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CHIditarod Foundation

A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization created to help solve Chicago’s hunger challenges.

The CHIditarod Foundation seeks to alleviate hunger and solve the root causes of hunger through creativity, engagement and direct action. We accomplish these goals by creating unique, creative, participatory events that raise funds (like CHIditarod!), and providing grants to local 501(c)(3) organizations that share our hunger-fighting mission.

  • Solve food insecurity challenges in metropolitan Chicago.
  • Create and host charitable events that are unique, participatory and inspiring.
  • Grant funds to other charitable organizations in line with our mission and tax-exempt status.

The CHIditarod Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is registered with the Illinois Attorney General’s Charitable Trust act. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. IRS EIN: 46-1053624

What Have We Done?

  • Collected more than 252,419 pounds of food for Chicago’s hungry.
  • Awarded a total of $411,350 through 41 individual CHIditarod Grants to local nonprofits fighting hunger in their communities.

What is the History?

Back before we teamed up with the Greater Chicago Food Depository we donated food and funds to the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation (CAHF), a 501(c)(3) food pantry in Chicago. They were local and doing good things to help feed the hungry — which has always been our goal & mission (along with having a little fun).

As the race grew in popularity, our teams asked race organizers if they could raise funds using online fundraising tools and donate those contributions to charity. We of course agreed and set out to find online partners who specialize in raising funds for charity. In 2011, all funds raised by teams benefitted the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation. In 2012, CHIditarod partnered with the offices of Alderman Michelle Harris to identify charitable organizations working to improve access to organic fruits and vegetables in our City’s “food desert” neighborhoods. We partnered with the Cottage Grove Heights Community Coalition, a 501(c)3 organization who is using the funds in partnership with the City of Chicago to build a community garden in the 8th Ward. New friendships were made, and CHIditarod participants really began to see the impact their actions have on the local community.

In 2013, The CHIditarod Foundation was incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. We seek to continue creating the annual CHIditarod race, and to grant funds raised by CHIditarod to local, vetted 501(c)(3) organizations in the Chicagoland community that are fighting hunger, focused on local food sustainability, and making an impact in their community. We will continue to grow our food drive initiatives to help food banks in the metropolitan Chicago area. This event furthers our tax-exempt status by fulfilling our mission through the large food drive component, fundraising, and creating unique, participatory events. Thank you for your trust, your creativity, and for your willingness to help the hungry.

Documents

The Board of Directors

Devin Breen, President, CTO
Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign. Founder and President of the CHIditarod Foundation. Co-Founder and past-President of Bold Urban Renaissance Network 501(c)(3). Co-founder and past-performer with the Pyrotechniq Fire Performance Troupe. Senior Software Engineer at Apple, Inc. He is dedicated to the betterment of life for all people on this planet, and focuses his energy improving his hometown of Chicago.

Stephanie Esposito, CPRP
Studied Radio Talent & Production at Columbia College Chicago. Became involved with CHIditarod planning in 2010 and has fulfilled several roles with the organization. She has worked in the nonprofit field and with youth for the past 20 years. She is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, supports and volunteers with CARFU and Rugby Illinois, and believes in the importance of investing in youth and the community. As native Chicagoan, is deeply invested in the bettering of the city, through volunteering and spreading positivity.

Leslie Anne Engel
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Syracuse University. Charter member, Past President, and Past Vice President of the Off The Street Club Junior Board, for which she created the Annual OTSC Halloween Candy Drive. Tutor for 10+ years for the Time to Read program. Past member of the Chicago Associate Board Presidents’ Council. After a decade as a freelance producer in TV and film, Leslie joined corporate America and works as a Director of Operations and Director of Project Management in advertising media. Her goals are to have fun while “doing a good thing all wrong”, be a positive influence on those around her, to serve bakes worthy of a Hollywood Handshake, and make sure everyone always has enough to eat.

Amy Bartlett Bashiti (she/her)
Bachelor of Arts, Tulane University
Master of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Amy raced in the first CHIditarod in 2006 as part of the Drinktown (RIP) team, and hasn’t stopped since, finally joining the Board in 2022. She is an affordable housing professional and is privileged to be able to travel across this beautiful state she now calls home and work directly with communities to make them better and more accessible through her work at the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Past Vice President of the Urban Planning and Policy Student Association and Social Chair of the CUPPA Alumni Association at UIC, she knows the value of a good party and its ability to raise money to help others. It’s taken twenty years, but this transplant from the South has finally taken CHIditarod’s unofficial motto to heart. There is no bad weather, only poor costume choices. 

Shelly Howell (She/Her)
Bachelor of Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Emmy-award winning journalist who now creates digital content for a large Chicago-based non-profit. Animal lover and junk-food vegan. Her hobbies include coffee, live music, crafting the perfect cocktail and traveling.

Alysha Balog (she/her)
Bachelor Fine Arts – Graphic Design and Certificate in Arts Administration, Indiana University
Alysha began racing with her team Six Pack Attack in 2015 and quickly began championing the Chiditarod to her friends and peers ever since. She leveled-up in 2021 by helping with the grant reviewal process and then joining the board in 2022. Alysha is a design director that specializes in packaging design, which has cultivated a professional and personal relationship with food that helps motivate her passion for wanting food to be accessible to all. She can often be found supporting the arts all around Chicago or drinking a craft beer in a cozy dive-bar. 

Daniel Cappy, Treasurer
Daniel Cappy has a head for numbers and a heart of play. Beginning with the Chiditarod Bike Marshals, DC joined The Board of Directors in 2019 as Treasurer, keeping our p’s and q’s tidy. Fascinated by the way stories become embedded in numbers, from race times to forensic bookkeeping, DC also uses their skills of allocations & extrapolations on business operations and, outside of Chiditarod, disaster relief such as search-and-rescue or donation distribution optimization logistics. And of course, plenty enough Hoosier Hospitality for you to take some home with ya.

Caton Volk
Caton is a Creative Producer with 20 years of experience in media and event production. He is passionate about collaboration and enjoys the process of elevating ideas. Caton has a long-time connection to art and activism in the community and is grateful to be a part of a group that inspires so much generosity.