A New Set of Voqal Grants in Chicago

Today Voqal  announced a series of new grants here in Chicago. Here’s a snip from their press release:

The Voqal Fund is pleased to announce six new grants to organizations working in the Chicago area to enhance the community and strengthen social equity. The grants  to Chicago Filmmakers (Chicago Digital Media Production Fund), BYP100, Illinois Coalition for  Immigrant and Refugee Rights, City Bureau, State Innovation Exchange (SiX) and Illinois  Humanities reflect Voqal Fund’s commitment to support progressive movements for social

Being a part of the Voqal board is one of my great joys. I am personally invested in many of these grants. The work of stitching together a coherent set of workers— led by Voqal program officer Leah Pryor-Lease—  is very much worth doing.

Here’s the complete press release.

City Bureau 2015 at the Firehouse

Gordon Tech Inspiration Celebration: 2014 Inspiring Minds Award

This evening I was honored at my alma mater. Here’s some details:

Gordon Tech College Prep will host the 2nd Annual Inspiration Celebration honoring minds that inspire. The gathering will showcase the school, its talented community and its unique partnership with DePaul University which started in October of 2012. The event usually draws 300 Chicago area business and civic leaders, philanthropists, educators, clergymen, prospective and current families.  The event will raise $250,000-$300,000 in support of student academic scholarships and programs. The 2014 honorees are: Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of the Resurrection (award received by Fr. Gary Hogan), the founders and sponsors of Gordon Tech College Prep and 3 gentlemen from the Class of 1985: Alderman Harry Osterman, 48th Ward, Daniel O’Neil, Executive Director, Smart Chicago and Barry Rodgers, Principal, Lake Forest High School and former principal of Northside College Prep.

I wrote a blog post in preparation for the evening. Here’s a snip:

I’ve written quite a bit about the focus of my Catholic energy here: Easter Morning for an Urban American Catholic in an Age of Misplaced Catholic Energy. This was written prior to the ascendency of Pope Francis. You can understand that I’m stoked about him and his social justice agenda. Some other links:

I am passionate about helping Gordon Tech move into their future as DePaul College Prep, Fr. Gordon Campus, so I am going to be tweeting/ posting/ going on about this event for the next couple of weeks. Thank you for your patience and buy your tickets now.

Here’s remarks by Mary Dempsey, Vice Chair of the Gordon Tech Board of Directors and President of the Philip H. Corboy Foundation upon presenting the award:

Daniel X. O’Neil After graduating from Gordon Tech, Dan O’Neil went on to receive a BA in English and Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  He has focused his work in Chicago on the integration of the Internet and technology with public policy, strategy, and communication for the benefit of nonprofits, schools, small and large businesses and government.  As a result, Dan has been at the forefront of initiatives that keep people informed and make their lives better.  He’s the creator of CTA Tweet and CTA Alerts which are used by thousands of Chicago commuters every day.  He’s also one of the cofounders of EveryBlock, which brings government data and information to the public in meaningful and accessible formats and represents one of the more innovative journalism initiatives of the last decade.  Currently, Dan is the first Executive Director of Smart Chicago, a civic organization devoted to improving lives through technology.  Smart Chicago focuses on creating and supporting open technologies that connect Chicagoans with data, opportunities and information that improve health, education, government and quality of life.  Dan has been extraordinarily helpful to Gordon by facilitating a significant grant from the Voqal Fund that will allow us to upgrade our applied sciences equipment in the woodshop and engineering spaces, technology and art studio to create a 21st century Maker Space this summer.  Dan is also deeply committed to Catholic education.  He teaches religious education in area CCD classes and supports the role of Catholic schools as integral to the future of our city.  For his work to bring technology and information to all people and for his dedication and support for Catholic education, we are proud to present Daniel X. O’Neil with the 2014 Inspiring Minds Award.

Here’s some pics:

Here’s more info from the Gordon Tech website:

As a Catholic, co-ed, college preparatory institution, with 4 straight years of enrollment growth, Gordon prides itself on offering an innovative and highly personalized approach to learning. The school currently boasts a 99% graduation rate and 99% college acceptance rate. The students are a diverse group, coming from over 42 different zip codes and 15 different countries. Gordon students are 37% Hispanic, 24% Caucasian, 16% African American, 10% Asian and 13% Multi-Racial. This year alone, Gordon seniors have been accepted into great universities across the country including: Marquette, Loyola, Babson University, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, DePaul, Bradley, and the University of Iowa. This list continues to grow.

