i.c.stars President & Co-Founder Sandee Kastrul Awarded Prestigious Chicago Community Trust Fellowship

i.c.stars President & Co-Founder Sandee Kastrul Awarded Prestigious Chicago Community Trust Fellowship

Chicago—August 24, 2016 The Chicago Community Trust selected Inner-City Computer Stars Foundation (i.c.stars) President and Co-founder Sandee Kastrul as one of eight Trust Fellows of 2015. Recognizing Kastrul’s outstanding nonprofit leadership and commitment, the Fellowship afforded her unprecedented opportunities for professional development and organizational growth.

“Sandee’s work at i.c.stars exemplifies the community leadership that this Fellowship was created to recognize,” said Terry Mazany president and chief executive officer of The Chicago Community Trust.

By attending the Skoll World Forum in London, the TED Women’s Conference, and the CUSP design conference, Kastrul leveraged the Fellowship to grow her social capital and engage technologists, social entrepreneurs and other thought leaders. Kastrul also met potential investors and advocates for i.c.stars, the technology workforce development nonprofit and social enterprise she co-founded, which is expanding nationally in 2016.

“The most meaningful aspect of the conference that resonates with me daily is the notion that the opposite of dignity is dependency,” said Kastrul, describing the Skoll Forum. “This impacts the programs we build, the poverty mentality in our sector, and the inherent tension with the social design principle – of being able to finish what we start to create lasting impact.”

The Fellowship will have a lasting effect on i.c.stars. Activities included quarterly peer learning sessions with the other Fellows including Janine Lewis of EverThrive Illinois, Juan Carlos Linares of LUCHA, and David Sinski of Heartland Alliance, among others. Kastrul also worked with a professional coach and conducted a comprehensive leadership assessment.

“From unpacking privilege and designing programs for happiness and scale at the Skoll World Forum, to growing organizational impact by recognizing the power of change and equity, the Fellowship activities helped me recognize my strengths and adapt and design in a way that is equitable and creates equity,” added Kastrul.

Lessons and insights from the Fellowship will be included in a forthcoming book by Kastrul, Change and Equity.

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About Inner-City Computer Stars Foundation (i.c.stars)
Formed in 1999, Inner-City Computer Stars Foundation (i.c.stars) is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization and social enterprise that prepares young adults for technology careers and community leadership. Using project-based learning and full-immersion teaching, i.c.stars has trained more than 330 individuals in Chicago, and places 95 percent of qualified graduates in jobs. Alumni see their annual earnings increase by an average of 450 percent as a result of the program. In 2016, i.c.stars created Enterprise Next, a lean startup incubator and social investment fund to jumpstart alumni businesses. Learn more at www.icstars.org.

A Measurable Impact

Initial placement rate:
90%
Industry retention rate:
81%
College attendance rate:
55%
Alumni actively engaged in their communities:
72%
Average 12-month earnings before program:
$10,790
Average 12-month earnings after program:
$44,010