Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

While taking the time to remember the past, celebrating and amplifying Dr. King’s legacy by encouraging and cultivating the leaders of the future is a major focus of this project.

The Project Planning Committee is in preliminary discussions to partner with Mikva Challenge (who challenges high school students, teachers and schools across Chicagoland to be active participants in the political process) and/or Public Allies (who employs integrated strategies to develop the next generation of leaders and re-define leadership for our times) to formalize and add depth to the Fellowship program.

However, the overarching goal is to develop an application process where the selected Fellows would be placed within one (or multiple) Chicagoland community-based host organizations for one year with the following expectations:

Hands-on Experience: Fellows will engage in intensive organizing campaigns and community development initiatives designed to fast track their functional understanding of community organizing, leadership development, 1-on-1 relational meetings, management, communications, policy and advocacy. It will also provide the opportunity to research, evaluate and recommend best practices to improve the host organization’s community organizing work.

Skills & Development: Fellows will have the opportunity to attend trainings and develop professional and personal skills that will aid them during and after the fellowship.

Visibility & Networking: Fellows will be exposed to a rich network of colleagues, leaders, mentors, and other experienced professionals. In addition, the fellowship will provide multiple opportunities for increased visibility in Chicago’s nonprofit community.

Institutional Impact: Fellows will have the opportunity to make lasting institutional impact at their host organizations. Fellows will be requested to work with their host organization’s leadership to identify one or more areas in which they would like to tackle a more extended project or initiative that will aid the organization in increasing capacity or enhancing their work in a critical way.


Following the completion of the Memorial to be housed in Marquette Park, the studio where this piece was created within IMAN’s Youth and Arts Wellness Center will be transformed into “The Beloved Community Studio,” a thriving, fully functional ceramic and potters’ work space that will serve thousands of people across Chicago’s South Side. When completed, the studio will be the only ceramic and potters’ studio of its kind in a profoundly underserved part of Chicago’s “art desert” on the South Side.

The Beloved Community Studio will provide classes and ignite entrepreneurial activity for community artists, and empower them to create functional and visual art for sale, in addition to inspiring and providing a space for intergenerational artistic activity. Students and emerging artists will learn and hone the clay technique so that their love of art and creating can mature and grow. The Beloved Community Studio provides a space for resolving problems, learning patience, and understanding disappointment and its lessons.