Tips, Tricks & Tools: Building a Better Budget

Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 12:00 pm Eastern

A budget is a plan -- and it starts with a story. In this session, the Chicago Public Library Foundation (CPLF) team will share a collaborative budget development model that engages program, development, and finance staff in shaping compelling cases for support supported by thoughtful numbers. Then, we will break into small groups - if available - to discuss the challenges we've experienced in developing budgets and the solutions we've identified along the way. Participants will walk away with templates from the CPLF process as well as good ideas from their peers that they can put to use in their own work.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Defining and building a "Culture of Philanthropy" across your organization
  • Building a toolbox for collaborative conversation
  • Implementing a better budget process


Beth Davis
Chicago Public Library Foundation

Beth Davis is Chief Operating Officer at the Chicago Public Library Foundation. Responsible for the organization’s financial health, she develops, implements, and maintains efficient policies and procedures. Additionally, she leads a deeply collaborative annual budget process that engages the organization’s development team and 55-member Board of directors as well as the Library’s program staff and leadership. She got her B.S. in Finance from Saint Louis University.

Kate Nardin
Chicago Public Library Foundation

Chief Development Officer Kate Nardin joined the Chicago Public Library Foundation in 2015. With more than 15 years of development and nonprofit experience, she leads the organization’s strategy planning processes, is a primary liaison to Library leadership, and supervises the development team in advancing all activities related to Library Foundation donors. Prior to the Chicago Public Library Foundation, she built relationships with local and national funders to advance the missions of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, and the Museum of Science, Boston. She currently serves on the boards of the Smith Alumnae Club of Chicago (President, 2019-present), the Steppenwolf Associates (President, 2016-2018), and the Corporate Responsibility Group of Chicago. She earned her B.A. from Smith College and Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mary Ellen Messner
Chicago Public Library

First Deputy Commissioner Mary Ellen Messner has over 25 years' experience improving outcomes for children, youth and families in Chicago. As CPL's First Deputy Commissioner since 2018, Messner led the organization in the development of its five-year strategy (2020-2024) and oversaw program design and delivery as well as performance management and strategic partnerships. Before joining CPL, Mary Ellen served as Deputy Commissioner of Youth Services, leading the City of Chicago's youth vision around summer employment, violence reduction initiatives and out-of-school time, and supporting over 230 community partners; and as an Assistant Commissioner, coordinating youth workforce initiatives, including the City’s signature summer jobs program employing over 31,000 youth each summer. Messner began her public sector career at the Chicago Park District.

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