In October 2012, Gordon and DePaul University announced an academic partnership which has already yielded tremendous results, including collaborations with DePaul’s Schools of Education, Music, and Theatre; open use of the University Library; development of a new strategic plan, vision and mission statements; and the initiation of an International Baccalaureate candidacy.

This year we have hired a top-notch principal, secured grants for Connected Learning and Maker Spaces, and revamped the college coaching program, among many other initiatives, as we work to provide a top-tier educational option. We are thrilled by the new programs and progress at the school, and wish to extend an invitation to support the Inspiration Celebration and to join us on May 12th at Gordon Tech College Prep as we pay tribute to our remarkable honorees.

At Gordon, we are dedicated to providing the finest academic opportunities to our students. Tuition alone does not cover our costs and so we are turning to you to help us raise the funds we need to continue the momentum and energy already underway.

Independent Government Observers Task Force

I helped organize and participated in the Independent Government Observers Task Force

Municipal Governments (Working Group Chair: Daniel X. O’Neil). This group will focus on issues involved in citizens attempting to build interfaces around municipal government data. Technical issues such as harvesting techniques and presentation techniques will be covered, as will social issues such as negotiating for the release of public data.

Seal of the Great Seal of Approval

The conference was sponsored in part by public.resource.org.

Andy Kane Art

Created a simple, quick website for a friend and a great artist, Andy Kane Art.

  • Site is built on WordPress and uses the Hemingway theme. Using flexible, feature-filled WordPress themes allows you to stand on the shoulders of giants and still make custom sites that meet specific needs
  • Uses the WordPress Contact Form plugin– very simple to configure, but places in-line styles on every site page. Great for a quickie site like this
  • Installed the FAlbum WordPress plugin,  which uses the Flickr API to deliver images from a specific set in my Flickr account. The result are easy-to-update photo albums that are embedded into the main website but served offsite.
  • Encourages people who’ve purchased art from Andy Kane to upload to Flickr and tag with “andykane“– using free, offsite tools to develop community, build interest, and increase search engine optimization
  • Uses a free TypePad weblog to publish Andy’s poetry book, American Radio Waves. TypePad design mimics color, font, and other styles of the main site w/o needing a new WordPress install. The right tool for the right job

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Dozens of Classroom Sites for a Private Elementary School in Chicago

Development and training on website development using the TypePad Weblog Content Management system already installed and ready for further use. This includes the creation of sites for all teacher classrooms and all approved parent, teacher, and student organizations. Also includes development, launch and consultation on the Moodle open source learning management system.Deliverables:Websites/ Weblogs•    Complete design and set-up of up to three separate templates for different site types (classroom, parent, sport, for example) in consultation with client•    Develop and configure all websites•    Develop custom training materials for all site authors•    Up to 5 training sessions with up to 20 people per sessionMoodle Learning Management System•    Consultation with designated client contact re: goals and objectives•    Review Moodle configuration options•    Run through the Moodle installation & configuration process with designated client contact•    Ongoing consultation, optimization, and researchWeb-Based Calendar System•    Consultation with designated client contact re: calendar goals and objectives•    Source and configure suitable calendar tool

Queen of Angels Parish Website

Queen of Angels Catholic Parish ChicagoIn 2004 I implemented an innovative, sophisticated website system for Queen of Angels Catholic Parish in Chicago, IL. The strategy uses an emerging technology—the TypePad hosted weblog solution—to deliver 20 separate websites at various URLs with over 30 content managers. This strategy is relevant for any large organization with lots of people and a wide variety of missions (to coin a term).

  • Created a large, 300-page website that is easy to maintain
  • Designed and rolled out training to dozens of content contributors, many of whom didn’t even have an email account when the project started
  • Conceived of this mildly chaotic, trust-based content management system that gives the right to publish directly into the hands of the people who have the content
  • The site is published in both English and Spanish when available
  • Different designs for different URLs
  • All in one $15/ month tool

With just a little bit of imagination, it’s not hard to see how the structure of this site—a centrally maintained main site with n number of subsites that surround it—can be applied to the corporate structure.