Summer 2019

Paramount School of the Arts Opens to Rave Reviews

In 2010, Paramount Theatre President and CEO Tim Rater had two big ideas: Aurora’s very own Broadway Series and a school of the arts. With the former proving to be a huge success, it’s no doubt the Paramount School of the Arts will have the same impact on Aurora.

Housed in the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, the Paramount School of the Arts opened its doors on June 1st. The new school is taking the spectacle, wonder and craft from its stage and making it available to anyone willing to learn.

Featuring classes for all ages and skill sets in theatre, vocal music, instrumental music, dance and hopefully much more, the school will help both young and old nurture new talent, strengthen skills and discover what they never thought possible.

The Dunham Fund is proud to support the arts in the Aurora area with the opening of the Paramount School of the Arts at the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center.

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The community gets to take the first look during the Grand Opening on June 1, 2019.

Head Scale Up Program

ScaleUp Program is Guiding Women to Succeed in Business

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ScaleUp Aurora, an 8-week entrepreneurial education program presented by the Women’s Business Development Center, focuses on ensuring participants acquire elevated business and financial acumen and the resources and tools necessary to grow and create jobs.

ScaleUp’s instruction covers an array of subjects, from marketing and HR management, to operational processes and customer service, financial advising and loan assistance. The program also includes government procedures and contracting assistance, opportunities for one-on-one mentoring as well as connecting with Alumni for additional support and guidance.

“The ScaleUp program delivered a high quality, professional experience that was a definite value-add to our business. The program guided my business partner, Linda, and myself to start thinking and communicating more about exactly how we plan to grow our business.

In addition to the informative subject matter experts presented, the access to capital session and connections to various lenders was outstanding. The WBDC’s ScaleUp program, sponsored by the Dunham Fund, is doing great things for the business community and City of Aurora.”

Tiffany Hopkins, Principal of Shactee Engineering

Participants have developed networks with other small business owners with whom they can share best practices and collectively address business challenges. Businesses have also reported receiving more than $500,000 in debt and equity investments. A revolving loan fund and associated technical assistance will also be available to participants in ScaleUp Aurora programs.

Over the past 4 years, ScaleUp Aurora has served more than 100 Aurora-area small businesses by helping them create or retain more than 188 jobs. Many business sectors have been represented, including tourism, consulting, food and beverage, online training, manufacturing, fitness and wellness, and others.

To participate in upcoming ScaleUp Aurora programs, email Terri Simmons at for more information.
Women’s Business Development Center
43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora, IL 60506

Head Forefront Event

Area Non-Profits Attend Forefront Event in Chicago

The Dunham Fund along with our community peer funder, the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, invited and provided group transportation for representatives from local nonprofits to attend the Forefront 45th Annual Luncheon in Chicago on June 4, 2019.

Governor J.B. Pritzker made a brief appearance and over 900 attendees listened to a lively panel discussion on how philanthropy is evolving while creating lasting impact. Several powerhouse female philanthropic leaders participated in the discussion including: Julia Stasch (MacArthur Foundation), LaJune Montgomery Tabron (W.K. Kellogg Foundation), Liz Thompson (The Cleveland Avenue Foundation), and Stacy Palmer (The Chronicle of Philanthropy).

The Dunham Fund supports a wide range of learning and networking opportunities for area nonprofits. Email Holly Sambucetti at if you are interested in being a part of future events.