Case Studies

Invest for Kids

Invest For Kids is dedicated to supporting high-impact nonprofit organizations that support underserved Chicago youth. Its flagship event is an annual investment conference that brings together investment-management thought leaders to share new ideas and, at the same time, raises funds to expand opportunity for the city’s youth.


“The goal of Invest For Kids is to support Chicago’s young people,” says Katie Hurley Wales, the organization’s executive director. “By extension, we’re advancing their families, their communities, and the city as a whole.” Founded by Ron Levin and Ben Kovler in 2009—in true start-up fashion, with a business plan written on the back of a napkin—Invest For Kids hosts an annual investment conference that assembles investment professionals for a half day of innovative presentations from the country’s investment-management luminaries. Every penny of the conference’s proceeds—more than $18 million so far—goes toward a slate of high-impact nonprofit organizations that work to positively change the lives of Chicago youth.

In 2021, Invest For Kids reviewed more than 100 applicants before investing in six nonprofits: organizations committed to promoting academic success, closing the digital divide, counseling and mentoring students coping with trauma, and preparing students for career success. “We support small, high-performing organizations that can use the grants we provide to really make a big difference,” says Levin. And because the event’s cofounders and their families underwrite all costs associated with the conference, 100 percent of the proceeds are donated to grantees, giving them what they need to maximize their impact.

Over the years, Invest For Kids has also launched new initiatives that build on the momentum of its signature conference. These include the Emerge Summer Career and Leadership Program, a paid summer internship and leadership-development program that Invest For Kids created and supports in partnership with Chicago Scholars. Through Emerge, participating college students are matched with mentors in a variety of industries, including finance, law, health, technology, and the nonprofit sector. Since the program began in 2018, Invest For Kids has connected 175 high-performing college students with internships at businesses and community organizations across the city.


Throughout its 13-year history, Invest For Kids has welcomed more than 10,000 investment professionals to its annual conference, raised more than $18 million for Chicago youth-serving nonprofits, and awarded grants to more than 75 nonprofit organizations that have served thousands of Chicago-area youth. “Grantees tell us that our funding is an endorsement of their work,” says Wolf. “It validates their approach and can help them find more people to support them.” Past grantees have used Invest For Kids’ backing to serve a greater number of youth, bring on more staff members, and add new program areas to their offerings.

How The Satter Foundation Has Helped

The foundation values and admires Levin’s and Kovler’s entrepreneurial spirit, which is infused in the work of the organization, as well as their ability to make a huge impact on the lives of children across Chicago.

What's Next

“Our mission to support Chicago youth hasn’t changed over the years, but we’re constantly thinking about ways to do so more effectively,” says Barbara Wolf, the director of giving. Invest For Kids is identifying ways to increase its footprint and its impact, from bringing on new advisory committee members to creating an enhanced sponsorship program that gives contributors more acknowledgment and networking opportunities, and also allows them to connect more deeply with the organization’s mission and impact. “We want to make sure our donors feel connected to our mission and know about the good work they’re supporting,” says Wales.

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