The Uplifting Voices Award Winners

This year, the Community Media Workshop is introducing a new category – the Uplifting Voices Award – to salute the contributions of those who have nurtured and supported the nonprofit organizations working in the diverse communities that the Studs Terkel Community Media Award winners typically cover.

This year’s Uplifting Voices honorees are Fred and Nikki Will Stein. For 23 years, Nikki Stein was the executive director of Polk Bros. Foundation, which makes grants to organizations that provide direct services to populations of need in underserved Chicago neighborhoods. During that time she oversaw dramatic growth in the foundation’s giving, making it one of the major foundations supporting the work of Chicago nonprofits. Stein is a current board member of the Public Interest Law Initiative, St. Leonard’s Ministries, Wendy Will Case Cancer Fund and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. She served as chair of the board of the Donors Forum of Chicago and was board president of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and has participated on the steering committees of many funding collaborations.

Fred Stein, Nikki’s husband, was a photographer at the Chicago Daily News and the Sun-Times before opening his own commercial photography studio. Among his honors are having a photo chosen to hang in the pro-football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio; receiving the Newspaper Guild’s Stick O’ Type Award in 1972; and being selected to compose and shoot the photograph on the front page of the last edition of the Daily News.

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