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James C. Tyree
Jim was an extraordinary, ordinary man. Though many of his accomplishments were extraordinary, he was always that humble guy from the South Side who loved his family, his job and colleagues, sports and improving the world around him. Jim was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mesirow Financial, in addition to serving on countless local boards and philanthropic organizations. Throughout his life, he touched and changed the lives of many.   Learn more about Jim...

Welcome to the James Tyree Foundation

On March 16, 2011, Chicago lost a true friend, leader and optimist. This Foundation was formed to remember Jim Tyree, to continue his legacy of giving back - to give people hope and to give them better lives. The Foundation's mission of support for innovative education reflects Jim's passion and belief that education was the key to unlocking life's door and his understanding that the world was changing at a rapid pace. By taking what you know and thinking about it a little differently, Jim felt you could leave the world better than you found it.

The Foundation supports educational endeavors that foster creativity and innovation to improve the lives of people in the Chicagoland area. Through direct grants, the Foundation will work to help strengthen these organizations in their pursuit of meaningful change in education, health care and other disciplines.

3rd Annual Run, Ride & Roll for Innovative Education

Thank you to all of those who participated in this year's Run, Ride & Roll for Innovative Education. We loved the creativity of your photos.

Living Through Giving 2015

The third annual James Tyree Foundation Living Through Giving fundraiser and coctail reception was a huge success. The event raised $400,000!

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Our 2014 Grantees!
All of us at the James Tyree Foundation are thrilled to announce we have awarded $500,000 in grants to 11 non-profit organizations that are working to improve countless lives in the Chicago-area.

Each of these truly inspiring grant recipients are shining examples of the foundation's core mission: to advance innovative educational efforts in academics and health care.

This year's grantees include a mix of innovators we have supported in the past, as well as some very exciting programs that we welcome into our James Tyree Foundation family for the first time:

Chicago Lighthouse
The Chicago Lighthouse has 28 programs in education, employment, and rehabilitation with the mission of improving the quality of lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. The organization's preschool program serves children three to five years old, and all are at risk because they are low-income. The children, who are either visually impaired or sighted, learn together, side by side in the same classroom. The goal is to begin including children earlier who are visually impaired in the same classroom, so they will be on equal footing with their sighted friends when they start kindergarten.
High Jump
High Jump is a two-year, tuition-free academic enrichment program that fills the educational opportunity gap for talented middle grade students, ages 12 to 14. Its mission is to equalize education for middle school students who have exhibited academic ambition and potential and who are of limited economic means. The program consists of six weeks of daily intensive programming in the summer and two to three full Saturdays each month during the school year. An impressive 99 percent of High Jump students have attended rigorous college preparatory schools, and 94 percent attend college.
Jumpstart Chicago
Jumpstart Chicago partners college student volunteers (Corps members) with preschool classrooms in high-need communities. Over the course of eight months, Corps members train and work in teams to deliver the "Jumpstart Session," a carefully designed research-based curriculum, twice weekly. Corps members receive training that prepares them to successfully engage two to three partner children in Jumpstart's curriculum. By focusing on reading during the formative ages between three and five, Jumpstart helps build vocabulary, alphabetic and print knowledge and oral language competencies.
Calm Classroom
Pass With Flying Colors prepares Chicago high school students from underserved communities to be successful in college. Students join a PWFC cohort in their freshman year through a competitive application and interview process. Immediately scholars are immersed in programming and experiential activities that prepare them for the rigors of college. In high school PWFC scholars develop the academic, social and non-cognitive skills that are critical for college and career success. When they matriculate to college, scholars continue to receive PWFC mentoring, support and resources so they will realize their dream of a bachelor degree.
By The Hand Club For Kids
By The Hand Club For Kids is an after-school program that seeks to meet the needs of the whole child - mind, body, and soul. The group's "Blended Learning Program" divides students into three groups that rotate between computer stations, homework assistance, and independent projects. The program includes the use of iPads and the acclaimed Lexia Core 5 reading program, as well as one-on-one instruction for skills needing more practice. Students set weekly goals and track their own progress. On average, kids in the pilot program experienced 1.2 years of reading growth in five months.
City Year
City Year Chicago is an education-focused nonprofit through which young adult AmeriCorps members provide a year of full-time service to help keep students in school and on track to graduate. City Year Chicago focuses on the ABC's of Attendance, Behavior, and Course performance, and provides students with access to academic tutors, as well as mentors and role models. City Year corps members support students on two levels: through whole class support to the entire 4th-9th grade student population, and through targeted support in the ABCs for students who are performing below benchmarks.
Civic Leadership Foundation
Civic Leadership Foundation prepares underserved teenagers for school, work and life through an empowering, project-based curriculum that teaches young people critical life-long leadership skills such as collaboration, resourcefulness and accountability. The group's new program, "Reintegrating Individuals through Supportive Engagement," provides intensive mentoring and a civic engagement curriculum for youth 15 to 17 years old who have been arrested for moderate to high level offenses and are deemed to be at significant risk for future violence involvement.
Calm Classroom
Calm Classroom is a research-based school-wide program that empowers preschool through 12th grade CPS students by cultivating techniques that develop self-awareness, mental focus, alertness and emotional control. Calm Classroom incorporates cutting edge educational approaches that are based on extensive brain-based and "relaxation response" research, ultimately creating a school-wide culture of calmness and focus. All students at the school receive the service. Calm Classroom plans to expand to 50 new schools and 30,000 new students in the 2014-2015 school year.
Wolcott School
Wolcott School offers an exemplary high school program for students with learning differences, tailored to the strengths and aspirations of each student. Employing best practices, the school's expert faculty is dedicated to helping students gain self-awareness, confidence and resilience as well as the academic, social and communication skills to flourish in college and beyond. The school's James Tyree Centre develops outreach programming and leading research on adolescent educational development and learning differences offering programs in the areas of professional development, parent workshops and student seminars.
The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center
The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center offers a patient-centered, science-based approach for managing insulin-dependent type-1 and complex type-2 diabetes. The center's multidisciplinary team works with patients and referring physicians to address all the challenges of diabetes, from hypertension and vascular problems, to foot conditions and kidney disease. The center's Jim Tyree Diabetes Education Library is designed to provide patients with any additional resources they need beyond the clinic. The library is open to all University of Chicago Medicine patients, physicians and staff.
The Hyde Park Day School
The Hyde Park Day School offers a specialized, educational curriculum for students ages 6 to 15 with moderate to severe learning disabilities and who have average to above average intelligence. Under the direction of a faculty of learning disability specialists, regular education teachers, social workers, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists, students have access to a comprehensive learning plan that links specific diagnostic information, specialized instruction, modified curricula and related services; and intensive one-on-one assistance using state-of-the-art materials and methods to address learning difficulties.