For 125 years, Northwestern Settlement has nurtured, educated, and inspired children and families in need in Chicago. Focusing on changing lives through education, social services, and the arts, Northwestern Settlement’s programs are fully integrated to meet the complex needs of our neighbors.
Northwestern Settlement’s comprehensive approach to community building provides our neighbors:
Immediate assistance for short-term emergencies
Knowledge, opportunities and support to disrupt generational poverty
Access to a rich, city-wide network of additional programs and services
125 Years of Service
Northwestern Settlement was founded in 1891 by leaders of Northwestern University, as a separate and financially-independent institution. At that time, the West Town community was primarily the home of disenfranchised German, Polish, Irish, and Scandinavian immigrants, and the neighborhood failed to register in Chicago’s collective conscience.
Inspired by the Settlement Movement, and led by Northwestern University President Henry Wade Rogers and his wife Emma, Northwestern University Settlement Association was founded. The original Settlement Movement model involved settling in a needy community and recruiting university faculty, staff, graduates, and volunteers to live and work at the house, gathering resources to empower community residents to change their own lives. Today, although our methods of service have changed, Northwestern Settlement continues to provide transformational opportunities.
Through a rich variety of programs and services, Northwestern Settlement produces lasting change and positive impacts in the lives of our neighbors.
Rowe Elementary School was given a Level 1+ quality rating by Chicago Public Schools, making it a top ten charter elementary school.
Over 400 summer campers attended summer camp at House In The Wood, and over 300 public school students attended hands-on environmental education residencies.
Over 6,000 children benefited from Adventure Stage Chicago’s live theater productions, arts education residencies, community outreach, and mentorship.
Our Food Pantry distributed 400,000 pounds of food, 12,000 pounds of clothing, and over $150,000 of household furnishings and needs through our food pantry, where visits increased 14% compared to the prior year.
100% of our Early Childhood Education students met/exceeded benchmarks for literacy; 98% met/exceeded benchmarks for math.
Learn More about the impact the Settlement is making in our community the lives of our neighbors.
For more information on our community impact download our 2015-16 Annual Report here.
Settlement Urban Lab
The sharing and innovating of ideas and initiatives is at the core of how the Settlement and its partners are serving our neighbors in the twenty-first century.
Middle School Campus Expansion
Organization & Mission
Ron Manderschied became President of Northwestern Settlement in 1981. During his tenure as president, the Settlement’s annual budget has grown from $200,000 to $14 million. He has overseen the founding of many of the Settlement’s largest programs including Rowe Elementary charter school, the internationally-recognized Adventure Stage Chicago theatre, AmeriCorps Project YES!, and a nationally-accredited preschool. He also grew the Settlement’s food pantry and after-school programs, and instituted year-round STEM programming at its House In The Wood summer camp in Delevan, Wisconsin. Northwestern Settlement serves over 12,000 individuals each year through education, social services, and arts programs, and another 25,000 through community use of the Settlement’s facilities and 299-seat Vittum Theater.
In 1999 the Settlement co-founded Noble Street Charter School with Mr. Manderschied assuming the role of President and CEO. As Noble Street replicated, he became the President of the Noble Network of Charter Schools in 2005, where he was responsible for administration, fundraising, governance, and financial oversight for this $55 million organization. In 2009, Mr. Manderschied stepped down from leadership of the Noble Network to found Rowe Elementary School. Rowe Elementary will serve over 900 youth in grades K-8 in 2016-17 and has a Level 1+ quality rating from CPS.
Mr. Manderschied currently serves as a board member and Treasurer of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, a national membership organization of over 500 child welfare and community based organizations. He is the past Board Chair of the United Neighborhood Centers of America (former National Federation of Settlements) which had 160 member agencies across the country. He is a board member of the Neighborhood Capital Institute, a Chicago based not-for-profit that creates comprehensive development plans which are community-driven and economically viable by merging the expertise of stakeholders, development experts and planning professionals. Community development frameworks are created that encourage private investment in sites ranging from a few city blocks to thousands of acres, from Chicago to Gary to Moline.
In addition, Mr. Manderschied serves on the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Counsel. The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region. He also devotes time to the American Camp Association to do field accreditations of children’s summer residential camps across Illinois and Wisconsin with a concentration on religious and special needs camps.
He and his wife are residents of Chicago.
Ron R. Manderschied
President, A. Perry Homes
Robert J. Best
Retired, K&L Gates LLP
Retired, MOA Hospitality, Inc.
Assistant Treasurer: Finance
Assistant Treasurer: Fundraising
North Shore Board Alumni, Past President
Retired, Northern Trust Bank
Evanston Woman's Board, Past President
North Shore Board member
Margaret J. Barr
Retired, Northwestern University
Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr.
City of Chicago 27th Ward
North Shore Board, Past President
Julie W. Coffman
Bain & Company, Inc.
Retired, President and CEO of Ignite USA
Retired, J.P. Morgan Chase
Winnetka Board, Past President
Partner, K&L Gates LLP
Founder & CEO, iCanvas & Kroto Fine Arts
Marc E. Peters
MBP Advisors, Peter Securities
Partner, Franczek Radelet, P.C.
