Better Business Bureau Report for
Urban Initiatives

Better Business Bureau Report issued January 2016
Better Business Bureau Report expires January 2018

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Urban Initiatives
Address: 650 W. Lake St - Suite 340
  Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: 312-715-1763
Web Address:
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Year, State Incorporated: 2003, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: Our mission is to empower Chicago’s underserved children to adopt healthy lifestyles, improve their academic performance, and build strong character through sports-based youth development programs.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Urban Initiatives does not meet the following Standard for Charity Accountability.

Standard 1: Oversight of Operations and Staff - Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

Urban Initiatives does not meet this Standard because its board of directors does not:

  • Review the performance of the chief executive officer at least once every two years.
In addition, the BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s effectiveness measures, solicitation materials, annual report, donor privacy, and fundraising disclosures and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following 8Standards for Charity Accountability: 6, 7, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.
Urban Initiatives meets the remaining 11 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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We have three programs at Urban Initiatives: Work to Play, Take the Lead, and Play with Potential. Work to Play provides children in grades K-4 with the chance to belong to a soccer team, regardless of skill level. Children are taught important lessons about health, character, and teamwork by their coach. Membership means two practices and one game per week throughout the school year. Ongoing team participation depends on meeting academic and behavioral standards, as measured by their teachers on a weekly basis. Take the Lead engages the most promising and motivated Work to Play alumni in grades 5-8. Participants are nominated by their coaches, and fill the role of Team Captain on Work to Play teams. Through this opportunity, they learn the merits of leadership, academic persistence, and community service, all while navigating the significant period of early adolescent development. They participate in all Work to Play sessions plus engage with adult mentors in small group skill-building sessions and bi-monthly cross-Chicago Take the Lead Retreats. Play with Potential aims to maximize the health, academic, and social and emotional learning benefits of recess periods. The program is offered to all students in a school, K-8, and aims? to maximize students’ opportunities for physical activity, while promoting cooperation and teamwork. We have dedicated on-site staff and a broad recess curriculum that includes equipment.

For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2014, Urban Initiatives's program expenses were:

work to play 647,515
recess/play with potential 541,104
salaries 358,218
take the lead 21,938
coaches corps 561
healthy places
Total Program Expenses: $1,569,336
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Chief Executive : Jim Dower, Executive Director

Chair of the Board: Ralf Hilpuesch
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Chief Executive Officer, Stork USA

Board Size: 25

Paid Staff Size: 164

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, telephone, invitations to fund raising events, grant proposals
Fund raising costs were 6% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $1,217,477, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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Source of Funds  
Donations and Grants 857,500
Program Service Fees 702,880
Soccer Ball Event 346,010
Halloween Party 12,777
Miscellaneous Income 6,518
Other Events 1,190
Interest Income 6
Total Income $1,926,881


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 86%  Fund Raising: 4%  Administrative: 2%  Other Expenses: 8%

Total income $1,926,881
Program expenses $1,569,336
Fund raising expenses 69,915
Administrative expenses 38,165
Other Expenses 155,843
Total expenses $1,833,259
Income in Excess of Expenses 93,622
Beginning net assets 461,476
Ending net assets 547,998
Total liabilities 68,638
Total assets $616,636

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

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