MEET THE INNOVATORS

THE SOCIAL CHANGER

TODD BELCORE

As a national award-winning policy advocate, lawyer, non-profit Co-Founder, and adjunct law professor, Todd Belcore uses his time and talent to serve those living in poverty and the Chicago community at large. While at the Shriver Center, he led efforts to pass criminal justice reform legislation, represented clients with criminal records and training attorneys/advocates on policy advocacy. He has also penned various works on justice reform and access to opportunity which were published by the Huffington Post and the White House Blog.

Currently, Todd is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Social Change where he facilitates community trainings and advises advocates/organizations that are seeking to build or accelerate their local and national policy advocacy efforts. He developed Social Change’s strategic vision and spearheads all marketing and fundraising initiatives. The Chicago International Social Change Film Festival is the organization’s signature event and Belcore’s brainchild.



THE PEACEKEEPER

JESSICA DISU

Jessica Disu, also known as FM Supreme, uses language as a tool for positive change. She’s a three-time international performing poet, artist, activist and educator who describes herself as a “humanitarian rap artist.” As a two-time champion of “Louder Than a Bomb,” the Chicago youth poetry slam festival, Jessica has served as coach and youth leader helping young writers develop their voice. Her commitment to mentoring youth extends across the globe.  Jessica has toured in all over Southeast Asia and shared the stage with international known influencers like Russell Simmons, Common, MC Lyte, Nick Cannon, Spike Lee and Melissa Harris-Perry, among many others. 

Jessica is a champion of peace and actively works in at-risk communities to decrease inner city violence. She founded the Chicago International Youth Peace Movement and co-founded The Peace Exchange, a community-based, educationally focused and young adult-led effort to understand violence and foster peace in some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods. In addition, Jessica works to positively uplift Black males in the media through Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement.



































THE TRANSFORMER

JERALD GARY

Jerald Gary is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Community Capital Investment Partners (CCIP) and Chairman of the Chicago Regal Foundation. Before founding both entities, Jerald held various roles in enterprise technology management and developed derivative trading strategies. His career began as a Portfolio Manager at LaSalle Global Securities and Trust Services, where he managed the risk and administration of derivatives.

Jerald led the effort to rescue the historic Chicago Regal Theater from bankruptcy in 2014, and the company is now finalizing its renovation plans and planning a series of kickoff events for later this year. Gary’s vision is to create much-needed development in the South shore community with the theater potentially jumpstart the neighborhood’s economy, bringing tourism and jobs to the area.

THE EDUCATION REFORMER

JAHMAL COLE

Jahmal Cole is an advocate for education reform and frequently speaks at colleges in the Chicagoland area about improving schools. Jahmal is the author of The Torch of Decency: Rekindling the Spirit of Community Organizations, Athletes & MC's and 50 Excuses: to not Follow your Dreams.  

Recognized for his contributions to the community, he is the recipient of many awards, including a 2012 Certificate of Appreciation from Governor Pat Quinn, 2012 Chicago Ideas Award Winner presented by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, 2013 Scion Motivate Winner presented by Toyota, 2013 John Lennon Song Writing Grand Prize Award Winner, and 2013 Cook County Juvenile Detention Center Volunteer Award. He was appointed as honorary chair of State of Black Chicago Steering Committee by Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court and named one of Huffington Post's 15 Inspiring Chicagoans. Most recently, he has successfully launched a groundbreaking social initiative entitled "My Block, My Hood, My City,” where he takes teenagers from underserved Chicago communities on City Wide explorations.  Jahmal is also a member of the Mayors Youth Advisor Council on Gun Violence and Restorative Communities.


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