Sacred Places project as it builds momentum across the city. I am very excited to get started and am thoroughly enjoying becoming oriented with the organization. My first few hours in the Partners office entailed a lot of reading. It was great.

I consider myself to be an academic at heart, but I strive for an equal balance of thought and action in my life. I can read and think about valuation theory in social work practice (among other things) all day but I find applying that theory to current issues to be equally rewarding. Partners manages to hold both sides of this coin beautifully; initiating and supporting much needed social work through a strong foundation of extensive and relevant research. Finding this internship was a mixture of serendipity and enthusiasm.

I hail from a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania, not too far from Partners own origins in Philadelphia. After spending a year abroad in Iceland during high school I moved to Chicago to start college. That was almost four years ago. During my time here I have read a lot of books, devoured Chicago’s spirited cultural scene, and created a home for myself in this fair metropolis.

Apart from poring over economic and social theory, I can be found travelling, learning the drums, studying Scandinavian languages, enjoying a good cup of coffee, and seeking out East Asian cinema. I hope to further my academic pursuits in graduate school in the near future, but for now I am quite content and have plenty to do!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Arts in Sacred Places Orientation Set for Next Week!

I know you've all marked your calendar for our upcoming Arts in Sacred Places Orientation scheduled for this following Tuesday but we thought we would give you one more reminder!

If you are an arts leader looking to find a home for offices, rehearsals, exhibits or performances and are also looking to increase your audience...
If you represent a congregation looking to connect with the community in new ways and better use your space to support the arts...

Come to the AiSP introductory training and networking session set for April 17th, 2012 at the Chicago Temple from 4 - 8 pm!
This will be a chance for you to develop new partnerships between a congregation or arts institution in order to mutually benefit from each other.

Make sure to RSVP by this Friday and give Partners an idea of who will be attending with you. You will want to contact Dawn Marie Galtieri at or at (866) 796-0297 ex.94.

Also, we wanted to remind you all that you're invited to the Halo Economic Effect: Chicago which is scheduled for April 27th, 2012 also at the Chicago Temple from 12 - 1:30 pm!

In January 2012, Partners, Penn and Loyola University Chicago launched their Halo Effect research in Chicago. With preliminary data in from congregations and parishes across the city, The Halo Effect research is poised to transform Chicagoans' understanding of their city's historic houses of worship.

Please come to this presentation on the project and eat some lunch while you learn more about what it gears to do. You will want to RSVP (space is limited)
with Amy Schachman at or at (866) 796-0297 ex.93.

We hope to see many of you at one or both of the events! We're very excited about what's to come in Partners' future and would love for you guys to learn more about what our plans are!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Join the Ranks of Docents at Friends of Historic Second Church

Are you interested in historic stained glass? Do you love Chicago's architectural history? Do you want to learn more about:
  • The Arts and Crafts movement
  • The stained glass windows (both American and English)
  • The murals
  • Gothic Revival architecture
  • Architects James Renwick and Howard Van Doren Shaw
  • Artists Frederic Clay Bartlett and Louis Comfort Tiffany
  • Preservation philosophy and techniques, project underway 
Friends of Historic Second Church invites your participation in docent training and requests that trainees commit to attend all four training sessions. There is a $10 materials fee payable on the first night of training. Payment is waived for students.
Docent training will occur at Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago, 1926 S. Michigan Avenue. The training program will include four 1.5 hour Thursday sessions beginning at 6:30pm on May 9, 16, 23 and 30. If you have questions, please email or call (800)-657-0687

Applications can be accessed here. Return applications by Mat 1, 2012 to Friends of Historic Second Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 or email to

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Concert

On Sunday, March 18th, the Logan Chamber Players will be giving a spring concert at St. Luke’s Lutheran in Logan Square.

The Logan Chamber Players are a professional classical music ensemble based in Chicago. They provide high caliber performance opportunities for the abundance of talented young professionals in the city, while simultaneously bringing classical music to the public in an accessible, affordable format. The Players strive to create an ensemble that promotes and supports up-and-coming classical music professionals. Additionally they are committed to reviving classical music as a part of local communities. They believe music must be available through local venues, affordable, and in a friendly environment. The Logan Chamber Players actively collaborate with neighborhood organizations to achieve these goals.

Come out on Sunday to hear some great music in a sacred space – visit the Logan Chamber Players on Facebook for more information.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Adaptive Reuse in Maine
The Chestnut Street United Methodist Church in Portland, Maine had to close their doors in 2006 due to a dwindling congregation and rising costs. The Gothic Revival church was built in 1856 and has survived two town-wide fires. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009 two local restauranteurs bought the property with the intention of turning into a fine-dining restaurant.

Interior of Grace Restaurant (source)

The couple had to learn the ins and outs of historic preservation regulations and the project took about two years to complete. The end result is a fantastic reuse of the space which has pleased local residents and former parishioners. The local enthusiasm for the building and restaurant shows how important the building and its heritage is to Portland. For more information about the Grace Restaurant check out this article.

Friday, March 2, 2012

St. Wenceslaus Church: A Modern Religious Masterpiece
Located in the neighborhood of Avondale on the Northwest side of Chicago, St. Wenceslaus is a historic church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Built in 1942 by the architectural firm of McCarthy, Smith, and Epigg, St. Wenceslaus was built as a response to the overflow of parishoners attending St. Hyacinth originally located at Roscoe and Lawndale. Because of this buildings unique design, which consists of a hybrid of Byzantine, Romanesque, and Art-Deco elements, the restoration of the church has come to the forefront of preservationist's interests in recent years.
On April 14th, 2012, Partners will team up with various organizations such as the Art Deco Society of Chicago, The Institute of Sacred Architecture, Forgotten Chicago, and a few others, to sponsor an event benefitting St. Wenceslaus.
The event will begin at 1:45 p.m. and be held at the location of St. Wenceslaus which is 3400 North Monticello Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618. There will be a $10 admission fee which goes towards the renovation of this historic church and the first 50 people to arrive will receive a complimentary copy of the Sacred Architectural Journal. There will also be three speakers: Dominic Pacyga who will speak of Chicago's Polish Parishes, Victoria Granacki who will speak on the architecture of St. Wenceslaus as compared to other ethnic churches, and Jacob Kaplan who will concentrate on the architecture as compared to other Art Deco churches.
Join us that day to learn more about why this church is cherished by so many and to help benefit the establishment, allowing it to remain an architectural gem of the city of Chicago.