Jones will lead the $60 million campaign to redefine the future of education


Contact: Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, Founder & Executive Director

Phone: (773) 744 – 8729


CHICAGO, IL – The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) has announced that non-profit executive Ryan Jones has been tapped to serve as Chief Development Officer.

Jones will be responsible for all activities surrounding fundraising for AGC, including a $60 million campaign focused on building a 72,000 square foot state-of-the-art Global Learning Hub that will incubate best practices in education and serve as a center for positive social and environmental action on Chicago’s southwest side.

“AGC’s long-term vision for global scale drew me to this incredible organization, and it is an honor to play a role in ensuring this next exciting chapter becomes a reality. I am passionate about providing transformative educational experiences to young people, and the Learning Laboratory and Sustainability Hub represent an extraordinary opportunity to inspire students across Chicago and beyond.”

Prior to joining AGC, Jones was the Senior Director of Development for the Evans Scholars Foundation, where he oversaw a team of Major Gift fundraisers and national fundraising for one of the largest private collegiate scholarship funds in the country. Previously, he was responsible for raising major gifts at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, as well as the University of Maryland and Duke University Athletic Departments.

Jones earned his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina, and his Masters of Arts from the University of North Carolina, leading to a career focused on higher education and non-profit fundraising. He lives with his wife, Brooke, in Chicago, IL.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Ryan to AGC at such a critical moment in our organization’s history.  Under his leadership, we look forward to achieving our ambitious goals for fundraising to benefit children throughout Chicago and across the globe. Ryan’s proven delivery will be instrumental in achieving an unparalleled level of environmental sustainability through the Living Building Challenge, which would be the first project in the State of Illinois and one of only 24 worldwide to receive this comprehensive certification,” said Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, AGC’s Founder and Executive Director.



Join the Third Annual Tour de Brew

Tour de Brew

You are invited to join us at the third annual Tour de Brew, a Chicago brewery bike tour to benefit the Academy for Global Citizenship. Spikeball Inc. founder and bike and brew enthusiast Chris Ruder leads a tour of Chicago breweries, from big dogs like Goose Island to craft startups like Begyle and Finch’s, often years before they hit the mainstream.

An extremely qualified host, Chris biked 3,300 miles across the country, visited 50 states, and savored countless craft brews before his 30th birthday. Chris also launched a worldwide sporting phenomenon with 600 registered teams and 125,000 players. Check out this Esquire feature on Spikeball Inc.

Chris will lead riders on a brewery tour of the city rain, shine or snow. This tour’s schedule will be shared only with ticket holders and the ride will be capped at 40 riders for safety. Please ride safe and secure with a helmet and lock.

Space is Limited, Buy Your Tickets Today



Library Social for AGC at PUBLIC Chicago

Library Social for AGC at PUBLIC Chicago

Join AGC in PUBLIC Chicago’s beautiful Library Lounge for a classy cocktail event. Thanks to generous support from PUBLIC Chicago, all funds raised at this event support innovation in action at AGC.


Big Buzz for the Academy for Global Citizenship

Big Buzz for the Academy for Global Citizenship


I’ll never forget the moment when I stepped onto the dirt floor of a small, sparse room in a rural Guinea Bissauan village. Sunlight was flooding into the open-air space; there were no windows or desks. Forty children of all ages were sitting on handcrafted wooden benches. Some were wearing shoes and some were not. Yet they had 40 of the most vibrant and eager smiles I have ever seen. These children, without pencils or books, were earnestly excited by the opportunity to learn.

Their community creatively used resources, overcoming the scarcity of trained teachers and traditional learning tools by recruiting members of the community and identifying learning opportunities outside of the classroom. They developed their methods and materials organically, based on the qualities that were most important to their community at the time. Teachers collaborated with students, incorporating their ideas and interests and sharing important responsibilities with older children. Students were truly engaged and respected by the learning environment.

Seeing this ignited a shift in perspective within me — a shift that led me to continue my journey through more than 80 countries to learn about the challenges (and solutions) that exist in our international systems of education. I worked to determine why the innate curiosity of children flourished in some learning environments and not in others, why in some cultures, education inspired creativity and wonder and why a few schools felt like magical and sacred spaces for children.

When I moved to Chicago nearly 11 years ago, I quickly realized that what I once understood to be a global issue was also local, as tens of thousands of students in my own backyard lacked access to high-quality public education. I saw students consuming food that didn’t enable their brains to learn. I saw overwhelmed teachers spending entire class periods demanding silence. I saw the empty lot next door piled high with crinkled bags and crushed cans.

Feeling a tremendous sense of urgency about the condition of our schools and the state of our planet, I naively believed we could create a new model — a school where even children in one of Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods would fall in love with learning, where children would not only thrive academically, but learn the key critical thinking skills to play an active role in our local and global communities.

Through work in a school garden, children could learn about the natural cycles of the earth and their responsibility to their communities as well as math and science. Through embracing the innate creativity and empathy of young people, teachers could thrive with their students’ excitability rather than struggle against it.

I packed up my idealism, jumped on my bicycle and rode down Clark Street to the Board of Education where I exclaimed, “It’s time to reimagine public education!” As one might presume, I was met with wide eyes. I was 23 years old, and I’d never actually studied education in college, nor had I been a classroom teacher.

After two denials over three years, the Academy for Global Citizenship was finally approved as a Chicago Public Charter school and opened in a former dental tool factory on the city’s underserved and overcrowded southwest side. There, we welcomed our first group of 88 students in 2008; 89 percent of our first cohort entered reading below grade level. Yet we believed that every child would find the same fascination for learning I saw in Guinea Bissau.

Today, the achievement scores for our 300 students speak for them- selves: 93 percent of general education students are now meeting or exceeding state math standards. Literacy rates are up 63 percentage points. Ninety-eight percent of our parents are involved in their kids’ education.

The challenge now is to continue asking questions. How can we take successful models to students across the nation? How can we make every school a magical place for children to learn? How can we tap into the innate curiosity within each child?

To that end, we are creating a learning laboratory and prototype campus that will focus on identifying, evaluating and disseminating these modules of educational innovation to the world. We are taking that which started on a small dirt floor in Guinea Bissau and building a movement to improve education for 20 million students by 2020. I hope you’ll join us.


In the final days leading up to our Inaugural Chefs’ Playground event, we have been getting some fantastic press, including a beautiful spread in the Sun Times Splash this weekend and an exciting cooking segment on WGN with celebrity chef Bill Kim at our little school! The segment will air this Thursday, May 16, just before our big event at Terzo Piano. Some GA tickets are still available at