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Vision, Mission, and Beliefs



Origami Works Foundation envisions a future in which all Chicago area residents have access to rewarding work with employers who embrace the benefits of truly inclusive employment practices.



Origami Works Foundation bridges gaps between Chicago area residents who face barriers to rewarding employment and their potential employers. We collaborate with like-minded organizations to build and support workforce development and career education programs. 



  • Our mission is best fulfilled when we embrace the diversity of our community as a fundamental strength.

  • Rewarding work meets individuals’ employment needs and career goals, and supports them in reaching their potential.

  • Truly inclusive employment practices go beyond standard diversity efforts to intentionally prioritize hiring and retaining individuals who face employment barriers such as poverty, lack of education, justice involvement, and transportation challenges.

  • Collaborating with partners increases the likelihood that programs are successful and sustainable.

  • Removing barriers to work is a win-win-win for employees, employers, and communities.

  • Experience is as valuable as formal education.

Sample Projects


Lifting Economic Prospects for Low-Income Parents: 
Origami Works partnered with Christopher House, a network of early childhood programs and a K-8 charter school, to develop a strategy for enhancing the career prospects of student's parents and other family members. So far we have offered training, tools, and support to enable Family Support team members to offer more effective career development coaching. A future phase of the project is expected to provide direct programming to parents.


Making Career Pathways for Youth More Visible: 
Origami Works built a web-based directory of quality career pathway programs for youth who choose not to go directly to four-year colleges after graduating high school. The directory features programs in many fields that require two years or less of training,  and can lead to jobs that pay well. Origami Works partnered with the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, along with many members of that organization as well as youth training providers, and launched the first version of the site within six months. 

Talent Solutions Connector Directory of Workforce Services: Origami Works is working with the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance as well as Chicago / Cook County's Bureau of Economic Development to increase the accessibility of the variety of workforce services and funds available to employers more transparent. Talent Solutions Connector is a platform that allows employers to find, learn about, and engage with providers of workforce services to solve their talent needs.

COVID-19 Information for the Workforce Development Community: When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Chicago, Origami Works partnered with the Chicago Jobs Council to produce a website with helpful information about how to navigate the situation for workforce agencies, job seekers, and others. 

Summer Internships for First-Generation College Students: Origami Works is currently piloting a project to increase the number of paid summer internships available to first-generation college students living in Chicagoland. Interns are hosted by local non-profit employers while Origami provides support and connections to professional development programming for the cohort of interns. 


Origami Works is proud to provide funding to and collaborate with many Chicagoland workforce development organizations and educational institutions, including our partners below.

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Partnerships & Grantees


" amazing experience both personally and professionally. Origami Works Foundation took on the idea that was once only a dream for many people and made it a reality in a matter of months. Their hard work, extreme focus, and excellent project management skills ... allowed them to corral many stakeholders from various sectors to create a user-friendly site that addresses gaps in the region's workforce and post-secondary planning tools.

January Miller, Embarc

The Jobs Council was connected to Origami Works just after we launched a COVID 19 resource page on our website.  They offered to take their user-friendly template and reorganize our page and resources to improve access to a wide range of information.  We have a small staff who were trying to quickly share information with the field of community workforce providers, and Origami Works stepped in with a way to streamline our site and provide  useful analytics about site use/rs that we did not have before. Origami Works was easy to work with, kept us focused and our staff felt like their time was well-spent.

Carrie Thomas, Chicago Jobs Council

"In partnering with Origami Works, we were able to create a workforce development program strategy that aligned with and built on our existing mission and programs. They have provided a deep knowledge of best-practices, supported our team with project management and implementation, and connected us to experts in the field to achieve more than we ever could on our own. Every step of the way, the team was inclusive in decision-making, prioritized the needs of our children and families, and used data to guide our approach for expanding our two generation model.

Gloria Kuechenberg, Christopher House

Working with Origami Works has been a transformational experience for the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance and its Progressive Pathways to Postsecondary Success Fund. Dani deftly navigates taking visions and dreams to a tangible product while ensuring that key stakeholders have input and are bought in to the process and product. As a result of Origami Works' first engagement with us, Chicagoans now have a central location to view information on programs to help them take their next step on their career journey. We look forward to a lasting partnership with Origami Works! 

Adrian Esquivel & Matt Bruce, CWFA

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