Chicago Children’s Choir - Bob Fealy, Limerick Investments, IVCA Chairman (11-25-15)

Chicago Children’s Choir - Bob Fealy, Limerick Investments, IVCA Chairman

November 25, 2015

The definition of civic engagement is the following: individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.

Our first profile is Robert "Bob" Fealy, Limerick Investments, the current IVCA Chairman.

IVCA:  To what one charitable or civic organization do you contribute your time?

Bob Fealy: I am Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Children’s Choir.  CCC is not one choir, but actually consists of over 100 in-school programs conducted in over 70 Chicago public schools, nine neighborhood choirs and our internationally acclaimed touring choir, “Voice of Chicago.” Over 4,000 Chicago area youth participate in CCC programs making it the leading youth choir organization in the country.   Our mission is to promote tolerance and acceptance and unite young people and adults alike from all ethnic, social and economic backgrounds through the power of music. 

IVCA:  When did you first become involved with the organization?

Bob Fealy:  I attended CCC’s annual gala, Red Jacket Optional, several years ago and I was mesmerized by the poise, passion, energy and professionalism of the young singers. When they performed the song “I Need You to Survive” there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including mine!  After that I was hooked.

IVCA:  Why does the organization’s mission resonate with you?

Bob Fealy:  The vast majority of our student-singers reside in low-modest income households in economically challenged communities.  CPS has significantly reduced or eliminated entirely music and arts from the curriculum, and CCC has stepped in to fill this void.  While the core study courses are important, we know that the opportunity for youth to participate in programs that teach musical excellence, and all it encompasses, fosters the more complete personal development of our students, and this has a very positive effect upon their families, friends and communities. After all, music education requires an understanding of math, history, language, geography, discipline and so many other aspects of learning and life.   

IVCA:  How does the organization measure its success?

Bob Fealy:  Last year 100 percent of the graduating students in our 110 strong Voice of Chicago choir went on to college.  Also, CPS school principals must choose to make CCC programs available to their students and pay a portion of the program costs.  The renewal rate of our agreements with the school principals is exceedingly high, which indicates that the principals believe our programs to be of great value to their students, especially when you consider their limited budgets and other resource requests.  Also, if you attend a performance by one of our many choirs, you would observe the great pride and sense of accomplishment that our students exhibit and the enthusiasm and support they receive from their families and friends.  Finally, it should be noted that our students and entire choirs are highly sought out to collaborate on programs presented by the CSO, Lyric Opera, Ravinia and guest artists in a wide array of musical performances and productions. 

IVCA:  Are other IVCA member involved with the Chicago Children’s Choir?

Bob Fealy:  Yes, many members of the venture capital and private equity community and IVCA support and serve CCC. David Koo, Senior Partner at Roundtable Healthcare Partners, serves as Vice Chairman of the Board and Michael Nemeroff, President and CEO of Vedder Price, preceded me as Board Chair.  Also, Kristen Freund, Managing Director of The Private Bank, Derek Ferguson of Victory Park Capital and Michael Teplinsky of Wynnchurch Capital serve on our board, as does Shradha Agarwal, President of ContextMedia.  In addition, our Ambassador Board is very active in promoting CCC’s mission. We are always interested in bringing other individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of our youth onto the CCC boards, so interested IVCA members can contact David Koo or me for further information.