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Youth Leadership Awards Hour of Power

The Youth Leadership Awards is UCAN’s flagship fundraiser held annually in June. This important event is dedicated to celebrating the academic and personal achievements of UCAN’s outstanding youth. Each year, exceptional young people are recognized and receive scholarships for higher education. This year, UCAN is thrilled to present our eighth annual John D. Nichols Impact Award to John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments, in recognition of his positive impact on youth and families in Chicago.

Youth Leadership Awards

Last year, due to COVID-19, we transformed our in-person gala into a virtual event to ensure the safety and health of our supporters. The virtual Youth Leadership Awards Hour of Power allows us to continue forward in our effort to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our young people.

This year we are proud to award scholarships to seven exceptional young leaders from UCAN’s programming. We will also recognize a distinguished business and civic leader with the John D. Nichols Impact award. This year David J. Vitale will present the award to John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments in recognition of his positive impact on youth and families in Chicago.

Founded 152 years ago, UCAN has grown into a multifaceted social service organization impacting over 21,000 youth and families each year. UCAN's vision, youth who have suffered trauma can become our future leaders, is realized through our focus on compassionate healing, education and empowerment which offers youth a sense of opportunity and hope for the future. We believe that inspiring young people will help to break cycles of violence, abuse and neglect and help them become advocates for change in their communities.

During these uncertain times, UCAN continues to provide essential services to communities in need. Our therapists are hosting virtual sessions, our residential programs are still providing shelter, and our Violence Interrupters are still in the streets reducing gun violence.

2021 John D. Nichols Impact Awardee

John W. Rogers, Jr.

John W. Rogers, Jr. is Founder, Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm offers five no-load mutual funds for individual investors and defined contribution plans as well as separately managed accounts for institutions and high net worth individuals.

After working for 2½ years at William Blair & Company, LLC, John founded Ariel Investments in 1983 to focus on undervalued small and medium-sized companies. Patience served as the cornerstone of a disciplined approach that still drives the firm today.

John’s passion for investing started when he was 12 years old when his father bought him stocks, instead of toys, for every birthday and Christmas. His interest grew while majoring in Economics at Princeton University. In addition to following stocks as a college student, John also played basketball under Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril. He was captain of Princeton’s Varsity Basketball Team his senior year. There, Carril’s courtside lessons on teamwork profoundly shaped his views of entrepreneurship and investing.

Early in his career, John’s investment expertise brought him to the forefront of media attention, including being selected as Co-Mutual Fund Manager of the Year by Sylvia Porter’s Personal Finance magazine as well as an All- Star Mutual Fund Manager by USA TODAY.

Ariel Fund, which John started over 30 years ago and still manages today—is the number-one ranked fund among its peer group since the market bottom which followed the Great Financial Crisis. It’s a testament to John’s “slow and steady” patient investment approach, staying focused, remaining true to his convictions, having a contrarian view and investing in great companies that have fallen out of favor. A disciple of Warren Buffett, John believes in being, “Fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” It’s also why John has been highlighted alongside legendary investors Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton and Ben Graham in the distinguished book: The World’s 99 Greatest Investors by Magnus Angenfelt.

A sought after market commentator and speaker, John is regularly featured and quoted in a wide variety of financial broadcast and print publications.

Beyond Ariel, John is a board member of McDonald’s, NIKE, The New York Times Company and serves as vice chair of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago. Nationally, John is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

In 2008, John was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus or alumna whose career embodies a commitment to national service. Following the election of President Barack Obama, he served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009, and more recently, he joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Our Sponsors

as of 06/02/2021
To become a sponsor please contact UCAN’s Director of Development, Gwendalyn Carver by emailing

Host Sponsor

Allstate Insurance Company
BMO Harris Bank
Alexandra and John Nichols

Reception Sponsor

Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation

Platinum Sponsor

Daniel and Dolores Boehmer
The Boeing Company
Steven T. Campbell
Rita and John Canning
Dave and Jane Casper
CME Group
Charlotte and Lawrence Damron
Kent and Liz Dauten
Deirdre Drake
The Fleming Family
J. S. Frank Foundation
Bon and Holly French, Adams Street Partners
Jim Gordon, The Edgewater Funds
The Grainger Foundation
Beverly and Warren Hayford
Will Hobert
The O'Halleran Family
Steans Family Foundation
U.S. Bank
David and Marilyn Vitale
Donald R. Wilson, Jr.

Gold Sponsor

Advocate Aurora Health
Axion RMS
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois
Colleen and Bradley Ryan
Dona and Sam Scott
Markell Bridges
Percy and Yasmin Brown
Peggy and Kevin Callahan
Kittie and Bill Devers
Diermeier Family Foundation
Jeff Feld and the Team at Alliance Pension Consultants LLC
John J. Glier and Vicki J. Woodward
William Goodyear
Iron Light
Verne and Judy Istock
Patricia and Vince Kolber
Lavin Family Foundation
Carol and Larry Levy
Robert and Gail Loveman
John W. Madigan
Karen and Peter Maitland
Judy and John McCarter
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Andrew J. McKenna
Northern Trust Asset Management
Steve and Linda Patton
Rothschild Investment Corporation
John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe
Thomas and Kathryn Vanden Berk


Adducci Family Foundation
Katherine Aiello
The Alter Group
Laura Angelucci
Ann Ayres
Lois and Greg Basil
Joan and Bill Brodsky
Jeff Carlson
Beverly Copeland
Tara D'Agostino
DDJ Capital Management, LLC
Richard DeCleene
Luis Diez
Janet and Craig Duchossois
Stephanie Franklin
Sandy Guido
Jennifer and Joe Hadsell
James Hagy
Jutta Helm
David Hiller
Waldo Johnson
Peter Kelly and Susan Barrett-Kelly
Sally Kinnamon
Jim and Jacque Kniola
Ann Kniola and Jordan Blain
John Lee
William Luehrs
PJH & Associates, Inc.
Tracy Robinson
Tina Ruiz
Juliana Schafer
Kevin Valek
Winston & Strawn

2020 Youth Leadership Award Winners

Isabel Gaspar

John E. Rooney Dynamic Scholar

Darrion O’Neal

Steans Family Youth Leadership Award

D’aaliyah Hamilton

Youth Leadership Awards

Sulamita Alvarez

Youth Leadership Awards

Angelo M

Youth Leadership Awards

Hector Webber

College Undergraduate Success Program

Cesar Reyes

College Undergraduate Success Program

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