Client Spotlight-Making a Difference!

Client Spotlight: Forward Momentum Chicago

Forward Momentum Chicago (FMC) provides high-quality, affordable dance education programs to children in lesser served communities that would not have access to dance education. Although FMC is a fairly new organization, its Founder and Executive Director Pierre Lockett has been in the Chicago dance education field for 20 years. FMC is currently in 21 schools, providing dance to 99 classrooms and over 2,400 students and hope to receive a Creative School Fund in December to expand their programming. This past summer, they had an incredibly successful inaugural Summer Dance Camp with over 65 students that attended all-day dance camp for six weeks.

In 2015, FMC came to the Art & Business Council to help them create a workflow system that gave their employees a more streamlined process to manage growth. The volunteer consultant team conducted a current and future state needs assessment, created four key job descriptions for growth and developed a system for an intern and volunteer program. This immediately led to the hire of a new marketing and communications staff member and helped Pierre more fully shift into the role of Executive Director while delegating marketing to their new hire.

After these HR changes had been made, Pierre and his team were ready to tackle their first ever strategic plan. This successful project changed the board’s perspective and helped them think about the future. Pierre and his team are already implementing their newly created strategic plan. They have restructured their board meetings, added two new board members, will hire a paid consultant to focus on fundraising and are looking for our assistance in the future with a branding and board structure project. By working with A&BC on their management areas, Forward Momentum is able to focus on what they do best: dance education.

Now that A&BC has helped FMC with its workflow and HR needs, Pierre can focus not only on being the Executive Director, but what he deems his most vital role at FMC – mentoring his students. Mentoring is important to Pierre because that's how he got where he is today; by someone taking an interest in him and taking the time to cultivate his talents. 

Pierre is paying it forward by mentoring Travon Williams for the past five years. Pierre encouraged him to take dance class with his friends after meeting him at the Joffrey Ballet. Travon and Pierre discovered he had talent and he is now a student at FMC through After School Matters. Pierre helped Travon get into the Chicago High School for the Arts where he is now a junior and has taken summer intensives around the country from Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Austin Ballet, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet and others.

Not only is Pierre guiding Travon in his goal to dance professionally but also helping to make the right decisions on everything from classes, proper attire, work ethic and how to act professionally in such a small dance world. Pierre teaches his favorite motto to students: If you can look at a situation and say you gave it 100%, then you can walk away from it.

When his students feel that they’ve given it their all and can walk away, Pierre feels that that is when he knows his work and training are complete. FMC is just one of the many A&BC client organizations making great contributions to the Chicago community.

ArtCore Announces $300,000 Multi-Year Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Ann Fink
Carol Fox and Associates
773.327.3830 x112


Funds to Support Shared Staff and Improved Programming Functionality for Arts & Business Council of Chicago, Audience Architects NFP and Chicago Cultural Alliance

CHICAGO – ArtCore, a non-merging collaborative composed of three of Chicago’s most respected non-profit organizations, Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC), Audience Architects (AARCH) and Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA)  has received a $300,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For the purposes of the grant, A&BC will serve as the fiscal agent.

The grant, which will be dispersed in the amount of $100,000 per year over a period of three years, is intended to support shared back office staff and enhance functionality for the collaborative. The initial focus in the first year will be on shared finance and operations personnel to manage financial functions, operations and human resources for the three organizations. Future years will see investment in shared programs and services that will benefit the clients and members of the partner organizations, and serve as a model for resource sharing for the national arts-service nonprofit field.

A&BC, AARCH and CCA began sharing space and back office services in 2012. This created an environment conducive to staff peer-to-peer learning, improved staff engagement and strategic joint program development. A 2014 financial and operational analysis of A&BC, AARCH and CCA keyed in on an opportunity for additional collaboration in the area of business/financial and programming operations, the benefit of which would be an economy of scale while providing more time for the staffs to focus on program delivery, improvement, and innovation. 

“The consensus of ArtCore’s  planning committee, comprised of the Executive Directors and a Board Member from each partner organization and guided by a team of consultants, was that we needed to shore up our own internal financial structure in order to grow and expand our services to Chicago’s Arts and Culture sectors. We decided our first step would be to secure a Finance and Operations director and support staff to be shared among the partner organizations. Thanks to the support from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, we were able to proceed and we’re happy to announce Chris Huaracha, previously with Equality Illinois, will be joining us effective Oct. 31 as ArtCore’s first Director of Finance and Operations and search for the support staff will follow,” says Andrew Micheli, Executive Director, Arts & Business Council of Chicago and Managing Director, ArtCore.

Arts & Business Council (Andrew Micheli, Executive Director) has been providing pro-bono support to more than 300 arts organizations a year for over 30 years. Primarily through its flagship programs Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA), which engages with and supports non-profit arts organizations through management and organizational consulting projects and On BOARD, which provides comprehensive training for board development, along with its workshops and trainings. For more information visit

Audience Architects (Heather Hartley, Executive Director) currently provides services to more than 200 organizations and has been a nationally recognized leader in the dance sector since 2006. AARCH mission is to build and engage audiences, most notably through Chicago’s primary dance-focused website,, and serve as an advocate for Chicago’s dance community. For more information, visit

Chicago Cultural Alliance (Emily Reusswig, Executive Director) is an alliance of 35 Chicago-area heritage museums, cultural centers and historical societies, spanning 24 neighborhoods and seven suburbs, representing 28 different cultures from around the world. Their mission is to connect, support and promote centers of heritage for a more inclusive and culturally vibrant region. For more information visit

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy; the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago; and generating new knowledge about critical issues. MacArthur is one of the nation's largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the Foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in India, Mexico, and Nigeria. For more information, visit

For more info about ArtCore and the grant, email Andrew Micheli, Executive Director Arts & Business Council of Chicago at or phone 312.372.1876 ext. 101. 

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