James Michael has worked in a wide range of program and business development environments, including higher education, healthcare, international child development, and grassroots social service work. Jim’s thirty-year career in the nonprofit sector has brought him in contact with an incredibly diverse group of individuals, from military families to ill and injured homeless people, from the visually impaired to people with developmental disabilities. He currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Baal Perazim Wellness & Health Services, a multi-site integrative primary care and community wellness organization, where he leads development planning, marketing, and community partnerships. He moved to Chicago in January of 2006 from his hometown of Seattle.
Jim is very active in various philanthropic and fundraising project work, as both a consultant and a volunteer, and has a deep interest in community building and cultural engineering. He has a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Management from Kellogg School of Management, a master’s degree in education from Seattle University, and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Washington. He counts his two school-age children as his greatest achievement, and lives in Forest Park
Margaret Gergen is recently retired from 35+ years in real estate development, senior housing administration and property management throughout various neighborhoods in Chicago and Evanston, IL. In this capacity, her responsibilities included oversight of physical maintenance, residential and commercial leasing, budget preparation and accountability, supervision of food service and social program departments, as well as program development and community relations.
She and her family were full-time volunteers with the ICA in the 70’s and 80’s, serving in Minneapolis-St Paul, Chicago, Atlanta and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Margaret is a native of Missouri, was a Presidential Scholar and Humanities major at Hamline University in St. Paul, and currently resides in Chicago.
Since her retirement she has been active in senior advocacy and services with Joining Forces for Affordable Housing’s Age-Friendly Housing Committee, Levy Senior Center Advisory Board, Age Options Advisory Board, and the Aging Well Evanston Conference Planning Committee. She is also a member of the Evanston Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and an Evanston Long Term Care Ombudsman Volunteer.
Chris Brubaker has worked in a variety of legal, finance, accounting, and operations roles in industries spanning manufacturing, real estate, multi-family housing, technology, and education. He currently serves as the Director of Finance for OnlineMedEd, a digital healthcare learning platform designed for medical students and health professionals, where he leads finance, accounting, and business strategy planning.
Chris moved to Austin, TX, in 2016 from his hometown of Des Moines, IA. He has a law degree from the University of Iowa, a bachelor’s in finance from Iowa State University, and is currently working towards his Master of Accounting at the University of Connecticut.
In his own words, "I joined the ICA USA board because I believe in a just and equitable society, and support the work that ICA does. I hope to serve as a valuable resource for finance, accounting, and legal questions." May 2021
April 22, 2021 As part of Earth Day 2021, the ICA team hosted Mayor Lightfoot for a top-to-botton tour of ICA GreenRise. Mayor Lightfoot was joined by 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman, 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin, Chicago Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar and Blacks in Green founder Naomi Davis.
ICA Chief Operating Officer Lesley Showers led the group on visits to the Heartland Alliance Health Center, the rooftop solar panel array and the ICA intentional community floor.
Lesley reflected on the Mayor's visit, "It was a wonderful opportunity to share our vision our vision for positioning GreenRise as a Chicago Carbon Free Demonstration Building. 70% carbon emissions in Chicago come from buildings. Converting older buildings is cheaper and more ecologically sound than tearing them down and starting over. Incorporating our residential communities and nonprofit tenants into our overall approach establishes a model for sustainability."
ICA's Karen Snyder reports that the Mayor has encouraged Ms. Tovar to work with ICA GreenRise and program staff since August 2020. Angela connected GreenRise with Chicago’s Department of Planning, which has committed a $1.5M grant to ICA during its second closing on its building renovation.
Staff Spotlight: Phil Waitzman
Our history has proven that the methods of partnership, facilitation, and collaboration simply need to be brought forward and modernized. Many of these techniques and approaches have the spirit and ability to be applied to any social issue at any time in history.
Phil Waitzman joined ICA and EI has Interim Executive Director in October, 2020, bringing more than 20 years of experience working with clients both as a strategic executive leader and as a direct practice clinician. He is a Licensed Social Worker who has received an MA in Social Service Administration, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), and a Masters in Public Health (MPH).
As we welcome in the new year, we also welcome in new leadership and staffing. ICA has hired Ashleigh Hughes as Marketing Manager of Programs. Ashleigh will lead our marketing efforts, serve as the primary liaison with external stakeholders and customers of the Technology of Participation (ToP) training program, lead customer service, and administer course registration.
2021 is the centennial of ICA GreenRise, which was constructed for Mutual Insurance in 1921 and donated by Kemper Insurance to the Institute of Cultural Affairs and Ecumenical Institute in 1971. We approach this milestone in celebration of the accomplishments of the past year and enthusiasm for our vision of the future!
Chicago’s new Chief Sustainability Officer, Angela Tovar, visited ICA GreenRise on September 28, 2020 to tour the mixed-use building and learn how it serves both people and the environment as a hub for sustainable community.
Tovar’s visit came in response to a letter sent by the GreenRise Restoration Project (GRRP) Advisory Team to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot urging her administration to support the project with capital investment and an operating grant. Lightfoot was previously introduced to ICA GreenRise at a North Side community meeting organized by LISC Chicago in May, 2019, just prior to being sworn in as Mayor.
Four new Technology of Participation (ToP) online training courses launched this past month, a major milestone in a months-long journey to translate the facilitation methods authentically to the virtual world. We're proud to offer a small selection of courses available now--ToP Facilitation Methods (TFM) Online, ToP Strategic Planning (TSP) Online, Shift Happens: Design Principles for a Virtual World, and Action Planning Practice Lab on Miro. All the online courses are designed to train participants to apply ToP facilitation skills virtually.
Volunteer Spotlight: Matt Cardoni
I feel like the [ICA] team consistently cares about the planet and the community, and are willing to put their time and effort into making them better. I trust their intentions and their actions, which is a rare thing.
Matt Cardoni is founder of Green Lightning Marketing, a digital marketing consultancy that works with nonprofit organizations, mission-driven businesses and educational institutions. He has been a member of Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network for six years, helped launch and organize the Uptown Garden Walk, and has connected numerous digital marketing students and volunteers with ICA.