Monroe Capital LLC's founder, CEO and President Theodore L. Koenig has co-founded a charity that aims to raise $1 billion to provide college and trade school scholarships for Chicago public school students and even their parents or guardians.
To get the ball rolling, Mr. Koenig; his spouse, Nancy Koenig; and 11 of Monroe Capital's executive team donated a combined $10 million to the new organization, which is called Hope Chicago. The non-profit's other co-founder, Pete Kadens, an entrepreneur, donated another $10 million.
The goal is to raise $1 billion over a decade to send 24,000 first-year college students and around 6,000 parents or guardians to college or trade school, Mr. Koenig said.
"You can't do big things without thinking big," Mr. Koenig said. Hope Chicago has enlisted Janice K. Jackson, former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, as the non-profit's first CEO.
Mr. Koenig said that he is drawing on his "stature and reputation'' in the money management industry to bring the business community, including money management and investment banking firms, "in by the collar" to donate money to Hope Chicago.
"Nobody has said 'no' to us yet," he said. "The business community wants to play a part."
Hope Chicago is already providing scholarships for 14 students who are attending two- and four-year colleges, and aims to offer at least 50 more scholarships to students and parents in 2022, Mr. Koenig said.
"I'm a big believer that education is the road out of poverty ... the road to a successful career" including one in the money management industry, he said.
The test case for the dual-generation model was in 2020 when Mr. Kadens surprised graduating seniors at Scott High School in Toledo, Ohio, with an offer to pay for college for them and their parents, Mr. Koenig said.
"My bet is that this will be the model for education. It has to be a public-private partnership model," Mr. Koenig said. "The quality of education should not depend on your zip code or the color of your skin."