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Thought Leaders Advancing Inclusion

Our membership includes many of Chicago’s brightest leaders who collaborate around a common goal of a creating a stronger, more inclusive, business climate for all races. The Chicago business community is taking the lead in making our socio-economic climate even stronger through racial equity.


Chicago United’s mission is to achieve parity in economic opportunity for people of color by advancing multiracial leadership in corporate governance, executive level management, and business diversity.


Our initiatives and research provide tangible data, tools, and insights needed to further transform Chicago into one of the most inclusive business ecosystems in the nation.


Business Leaders of Color

Chicago United’s Business Leaders of Color; (BLC) publications, which spotlight candidates for boards of directors’ positions, have featured nearly 320 board-ready professionals since 2003. During this time, BLCs have served in more than 215 corporate directorships.


Chicago United Bridge Awards

The Bridge Awards represent the only nationally recognized awards that honor CEOs who advocate for multiracial diversity in corporate governance and executive level management.


Inside Inclusion Featuring the Corporate Diversity Profile

The Inside Inclusion Featuring the Corporate Diversity Profile reports continue to reveal minimal gains in minority representation throughout executive ranks at Chicago-based companies, making it clear that intentional action is needed now, more than ever. Our research shows that if the growth rate of diverse representation in top executive and managerial positions were to remain the same, it will take 64 years for minorities to achieve parity.


Five Forward Initiative

Established in 2008, Chicago United’s Five Forward Initiative has joined Chicago corporations together with local minority business enterprises (MBEs), to strengthen the local economy and double the number of job opportunities created by Five Forward MBEs in the Chicagoland area. 


Gloria Castillo, Chicago United CEO, Responds to Charlottesville 

"If you are not outraged you are not paying attention.” That was the Facebook posting of Heather Heyer before she was killed along with two Virginia state police in opposition to hate and in the name of the American values of equality and inclusion.


Good Americans who voted for Trump, and those who did not, are indeed equally outraged by the violent gathering of the white supremacists at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.


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Gloria Castillo's 2016 Bridge Awards Dinner Speech 

Gloria Castillo 2016 Bridge Awards Dinner Address

The Chicago United Ripple Effect 

Chicago United Ripple Effect

Be Part of Chicago United 

Be Part Of Chicago United




Fuel Job Creation through Five Forward 20/20

Chicago United introduced Five Forward 20/20, the expansion of its Five Forward Initiative™, designed to strengthen the local economy and enhance job creation by supporting a stronger Chicagoland minority business enterprise (MBE) community in September of 2015.


The Commitment

Chicago area corporations commit to doing business with five local minority firms over five years. As local MBEs grow and enhance their position to compete for corporate contracts outside of Five Forward, the corporate community benefits from a more competitive pool of diverse businesses.


Click here to download the Five Forward 20/20 Vision Brochure.

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