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Chicago State Foundation executive explains org’s fight to close education gap

Darrious Hilmon (Photo credit: Powell Photography Inc.)

Darrious Hilmon is the executive director of the Chicago State Foundation, the chief fundraising partner of Chicago State University. Hilmon, who is a graduate of the University of Michigan, has more than 25 years of success in fund development and strategic management.

He has previously served as chief of external affairs at Chicago International Charter School, where he oversaw the design and implementation of fund development, communications, student enrollment, community engagement and advocacy initiatives for the 14-campus charter school network.

We spoke with Hilmon about his current role and how Chicago State University is evolving to better serve its student body.

Talk about your role as executive director of the Chicago State Foundation.

My chief responsibility is to set and implement strategies that strengthen the foundation’s infrastructure and ability to effectively identify, cultivate, solicit and steward the human and financial capital necessary for Chicago State University and our students. My work encompasses fund development and scholarship distribution, partnership development and planning and execution of events and activities that honor CSU’s commitment to serving a key anchor on Chicago’s South Side.

What is the mission of the Chicago State Foundation?

Our mission is to ensure the identification and security of the financial and human resources the university needs to transform the lives of our student scholars, 70 percent of whom are African Americans, 10 percent Latinx, and more than 60 percent first-generation. CSU is laser-focused on creating and nurturing an all-hands-on-deck community that fully supports and empowers Black and Brown first-gen students from application to graduation, to career.

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