Dr. Towns 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.
**This course was formerly known as KPPI-917-A/KPPI-917-B**
The bar for success in business has been radically raised-society's expectations of the private sector have never been greater, and today's C-suite understands that responsible business leadership is not only about share value, but about shared value. Responsible business practices are critical to the sustainability of financial success as well as to a company's and a leader's legacy in addressing the most pressing challenges of our day. PwC's Chief Purpose Officer, Shannon Schuyler, will teach this course about purpose within and across the enterprise. The course will explore the role of personal and corporate purpose when organizations respond and react to forces like: current megatrends such as urbanization, climate change, resource scarcity, and more; incidents and global shifts like disasters, Brexit, immigration and refugee challenges; the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and sustainability benchmarking; governmental and other partnerships, regulation, and global and social policy. This course will be both enlightening and thought-provoking on the evolving and increasingly important role of business in resolving some of society's most critical issues.