We Raise Board Member’s Heart for Youth Guides His Service
When Greg Jordan visits grantee sites with other members of the We Raise Foundation board of directors, his thoughts often go to his three sons. He was especially moved during a visit to Kidz Express in Chicago’s South Austin neighborhood, a community where violence has left buildings pockmarked with bullet holes and kids have shared that they don’t feel safe playing outside. It’s then he thinks about playing catch with his sons in their backyard or their impromptu football games in the park.
“The young people I’ve met in these communities can’t do that; you can’t go out and throw a ball around because there’s always that risk of something violent happening,” Jordan says. “I can’t imagine that.”
A board member since March 2017, Jordan’s career has focused on investment management. As Senior Vice President and Senior Managing Director of Foundation and Institutional Advisors at Northern Trust in Chicago, he leads a team that provides investment management and advice to nonprofit organizations and charities. Initially, Jordan focused on the value he felt he brought to the board, but lately he’s changed his outlook. “What I’m valuing is not just using that skillset but finding ways that through my involvement I can affect change in the communities we are trying to help,” he says.
Jordan grew up in Michigan, attending a Lutheran church and school, where he remembers hearing about Wheat Ridge Ministries and its faith-based message and mission. He attended Lutheran West High School in Detroit, and the racially and economically diverse student body opened his eyes. “It created for me a sensitivity that you could be living in a place that may offer a huge amount of opportunity for young people, but not very far away it could be a different story,” he says.
Jordan knows that the young people he met at Kidz Express, a mere 25 miles away from his home in Naperville, Ill., live a world away from what he and his family experience every day—and it breaks his heart. “The idea of keeping one’s family safe is much farther down in the day-to-day worries for us, whereas I see in these families that it’s not just top of mind, but they are actively working on that every day.”
Jordan looks forward to continuing to advance the evolution of We Raise’s mission and vision to its supporters. He is especially enthusiastic about how We Raise is now positioned to impact its partners beyond giving grants through added services and consulting. “I’m really excited about the way we can potentially impact these organizations and expand the dollars we provide them by helping through various aspects of their own organization,” he says.
But what touches Jordan’s heart the most is meeting the young people caught in the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. “Seeing young people in these sorts of environments, it’s just so discouraging – they have so much promise and so much in terms of a life ahead of them,” he says. “It seems to me that if we can help them, it would be tremendous for them and their communities.”
Jordan says Luke 6:31 pretty much sums up his faith: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In fact, taking care of his ‘fellow brethren’ is more important to him than ever. “I think I always had that in me, but I had never really found a way to live it,” he says. “Being a part of We Raise—it’s created an outlet for me to do just that.”