Gray Matter Founder Named as Streetwise's 20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans


Britney Robbins, Founder & CEO of The Gray Matter Experience has been named as one of StreetWise’s 20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans for 2020! 


StreetWise is proud to announce its 20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans of 2020. It’s third annual group of honorees includes Dr. Ngozi Ezike, comedian Chris Redd, the Dreadhead Cowboy, and famous folk singer Ella Jenkins, and an inspiring group of Chicagoans who are making the city a better place to live, work, and grow. As an organization, StreetWise empowers and provides resources for the homeless and at-risk populations throughout Chicago. They have been a catalyst for change for more than 13,000 Chicagoans over our 28-year history and are a fixture of Chicago culture.

“Honoring the everyday heroes among us, who are making our amazing city even stronger, is so important, especially during these challenging and unprecedented times.” says Julie Youngquist, StreetWise Executive Director. “We received hundreds of nominations that show what we all already know--- Chicagoans put to work the generosity of our hearts and minds. Our 20 honorees of 2020 represent a wide variety of courageous people who selflessly work on behalf of others and represent the philanthropic spirit of the city.”

This award was launched to recognize individuals who have been inspired to affect change and make our city even stronger!


This year’s 20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans are:

Aleta Clark, founder of Hugs No Slugs Foundation 

Bryan Cressey, founder of Above and Beyond Recovery Center

David Dietz, Social Responsibility Program Director at National Basketball Association

Seth El-Jamal, program director for the Chicago chapter of Friends of the Children 

Dr. Ngozi Ezike board certified internist and pediatrician and Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health

Matthew Hoffman, Chicago based artist & designer

Adam Hollingsworth, Dreadhead Cowboy 

Ella Jenkins, “First Lady of Children’s Music and GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award winner 

Tonika Johnson, social justice artist and photographer and co-founder of Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.)

Kristi Katz, Chicago Director of Field Operations with Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen

Diane Latiker, founder Kids Off the Block, Inc.

Ed Marszewski, restauranteur, entrepreneur, cultural connoisseur, and unofficial Mayor of Bridgeport and Director of the Public Media Institute (PMI) 

Lamell McMorris, founder and managing principal of Greenlining Realty USA 

Julian Posada, founder, and President of LiftUp enterprises

Dr. Izabel Olson, founder and CEO of Salt and Light Coalition

Chris Redd, actor, writer, stand-up comic and rapper and EMMY-award winning songwriter

Oboi Reed, founding President & CEO of Equiticity

Britney Robbins, founder The Gray Matter Experience 

Jesse Teverbaugh, Director of Student and Alumni Relations at Cara Chicago 

LaSaia Wade, founder, and Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance




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We believe empowering youth to create their own businesses can have great impact on their own self-worth, perception of the meaning of success, and can positively impact underrepresented neighborhoods across Chicago.

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