July 12, 2018
Dear LINK Family,
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jonathan T. Swain and as a former LINK Unlimited Scholar, I am honored and grateful to the board of directors for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization.
As LINK’s newest President and CEO, I feel it is important to share a bit of my story as we begin this new journey together.
LINK has been an integral part of my life since my early years. I was the second member of my family to join the program in 1988 and credit its academic rigor to both my educational and professional success. After graduating from St. Ignatius College Prep, I earned degrees from Duke University, the Northwestern-Pritzker School of Law, and University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Meanwhile, my professional career has spanned many disciplines, including government service, law, business/entrepreneurial endeavors, and non-profit work.
In more recent years, I have spent time on LINK’s Board of Directors, including serving as Board Chairman. Additionally, my wife Angela–who is also a former LINK Scholar–and I have mentored three students through the program, and are currently mentoring a scholar at Marist High School. We believe in LINK’s mission and role in strengthening the African American community in the Chicagoland area, and are fully committed to empowering the next generation of scholars.
LINK has produced innovative, hardworking and insightful scholars, and it has been incredibly rewarding to witness the impact our mentorship program is having on the City of Chicago. LINK provides an opportunity for students to benefit from academic support and mentorship as they persist to, through and beyond college – which ultimately helps them achieve economic stability.
In this new leadership role, I look forward to carrying LINK further, placing primary focus on three value points:
STRENGTHENING OUR PROGRAM MODEL
The LINK model was founded on the idea that connecting students to mentors and educational opportunities would enable them to secure financial stability. As our economy continues to grow and evolve, we want to ensure our scholars are aptly prepared to succeed in any professional environment.
CONNECTING TO OUR MENTORS
Historically, LINK mentors have been the lifeblood of our success. Their financial generosity, as well as their connection to our scholars and their families, are critical to the organization’s overall success. Going forward, I intend to better support their efforts, and ensure our scholars are gleaning all they can from the civic leaders serving as mentors in our program.
COMMUNICATING OUR MISSION
LINK has evolved over the 50+ years of its existence. While it began as a scholarship organization, we want to continue evolving LINK into Chicago’s premier college prep and career readiness organization for the African American community. We believe that, in order for this organizational success to occur, it is imperative we keep you connected to our growth, development and the continued success of our scholars.
LINK demands the best of its scholars, and encourages them to be lifelong learners, leaders and contributors to their community. As an organization, we hold ourselves to the same high standards, as we work diligently to close the achievement gap of African American students.
I am excited to be here and eager to see these positive changes come to fruition. Thank you for your past and continued support of this great mission.
Jonathan T. Swain
President & CEO
Link Unlimited Scholars