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.
Measures of business success have changed as the expectations of consumers, investors and employees shift beyond such basic key performance indicators of free cash flows, revenue growth rates, and inventory turnover. Today's businesses are also assessed on their contributions to address many of today's most pressing social ills, such as climate change, economic disparity, and structural discrimination.
William W. Towns, Ph.D., MBA founding Executive Director of Benefit Chicago will teach this course about purpose within and across the enterprise. This course will examine how companies are responding to this challenge through the use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies. You will gain an understanding of CSR's key concepts and its continued evolution, learn how to create organizational shared value through a Corporate Social Innovation framework, explore specific examples of successful CSR strategy implementation, and come away better equipped to identify innovative CSR opportunities and approaches.
Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) is an international experiential learning course designed to provide students with an introduction to the unique business opportunities, management practices and market dynamics of a specific region or global industry. The course combines in-class lectures, reading discussions and case studies during the winter quarter with ten days of international field research over spring break. Immersed in the culture and language of their host countries, students will have the opportunity to meet with local business and government leaders, conduct interviews and collect data for their group research projects, and experience some of the unique social and cultural facets of the region. Final presentations and written research reports are due in spring quarter after completion of the overseas portion of the class. Each class section is taught by a faculty member with deep knowledge of the region or industry and supported by an advisor from the Kellogg staff who assists students in planning the field experience. Students are financially responsible for their travel costs, and financial aid is available to those who qualify.