Giving Back Is In Our DNA
November 25, 2020

Our team has and will continue to be one that supports the communities in which we work and live. Throughout our years in business, we have purposefully invested in communities and nonprofits that improve the lives of those residing and working in each. You’ll find several organizations we have supported over the years on our website and encourage you to get involved. Whether it means giving a full day off work to volunteer or gathering together to serve, giving is in our DNA.

As we mark our 30th anniversary, we are very proud to share with you a unique give-back that we hope will inspire youth in one of our communities on the Southwest Side of Chicago. Our team recognized the deep needs of some of our neighborhood educational institutions and we sought a partner to support that could propel youth’s educations in this stressful time. Throughout our search, we are happy to have been introduced to an incredible organization, The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC), an innovative public school located on the underserved Southwest side of Chicago.

AGC’s community has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 and is experiencing some of the highest infection rates in the Chicago region, in part due to high pollution and asthma rates. Whether it is through job loss, illness, food insecurity or death of a loved one, AGC’s students and families have been impacted in a number of significant ways.

As shared on AGC’s website, leading pediatric and educational experts have documented that the pandemic-related school closures will lead to overall student learning loss that will disproportionately affect students depending on their social advantages, socio-economic status and their degree of trauma. The educational and health disparities are a significant challenge in Chicago, and particularly in the community served by AGC.

We wanted to help!

To meet the school’s goal of ensuring every home and family they serve receives a device for students now navigating virtual learning from home, Essex Realty Group, Inc. proudly donated $30,000 to fund the purchase of 100 8th Generation iPads for students in greatest need.

"During a time when our community has faced among the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the City of Chicago, we are heartened by such tremendous generosity that directly equips our students and their families with the resources to sustain their engagement with learning,” says Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, founder and executive director for The Academy for Global Citizenship.

The Academy for Global Citizenship is a Chicago Public School with an innovative and holistic approach to education which “aims to foster systemic change and inspire the way society educates our future generations.” Immersed in Dual Language and International Baccalaureate programs, AGC is cultivating the next generation of globally and environmentally minded leaders to create positive local and global change. In addition to its rigorous academic curriculum, the school also offers a holistic approach to learning. Children participate in yoga, mindfulness, wellness classes, gardening, beekeeping, eat organic scratch-made meals and help tend to their schoolyard chickens.

AGC is a tuition-free public elementary school that serves 468 students in grades K-8 and 96% of students live within a 5-mile radius of The Academy for Global Citizenship. AGC holds an average Level 1 rating from Chicago Public Schools, indicating high performance, and has received national awards from Michelle Obama and the United States Department of Education for its unparalleled innovation.

“We’re happy to help AGC reach its short-term goal of closing the technology resource gap so many have endured this year, and hope we inspire others to help them reach their long-term goal of providing every single one of their nearly 500 student-body with a device,” says Doug Imber, co-founder and president of Essex Realty Group.

Saskia Rombouts, Lower School Principal for AGC adds, “So much of what we do is to empower students of all ages to be as independent as possible and take ownership of their own work. Whether it is accessing our learning platforms, participating in synchronous lessons, or sharing their off-screen work via pictures or videos, having individualized technology as opposed to several siblings sharing a device has been key to help AGC's younger learners succeed in remote learning. Teachers and students are able to connect on a daily basis, and young learners are becoming quite independent in navigating the remote learning world with their developmentally appropriate devices.”

The return we have received can be measured in the good feelings of lending a helping hand and making a positive impact in our community, and we’re inspired to continue our traditions of giving back.


Since 1990, Essex Realty Group, Inc. has served Chicago's investment real estate market as a top multifamily real estate brokerage firm. Contact us to learn more about our recent Chicagoland multifamily and mixed-use property sales and talk to a Chicago multifamily broker today.