Live Case – Project

Charting New Pathways for Fundraising Success & Organizational Growth

A Collaboration Between

Project Synopsis

Parents for Peace & Justice is looking for your help exploring opportunities for diversifying and increasing fundraising streams in order to grow as an organization. As an efficiently run non-profit, we provide robust programming on a small budget thanks to partnerships, pro bono support, and the volunteer work of our board. We want to expand the organization by creating key staff positions that will help us take the organization to the next level and need a fundraising strategy that will help make this happen.

In the past, a lot of our fundraising has been community-based, but as we operate in a low-income community, we would prefer (and we think it would be strategic) for the bulk of our fundraising to come from outside of our community. We have started to find success in grant applications, but we know we are just scratching the surface in terms of possible fundraising outcomes. Success would be a road map for fundraising: different methods, how much weight we should put into each method, and a plan for who from our board or network would be in charge of carrying out each method

  • Some potential activities that would support these efforts include, but are not limited to:
    Developing a list of unexplored fundraising streams
    Identifying organization strengths and weaknesses within each fundraising type
    Creating a proposed balance of fundraising types
    Identifying systems for success (ie. committees, hiring grant writers, etc.)

Project Topics

Growth Strategy

PR & Communications

Company Information

CompanyParents for Peace & Justice
HQChicago, IL
StagePre-Revenue Startup
Hiring PotentialN/A

Company Overview

Parents for Peace and Justice (PPJ) was formed in 2013 by co-founders Elizabeth Ramirez, who lost her own son in an unsolved killing, and Robert Torres, who was touched and inspired by Elizabeth’s story -- and by her tireless passion to help others who suffered a similar fate.  PPJ, headquartered in Belmont Cragin, serves families affected by gun violence in the predominantly Latino neighborhoods of the Northwest side of Chicago: Humboldt Park, Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, and Logan Square. PPJ’s approach is three-pronged:
  1. Violence Prevention: addressing the violence before it happens through activity-focused youth programming 
  2. Healing Support: helping families cope with the enormous loss that results from violence
  3. Victim Advocacy: advocating for justice through vigils, media campaigns, and legislative advocacy
In recent years, Chicago’s crime rates have been making national headlines. Between 2015 and 2017, Chicago homicides surged by 58%, driving America’s overall spike in homicides. 2020 was been a particularly violent year in Chicago, with murders up by more than 37%. Violent crime remains disturbingly high in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of the cities, meaning the impact is felt most sharply in the city’s most marginalized communities. The immense grief caused by violence compounds with every new act, leaving a hurting community in desperate need of resources and relief. While local and state authorities work to address the issue at the policy level, Parents for Peace and Justice works on a grassroots level to fill in the gaps and help meet the community’s most immediate and urgent everyday needs. PPJ’s signature programs serve hundreds of children and adults in LatinX communities across Chicago. We provide:
  1. Mental health resources, including support groups, counseling, retreats, and workshops for mothers, fathers and siblings who lost a loved one to violence,
  2. Athletic camps and career workshops for children affected by gun violence, with mentorship from professional athletes and business leaders,
  3. Advocacy training for families learning to use their voices for positive change.

Experiential Learning Program Details

SchoolNorthern Illinois University (NIU)
Engagement FormatLive Case - Think "Hackathon" or Case Competition with a whole class of students! This learning format allows educators to deliver experiential learning to students at scale. Students are often split into groups to work on a live case (or a series of cases) from a real host company that directly relates to key learning objectives.
CourseBusiness in Action, Spring 2022 (Doughty) – Parents for Peace & Justice
  • All Undergraduate
Students Enrolled40
Meeting Day & TimeTues/Thurs
Student Time Commitment4-7 Hours Per Week
Company Time Commitment1 Hour
Duration13.14 Weeks

Program Timeline

Touchpoints & Assignments Due Date Type
Project Reveal

Project Reveal

Students are introduced the the project topics
February 2nd, 2022 Event na
Students Submit Project Preferences

Students Submit Project Preferences

Use this process to  elect your preferences and be assigned to project teams. [INSERT LINK]
February 2nd, 2022 Event na
STUDENTS! Take the Project Kick-off Survey!

STUDENTS! Take the Project Kick-off Survey!

