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Malik Bader

Board Member

Malik Bader is an award-winning filmmaker, designer, and entrepreneur. Malik was born in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and takes pride in having not only lived in — but also owned and operated — culturally significant businesses in many of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods. Malik has been long involved with artistic endeavors, having founded numerous recognized establishments, including The Yard, MIxshop and Supreme Records. Malik has also been recognized for his design and development work. Recently, Malik has embarked on a journey to partner with civic and community organizations to find ways to reduce violence and bring opportunity and prosperity to the many residents of his beloved community.

Rob Debonnett

Board Member

Rob DeBonnett, a life-long Chicago resident, has produced, composed and recorded more than 500 original tracks with singers, songwriters, producers, beat makers and musicians throughout Chicagoland. His music career also spans performing artist management; producer, band and recording contract negotiations; and the creation of a recording studio to service a cross-section of recording artists and bands. In addition, Rob has served as a community organizer, activist, non-profit and community organization consultant, and social justice/youth advocate throughout his professional life. Notably, he has successfully supported placed-at-risk young males entangled in the city’s juvenile criminal justice system while working with parents, judges, prosecutors, public defenders and educators.

Rick Gray

Board Chairman

A 40-year Chicago 25th Ward resident, Rick Gray brings strong organizational leadership experience, professional services, marketing expertise, and community activism. He is an investor, Board member, and community partner advisor with Social Venture Partners – Chicago (SVP). SVP exists to leverage philanthropic talent, expertise and financial resources to scale the impact of community organizations dedicated to lifting the City’s underserved neighborhoods. Through his work with SVP, Rick has directly consulted to social impact ventures such as Chicago Eco House, Ladies of Virtue, and Metropolitan Tenants Organization. A member of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, Rick also serves on private company and other non-profit boards.

Sam Kirk

Board Member

Sam Kirk is Chicago based multidisciplinary artist, who explores culture and identity politics. Her artwork focuses on a variety of intersections which encompass a call to celebrate differences and enact change. Vivid and powerful images of women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and those who have historically been underrepresented are celebrated in narratives that share the journeys that have made them who they are. Kirk’s artwork, much like her life, has been an on-going narrative about how life’s experiences impact our identity. Her vibrant color palette, intricate line-work and layered backgrounds highlight cultural communities via multi-toned figures recalled from memories of her travels throughout the world. Kirk’s public murals often address social issues, as she intentionally uses the public space to spark dialogue around topics of equality and visibility for women, communities of color, and the LGBTQIA community. Her work has been featured in top publications such as O Magazine, Forbes, and recently was listed as one of the top 50 Artists of 2020 in Chicago by New City Magazine.

Dre Rodriguez

CEO, Executive Director, and Board Member

Dre Rodriguez, born and raised in Pilsen, is a filmmaker, activist, and youth mentor. After serving 10 years in federal prison, Dre, a former gang member, decided upon release that he would work to provide opportunities for youth that might deter them from making some of the same bad decisions that almost cost him his life.  In 2019, Dre founded Luv City Media, a Chicago-based production company that gives placed-at-risk youth a creative outlet to express themselves; in 2022 with the support of community partners, Luv City became a 501(c)3 non-profit.  Dre continues to partner with other community leaders, organizations, and artists to bring resources and opportunities to youth in the community. Dre hopes to inspire young people to believe in their talents and push them to pursue the greatness he sees in them.

Jennifer Ventimiglia

Board Member and Treasurer

Jennifer Ventimiglia is a lifelong learner, passionate educational leader, and advocate.  For two decades she has traversed the globe, teaching English Learners in Washington, DC and Oakland, CA, volunteering through Peace Corps in Nicaragua, coaching teachers in Chile, serving through Fulbright as a Project-Based Learning Curriculum Specialist in the Czech Republic, and training teachers and educational leaders through Georgetown University in Perú.  Dedicated to her own education, she holds a Master’s degree in Teaching from American University, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from University of California Berkeley, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership with a Global Studies focus.  Currently serving as a school principal and as Luv City’s COO, Jennifer is grateful to have the opportunity to create safe spaces for youth to pursue their interests, unlock their full potential, and disrupt oppressive systems.