"Bringing new meaning to the term “angel investor,” Liam Krehbiel was working as a consultant at Bain & Company in 2010, when he decided to forgo the for-profit sector to follow a dream. Later that year, the Hinsdale native and Kellogg graduate founded A Better Chicago, a nonprofit organization that fuses good business sense with charitable giving.
Krehbiel likens his philanthropy to venture capitalism—a combination of both funding and management support. “Think about what successful venture-capital firms do,” says Krehbiel. “They look for high-potential, early-stage companies and provide the financial and intellectual capital to help them grow. We do the same thing.”
Like true venture capitalists, Krehbiel and his staff, which includes some of Chicago’s brightest business minds, spend months conducting due diligence on organizations before deciding to invest. Ideal candidates are already successful but lack the financial or tactical resources to realize their larger visions. Once a charity is added to the roster, A Better Chicago provides annual six-figure grants (funded by the board and local philanthropists) and guidance in areas in which the organizations need support—such as branding communications, technology, business planning, and infrastructure development—and Krehbiel will seek assistance from one of his corporate partners. (Bain & Company and law firm Latham & Watkins offer their services pro bono.)"