Take a few moments to complete this KICKOFF SURVEY before the project begins!
February 9th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Project Launch

Project Launch

[NEED TO COORDINATE with organization to schedule videoconferencing meeting with class]
February 21st, 2022 Event na
Milestone Deliverable 1 Due Milestone Deliverable 1 Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above.
March 7th, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Let us know how you are doing!

STUDENTS! Let us know how you are doing!

Please take a few minutes to let us know how the project is going for you using this TEMPERATURE CHECK SURVEY
March 9th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Milestone 2 Deliverable Due Milestone 2 Deliverable Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above
April 6th, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Let us know how the project is going!

STUDENTS! Let us know how the project is going!

Take this short survey to let us know how the project is going for you! [INSERT TEMP CHECK LINK]
April 11th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Milestone 3 Deliverable Due Milestone 3 Deliverable Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above
May 2nd, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Take a short survey on YOUR learning experience!

STUDENTS! Take a short survey on YOUR learning experience!

Please take a few minutes to complete this SELF ASSESSMENT SURVEY on your learning experience with this project!
May 4th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
STUDENTS! Let us know about your observations and experiences working with YOUR PEERS on this project!

STUDENTS! Let us know about your observations and experiences working with YOUR PEERS on this project!

Please take a few minutes to complete this PEER EVALUATION SURVEY!
May 4th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Official Project End!

Official Project End!

Note: Schedule a time for student final virtual presentations to industry partners.
May 4th, 2022 Event na

Key Project Milestones

  • March 7, 2022 - Deep-Dive into the Organization

    • Become familiar with the organization’s history, mission, vision and goals.
    • What is the organization’s value proposition?
    • Who are the key stakeholders?
    • Who is the target audience? What problem does the organization help them to solve?
    • What is the scope of services that the organization provides? How does the company categorize and organize the services they will provide?
    • What media is available on the organization? How are these resources currently used to engage stakeholders and prospective donors?
    • What are the fundraising goals and objectives? How can/will the current project contribute to the fundraising efforts?
    • What can the organization provide you on their previous fundraising strategies, or strategies they’ve used to gain support for the organization? What was successful? What wasn’t?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Infographic overview of the organization and project objectives (internal); questions for industry mentor

  • April 6, 2022 - Develop Fundraising Strategies

    • How do other non-profit organizations with similar objectives engage potential donors? Who are their target audiences?
    • What individuals and organizations are considered ideal targets for fundraising efforts? Can you develop a list of potential fundraising streams?
    • What messages, content, meanings should be used to educate target audiences about the organization, its values, and how these are “lived” by the organization? What stories would shape their perceptions to create the desired image? List key messages and stories.
    • What emotion(s) are these messages and stories appealing to? What language and tone would be useful to evoke that emotion and build a connection with the audience?
    • Can you suggest/create prototype well-crafted messages and stories to illustrate how the company’s “lived values” can be effectively communicated?
    • How do other similar organizations communicate their concept and value to stakeholders? Research and present best practices for fundraising strategies/tactics for similar organizations.
    • How do other similar organizations engage their social networks, including board members and volunteers, to support fundraising efforts?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Prototype materials; Map/diagram/list of fundraising streams/sources. Presentation/discussion with industry mentor

  • May 2, 2022 - Develop a Comprehensive Strategy

    • Based upon feedback on the prototype content, which messages and stories rise to the top for the purpose of fundraising efforts? Which ones should be refined and finalized?
    • What are the most effective formats for communicating intended messages and stories? What channels to you suggest for reaching and communicating with the target audience segments?
    • What do you see as an effective balance of fundraising strategies? What is a good mix for this organization, and why?
    • What are your recommendations for the organization to engage their social networks, including board members and volunteers, to support the fundraising strategies you suggest? In other words, how can they mobilize and organize their networks to accomplish these goals and activities?
    • How can the organization evaluate the strategy and their efforts?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Fundraising Strategy Playbook & Presentation to industry mentor

Academic Mentors



[email protected]


Jason Gorham

[email protected]


Scott Rosenfelder

[email protected]


Neil Doughty

[email protected]


Elois Joseph 

[email protected]


Jenny Redisi 

[email protected]

Assigned Students

There are currently no students assigned.