is a scholar, activist and practitioner, dedicated to helping solve civic and urban issues at the structural level. William is the Executive Director of Benefit Chicago, one of the first please based impact investment collaborations in the country, bring together The Chicago Community Trust, The MacArthur Foundation and Calvert Impact Capital to mobilize $100 million in impact investments targeting the social enterprise sector in the Chicago region.
He came to Benefit Chicago from the University of Chicago, where he was an Assistant Vice President and led the Office of Civic Engagement’s Anchor Strategies. In this role, his work focused on building community and civic partnerships. He also specialized in developing faculty-led community research projects, cultivating student engagement opportunities, and managing local government relations. Many of the projects William spearheaded were designed to improve the quality of life on the South Side of Chicago in areas of education, housing, public safety, business diversity, job creation and community engagement planning for university development projects.
William has served as one of the architects of the University of Chicago's model of civic engagement, as a part of this work he, lead the office of Civic Engagements first anchor strategic plan. This plan looked to encourage and support businesses hiring locally, deepening the engagement with the arts and cultural institutions, support research that advances the understanding of evidence-based interventions at a systemic level and advancing campus developments that contribute to the sustainability of a shared community. He was a part of the community engagement campaign along with university senior leaders, community partners, and other key stakeholders that secured the siting of the Obama Presidential Center.
He received his BA from Loyola University Chicago, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. from Benedictine University, where his research in organizational psychology focuses on corporate social responsibility. Dr. Towns believes his goal is to use research to help cities, anchor institutions, and nonprofits to develop policies and initiatives that welcome those who stand just outside the door of opportunity to the table of prosperity.
Minya Nance is the Director of Strategic Student Experience and has been at Kellogg for 6 years. In her role, she is focused on diversity, equity and inclusion at Kellogg. Her work helps to identify ways to foster inclusion at Kellogg and design and execute cross-cultural leadership development opportunities. Prior to this role she served as Director of Admissions Operations, creating the strategy and leading the operational execution of creating a seamless admissions process for applicants. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Miami University and a Master of Science in Social Administration degree from Case Western Reserve University.
Minya has a deep dedication towards her own development and the development of others to better understand and leverage diverse perspectives, experiences and backgrounds to enhance the communities and organizations that they serve. She is thrilled with the opportunity to serve as an advisor this year for Kellogg’s GIM trip to South Africa.