July 28, 2014

Boosting Self-Reliance for Those in Need

I like to surround myself with people who are driven, people who take it upon themselves to pursue their own happiness, people who seek to better themselves and improve their lives and the lives of those around them.  I am a firm believer that if each of us were on that path, the world, our country, our state, our city and our neighborhoods would be better places.  However, it is naïve of me to think that we are all on that path.  It is naïve of me to think that everyone was taught those principles early on.  It is naïve of me to think that everyone can get back on that path on their own.

In 2010, my colleagues at Kenway Consulting and I sought to find a charity to benefit from our first annual charity golf outing; a charity whose mission, whose charter, stood for many of the principles that we personally, and as a company, have adopted.  We wanted to find a charity that didn’t simply provide hand-outs.  Don’t get me wrong, there are great people and great charities that do wonderful work by providing hand-outs.  However, we wanted to find a charity who championed self-reliance, as we believed it was critical to align our philanthropic efforts (i.e. financial, voluntary, advisory) with a charity that taught the many principles we held dear.  We found that charity in Inspiration Corporation.

Kenway’s involvement with Inspiration Corporation has now included hosting 4 golf outings, sponsoring Inspiration Corporation’s signature event, One Inspired Evening, each of the last 4 years and volunteering as a group 6 times per year serving meals.  To fully explain all that Inspiration Corporation does in this space is daunting, so I will try to summarize.  You may have heard of Inspiration Kitchens, two public-facing restaurants (one in Uptown, one in Garfield Park).  However, behind the scenes, they do so much more.  They serve as job skills training centers in the culinary space, providing training and job placement to Chicago’s homeless and near-homeless population.  In addition to the Inspiration Kitchens’ job training programs, there are also other job readiness programs, including interview training, resume assistance, and more.  To get people out of homelessness, employment is key, but so is a roof over one’s head.  To that end, Inspiration Corporation provides 160 housing units to over 300 formerly homeless people.  Other support services they provide include a meals program, serving roughly 36,000 meals annually, all served by loyal and dedicated volunteers who wait on tables rather than sending participants through a soup line.  The atmosphere of dignity permeates everything this great charity does, including other services such as addiction counseling, healthy-living workshops, etc.

Going back to those original points I made about people pursuing their own happiness, seeking to better themselves and improve their lives and the lives of those around them, I want to say a word about the participants of Inspiration Corporation.  Before coming to Inspiration Corporation, for various reasons, they fell off that path of continued self-reliance and self-betterment.  In some cases, they were on a path quite the opposite.  However, the steps they are now taking to seek betterment, to seek employment, to seek a clean and sober life, and to seek active, positive contribution to our community, is a wonderful first step.  To me, this step they are taking warrants praise, recognition and, when available, assistance from those willing to provide it.  Inspiration Corporation’s tag line is “Catalyst for Self-Reliance.”  I think those words speak volumes about their goals and their intent.

Kenway Consulting is hosting its 5th Annual Charity Golf Outing Benefitting Inspiration Corporation, and is trying to spread the word about this great event to solicit help.  This year, we are hosting the event at Carillon Golf Club in Plainfield, IL on Friday, September 12th, 2014.  And we’d love to see you there.  Help can come in many forms: from golfing, to buying raffle tickets, to sponsoring holes.  We have already raised some amazing raffle items, including hotel stays at the JW Marriott Hotel Chicago and Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago, Bears tickets, Bulls tickets, Second City tickets and various restaurant gift certificates.  And this year, we are including a $10K Cash Raffle, selling only 200 tickets at $100 apiece.  This will result in $10K raised for Inspiration Corporation and $10K awarded at the event, including $7K for first prize, $2K for third prize and $1K for third prize.  And you do NOT need to be there to win!

We hope that you are inspired to help, to enjoy a Friday afternoon outdoors, to buy some raffle tickets or to sponsor a hole.  All the information and instructions can be found  We look forward to seeing you there.

How Can We Help?