Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for our Virtual Spring Benefit! Watch the video now on facebook.

As the challenging realities of COVID-19 continue to grow throughout the nation, it is clear that student voices and civic engagement are essential now more than ever.

In light of social distancing guidelines, Mikva Challenge must officially cancel our Annual Spring Benefit. Although we may not be able to meet in person, we invite you to continue to create space in the coming weeks to celebrate youth changemakers, civic action and leadership with us. In lieu of a physical Spring Benefit this year, Mikva Challenge will hold the Virtual Spring Benefit on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 5:30pm, and it will be filled with the best component of Mikva’s event – Youth Voice!

As we lead up to the event, through our Youth Voice Campaign we will be sharing stories with you of our powerful youth leaders and how Mikva Challenge is supporting our youth financially and emotionally, while providing the space needed to amplify youth voices. Many students have shared concerns on how COVID-19 is impacting the city, their families, their income and their education.

Your commitment is crucial. Although the event will be virtual, the impact of your support is real.

Please donate now or Sponsor our event to ensure that we can continue to support youth voice and agency at this critical moment. Please contact for more information.

Champion sponsor

Supporter sponsors

Best Portion Foundation | Linda Goodman and David Narefsky | Laurie Mikva and James Pfander | Rachel Mikva and Mark Rosenberg

Ally Sponsors

Ariel Investments | BNY Mellon | Henry Crown and Company | Jack Marco | Jerry Newton & David Weinberg | LSV Asset Management | Mary Mikva & Steve Cohen | Noel Bennett Patterson | Peter Birnbaum | Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation | Robert R. McCormick Foundation | Sarah Kammerer | Sidley & Austin LLP | Smith, Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, LP | U.S. Bank

2020 Host Committee Members

Joe Bernstein
Steve Cohen
Governor Jim Edgar
Maggie Hickey
David Hiller
Cheryl Hughes
Priscilla Kersten
Greg Kinczewski
Mike Lawrence
Laurie Mikva (co-chair)
Michelle Morales
Harold Moore (co-chair)
David Narefsky
Jerry Newton
Jim Pfander (co-chair)
Jon Quinn
Jackie Shiff
Maria Simon and John Taylor
Maria Simon
Amy Singh
Sidley Austin LLP

Youth Voice Campaign

Week 1: Important Updates & an Invitation! As the challenging realities of COVID-19 continue to grow throughout the nation, it is clear that student voices and civic engagement are essential now more than ever. A message from Mikva Challenge IL Executive Director, Verneé Green:

Week 2: Watch our Youth Experts Now – the Chicago Youth Response Team shares the myriad of issues that they and their peers are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak – ranging from the loss of their family’s income, to healthcare challenges, and making the transition to distance learning.

Week 3: Youth Voices: what matters to youth & an update from the field – Mónica Gutierrez, Citywide Youth Council Director, sat down to give us an update on what the Chicago Youth Response Team to COVID have been up to this week.

Week 4: Mikva Youth Experts go live! Watch as Mikva’s young people join in the conversation on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton’s Tele-Town Hall to ensure that youth voices, stories and ideas are part of the local and national policy discussion surrounding the global COVID-19 crisis. Watch now:


Week 5: Mikva youth adapting to sharing their voices virtually. This week we highlight how Mikva Challenge students are becoming the voices to be heard on how COVID-19 is impacting youth and their communities. Our very own Gage Park Neighborhood Leadership Council (NLI) member, Jose, participated in Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton’s Virtual Town Hall this past week Watch the full Virtual Town Hall and ICYMI: watch as Mikva’s young people joined in the conversation last week on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. This week we also take a look at the creative ways youth, like 8th grader Arianna on the North Lawndale Council, are amplifying their voices through the virtual check-in project.

Week 6: Meet Mikva Challenge IL 2020 Youth Changemakers! Mikva Challenge participants don’t wait for the opportunity to lead, they are leaders NOW. Our young people are making changes and creating an impact in their communities every day. Here from our 2020 awardees:

Week 7:  Mikva Challenge’s Action Civic Showcase. This week, Mikva Challenge is celebrating our Virtual Action Civics Showcase! The showcase will include more than 60 projects, presented virtually.


Ready to support Mikva’s critical work?

Be a donor now.