Chicago Anchors For A Strong Economy Q1 2016 Newsletter.
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Q3 2016 Newsletter 

Mission: Neighborhood Impact

Our first strategic plan in 2015 was laser-focused on how to be a better matchmaker. In 2016, we took that further by launching of CASE’s proprietary Diagnostic Tool and working with Supply Chain Integrators (SCI) for targeted matchmaking. As a result of our efforts, I’m thrilled to share CASE’s first success story between an anchor and SCI – Iron Mountain. (More details in our SCI and Business Spotlight.)

As we celebrate the successes, CASE also takes time to reflect and assess where we can continuously improve and refine our approach. For me, this is the most challenging and exciting part of running CASE - our ability and need to adapt. To an outsider, what may appear as a constant state of change, CASE views as continually learning from our stakeholders and applying those insights to enhance and evolve the strategic plan.

At the core of this evolution is our mission to collectively impact neighborhood economic development through local purchasing, hiring and investment. This mission expands our mandate beyond procurement to hiring and investments made by anchors. What we learned is that our approach to economic development will not be complete without impacting workforce within our neighborhoods, the first critical element of our evolved strategic plan.  

The second component is how we execute it through the platform-project model. The platform aggregates data from anchors, businesses and community partners (ABCs) to implement projects. This model creates value for the anchors to view CASE as a shared utility (that can save anchors’ resources by pooling and sharing) with the expectation of advancing neighborhood economic development. CASE needs all our stakeholders to endorse the idea of the platform and its value delivery to our ABCs.

Anchors realize the model’s value through efficiencies created by reduced committed staff time and internal resources to fulfill their procurement and hiring needs. Chicagoland businesses benefit with demand-driven matchmaking. And finally, community partners value the information gathered through the platform to inform their programming and execute on high-impact projects in distressed neighborhoods.

What does this all mean? Stakeholders now have more tools to accomplish their goals through CASE and we become better at understanding the demand and creating collective impact.

Nitika Nautiyal, Executive Director
Our Impact


Community Partner Spotlight

CASE is excited to announce its partnership with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (Skills).
Launched in September 2012, Skills is a public-private partnership that meets the hiring needs of employers by offering innovative solutions to place qualified, under and unemployed candidates into available positions. Skills’ demand-driven model is unique among organizations that serve the unemployed and underemployed. Rather than starting with the individual (supply) looking for a job, Skills starts with the company (demand) that has the job.
Skills fosters deep partnerships with employers to understand their talent needs, and then connects them with qualified job seekers. CASE and Skills align in their approach as demand-driven organizations. Since its launch, Skills has placed more than 3,000 job seekers into positions at over 50 Chicagoland employers. Through an independent study to be released in November 2016, Skills has demonstrated its impact through increasing placed candidates’ wages and benefits, as well as reducing reliance on government assistance.
Skills has received national recognition for its demand-driven model, including officials at the White House, U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Commerce. In the next three years, Skills aims to establish a national network of affiliate sites. Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, Skills’ first replication site, launched earlier this year.
As small businesses succeed in contracting with anchor institutions through CASE, the small businesses will commit to build capacity or expand their staff to support the contract’s execution. In addition, Skills assists a number of CASE anchors by helping them find talent within their communities. Through their partnership with Skills, CASE aims to support both anchors and small businesses by connecting them with qualified, under and unemployed talent, working toward our common goal of creating economic opportunity throughout Chicago.
For more information, visit their website or contact Cherita Ellens, VP of Business Operations and Communication, with any questions.

SCI and Business Spotlight      
Connecting Local Businesses to Supply Chain Integrators