John W. Rowe
Retired, Exelon Corporation
North Shore Board member
President, Wilmette District 39 Board of Education
Evanston Women's Board, Past President
Dennis Van Mieghem
Auxiliary Board Presidents
Evanston Woman’s Board
Adventure Stage Chicago Board
Chicago Young Professionals Board
Park Ridge Board
North Shore Board
Dan Alexander, Chief Operating Officer
Dan joined Northwestern Settlement in 2014. His role and charge is to guide initiatives which realize growth in, and efficient use of, the Settlement’s resources so we sustainably grow the Settlement’s ability to open doors of opportunity and empowerment for children, families and communities. Mr. Alexander draws on more than twenty years’ impactful experience in leading people and projects in respected Chicago nonprofit corporations, in the areas of operations support and management, finance, and real estate development.
Tom Arvetis, Producing Artistic Director
Tom has been with the Settlement since 2000. In 2004, he founded Adventure Stage Chicago, the Settlement’s award-winning theatre for young audiences and families. He is responsible for the creative vision of the company, the implementation of all programming and the supervision of theater staff. He is a published playwright, director, actor, designer, and is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Northwestern University where he received his undergraduate degree.
Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins, Managing Director of Adventure Stage, joined the Settlement in 2014 having previously served as the Managing Director, Programming and Production at the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF). At CHF, she produced two diverse festivals and year-round humanities and educational programming (150+ events), serving an audience of 55,000 and an online audience of 200,000. Mary Kate is the Immediate Past President of International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), the premiere membership organization servicing and supporting the professional performing arts for young audiences community. Prior to CHF, Mary Kate was the Director of Communications for the School of Communication at Northwestern University.
Tony Feliciano, Chief of Facilities
Tony's principal responsibilities include facility oversight, security programs and direct assistance to the president. He was born and raised in West Town and began working full-time at Northwestern Settlement in 1982 in the security and maintenance department. In 1985, after graduation from Devry Institute of Technology, he accepted the positions of Director of Facilities and Communications, at which time he developed the Settlement's first computer network.
Linda McLaren, Director of Youth Services
Linda manages the daily operations of the Early Childhood Education and After School programs, which includes children, families and staff. She has been site director of Early Childhood since 2009, and assumed her current position in 2016. She started in the Head Start program as a teacher in 1998 and eventually became the program's family worker. She has a Bachelor's in Social Work from Northeastern Illinois University and is Illinois Director Credential Level II certified.
Allen Ramsier, Director of Information Technology
Allen oversees planning, installation and support of all information technology systems for Northwestern Settlement and Rowe. He has worked in education throughout his career, starting as an English teacher. He has worked in public, private and charter schools in the US, Mexico and Italy. He was a founding member of Noble Street Charter School. He has an M.A. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, as well as a B.A. in English from Mount Union College.
Belna Reyes, Director of Emergency Services
Belna manages the day-to-day operation of the Emergency Services Program, which includes coordinating the food pantry, direct assistance and holiday programs. She began working at the Settlement in 1991 as Lead Teacher in the Head Start program. In this position, she gained a deeper understanding of the needs of area families and eventually became the program's family worker, before becoming the Director of Emergency Services in 2004. She has a Bachelor's in Social Services.
Yasmin Rodriguez, AmeriCorps Project YES! Program Director
Yasmin began working at Northwestern Settlement as Program Coordinator for its first AmeriCorps program. As director, she supervises program staff and members. Yasmin also coordinates the Golden Agers, the Settlement's program for seniors. She received her B.A. in Social Work and Spanish from Northeastern Illinois University.
Tony Sutton, Principal of Rowe Elementary School
Born in Chicago, IL, Tony Sutton has worked in the education field since his graduation from Hampton University in 2005. After completing his commitment to Teach for America in Charlotte, NC, he spent time recruiting talent for Teach for America in the mid-Atlantic region. After marrying the most amazing woman in the land, Tony moved to Washington, D.C. where he continued his impact in the education sector as a Dean of School Culture at Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School. Utilizing his experience in school culture, Tony transitioned to DC Prep as a Dean of Student Support and Founding Assistant Principal. Tony is thrilled to be back in Chicago with his wife and two year old daughter to continue to impact scholars and families as a grateful Rowe Elementary School team member.
Katie Taylor, Director of Development
Katie joined the Settlement as an intern in the development office and has grown her career here, moving up to her current position as Development Director. In this role she oversees fundraising and external communications for the Settlement. Katie is a graduate of DePaul University, where she studied Honors Marketing and Finance, and minored in Business Administration. When not working, she loves spending time with her two dogs Lucas and Gosha, cooking, and trying new restaurants.
Edison Urena, Business Director
Edison has overseen all financial and human resources activities since 1995. He also served as business director for the Noble Network of Charter Schools from 1999 through 2009, during which time he provided key financial leadership in the replication of six new high school campuses. He received his B.A. from Roosevelt University with a dual degree in accounting and business, and his Master's in Public and Non-Profit Administration from DePaul University.
Val Wright, Executive Director of House In The Wood
A long time camper herself, Val joined House In The Wood in 1984, spending almost ten years reviving the Settlement's summer camp program. Currently she is working on developing House In The Wood's new Outdoor Education Center Curriculum. Val received her B.A. in elementary education from Antioch College.
Director of Development
Development and Communications Coordinator