Business and Professional People for the Public Interest

From KeyWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Business and Professional People for the Public Interest was founded in March, 1969 and exists as a public interest law and policy center that addresses compelling issues of social justice and quality of life in the Chicago region. BPI's staff of lawyers and policy specialists use legal and policy research, advocacy, organizing, litigation and collaboration with non-profit, business, community and governmental organizations to accomplish its mission.[1] The foundation has an annual budget of approximately $1.6 million.[2]


In March, 1969 as the Vietnam war was rapidly escalating, prominent Chicago businessman Gordon B. Sherman gathered together a number of businessmen willing to contribute financially to create an organization that would:

"Fight for the public interest against all manner of inequity, including segregation in public housing, destruction of the environment and abuse of power in government."[2]


The following is a list of the key achievements by BPI:[2]

  • In its first year of operation under the Executive Directorship of Marshall Patner, BPI ran a successful media campaign, opposing the City's plan to create a new airport in Lake Michigan.
  • In 1970, Alex Polikoff joined BPI as Executive Director, bringing with him a civil rights case he had pursued on a pro-bono basis as an American Civil Liberties Union volunteer, Gautreaux v. CHA. The case was won in a landmark victory, with thousands of public housing families receiving apparent, immediate benefits.
  • In 1970 BPI succeeded in halting the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Indiana Dunes.
  • In 1989 BPI won for Illinois consumers (from Commonwealth Edison) the largest utility refund in U.S. history - $400 million.
  • In 1995 BPI secured the adoption of a formal resolution supporting the establishment of small schools - a proven education reform elsewhere — by the Chicago Public School Board.
  • In 2003 BPI led efforts to pass the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, requiring that every Illinois municipality has 10% of its housing stock affordable to working families or a clear plan to do so.


Board of Directors

As at Feb 10, 2010 the following were members of the Board of Directors:[3]

Past Presidents


As at Feb 10, 2010 the following were members of the Staff:[4]

Administrative Staff

Past Staff

Advisory Board

As at 2008 the following were members of the Advisory Board:[5]

Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellows

The following are Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellows sponsored by the BPI:[6]

  • Anoa Changa (2009), JD West Virginia University College of Law, BA Ohio State University
  • Kate Pomper (2008), JD/MPP University of Michigan, BA University of Virginia
  • Katie Hill (2007), JD University of Chicago Law School, BA Stanford University
  • Nadia Wishne Underhill (2006), MPA Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, MSc London School of Economics, BA Carleton College
  • Rosanne Aviles (2005), JD Columbia University School of Law, BA University of Virginia
  • Kelli Harsch (2004), JD Yale Law School, BA University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Jessica L. Webster (2003), MPP Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota, BA Purdue University
  • Henry J. Ford (2002), JD/MA Syracuse University, BA Hampton University
  • Beth Valukas (2001), JD Northwestern University, BA Colorado College
  • Nicholas J. Brunick (2000), JD/MA University of Texas, BA North Central College
  • Jennifer Salvatore (1999), JD University of Michigan, BA Miami of Ohio


The following were listed as 2008 contributors to BPI:[5]

Individual Sponsors

$10,000 and above

$5,000 - $9,999

$2,500 - $4,999

$1,000 - $2,499

$500 - $999

$250 - $499

Up to $249

Organisational Sponsors

External Links