“You are talking to the wrong guy” was the message when CASE would contact anchor procurement offices in certain categories. These categories were the outsourced functions of an organization’s supply chain to distributors such as food and facilities management companies, security firms, tier 1 service providers and others. We didn’t fully understand the opportunity until CASE conducted a spend analysis revealing high volumes of transactions executed by what we call supply chain integrators or SCIs.
How does CASE tap into this huge segment? We saw the opportunity and devised our ‘SCI Engagement’ strategy with the goal of bringing these intermediaries to the discussion and offering a solution which will work for them and through them ultimately for the Anchors. Earlier this year, CASE held an event inviting Anchors and 10 SCIs to kick off our SCI Engagement program.
Recently, the CASE team worked with Iron Mountain, a leading provider of information storage and management solutions, to overcome an obstacle they faced in the RFP process with an anchor.
“We had the technical knowledge to execute this contract, but we lacked a critical element for winning it: leveraging certified local, women and minority-owned businesses,” said Steven James, Vice President and General Manager, Iron Mountain. “Many Anchors place great value on diversity inclusion, specifically including diverse suppliers. After attending two CASE meetings, I knew reaching out to CASE for help was a perfect opportunity to experience the benefits it provides.”
Anchor Relationship Manager Kathryn Yaros provided Iron Mountain with business partner recommendations that would meet the local MBE/WBE criteria. On that list was Anchor Staffing, Inc., a firm that specializes in innovative workforce solutions. Led by CEO Joyce Johnson, Anchor Staffing is a local MBE/WBE-certified CASE participant.
Iron Mountain selected Anchor Staffing to partner for the RFP. The outcome of this strategic partnership resulted in the team securing the contract with the CASE anchor - The University of Chicago - resulting in 20-30 quality contingent jobs in local Chicago neighborhoods.
“Winning The University of Chicago contract was an entry point for us,” said Steven. “Without CASE’s recommendations, it would have been difficult for Iron Mountain to secure otherwise.”
According to Joyce, Anchor Staffing’s goal is to place talent near the communities in which they live, furthering the economic strength of Chicago neighborhoods.
“When I visit clients served by Iron Mountain and see Anchor Staffing’s placements working as full-time employees, I feel pride and a deep sense of accomplishment – and I know for now, my work is done,” added Joyce.
Although the majority of Anchor Staffing’s business operates in Chicago and Illinois, Joyce explains that they have expanded into Ohio and Miami.
“I want to go national, but I don’t want to endure the financial commitment to open a specific office outside of Chicago,” added Joyce. “However, this contract gives us the right exposure and positions Anchor Staffing to serve Iron Mountain nationally.”
Kathryn shared that this particular CASE story is a win on so many fronts. “Anchor Staffing provided the missing piece of Iron Mountain’s proposal in the RFP process.  Anchor Staffing’s partnership with Iron Mountain is opening new doors for the company to explore new markets. Keeping the work local, creating synergy among CASE businesses and anchors – these are the ultimate wins and no better proof point that CASE is making a difference.”

New CASE Team Members

Pictured (L to R): Michelle Miller (Fellow), Guillermo Dominguez-Garcia (Intern), and Esteban Perez (Intern) joined the CASE team at the beginning of September and will be working with CASE through the fall.


CASE Website 

We are pleased to share our re-designed website. Please visit to learn more about our program, as well as find helpful links and resources.

CASE Symposium

During our business impact surveys, we asked if there was anyone at an anchor institution who stands out for being helpful to the businesses in navigating complex procurement processes. While several staff members from the offices of procurement were nominated, six of them emerged winners and were recognized as “Advocate for Small Businesses” by the CASE team at our symposium on August 25th. Please join us in congratulating these six individuals for their work to build the resources needed to support small businesses:

1. Sheila Watkins, Northwestern University
2. John Andrews, Rush University Medical Center
3. Peter Della Vedova, ComEd
4. Sharla Roberts, University of Illinois at Chicago
5. Jessica Turner, BMO Harris Bank
6. Roslyn Johnson, University of Chicago

Jonathan Salzman from Next Street was also recognized for his contributions as a guide and coach to many businesses through the cohorts in 2014 and 2015. 

Click here to view photos from the August 2016 CASE Symposium.


Friday, October 14 I 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
CASE Conference: Driving Collective Impact through Anchor Collaboration 
University of Illinois at Chicago, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. 


Thanks to everyone who has already registered for the CASE conference on October 14. If you would like to still register or know others who want to participate, please visit the registration page for an overview or to sign up. We would love to have our anchors and community partners represented in full force! Click here to view the conference agenda. 

Please contact Reuben Waddy at for special discounts available to anchors and community partners.

Monday, October 17 I 8:00 AM-7:00 PM
Chicago Supply Chain & Sustainability Summit
Four Seasons Chicago,120 E. Delaware Pl.

CASE Anchors

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