Odyssey Scholars



Henry Williams Love Foundation has partnered with the University of Chicago-Odyssey Scholars Program and have three amazing interns that will be joining us this summer in operations and programming. We are excited to have them and will introduce them when they come onboard in a couple of weeks. HWLF appreciates this opportunity to support the education of our nation’s future leaders.

Long Way From Okay

4bd3cb2ff164af25b9a9ed200b671e79-2Henry Williams Love Foundation (HWLF) continues to help behind the scenes. We are a small but strategical force that leverages our talent and resources to help those in need. We move privately to respect the dignity of those we support in our emergency services, unplanned loss, and advocacy programs (Stretch and Heal, Connected Through Hoops, Arts and Activism Scholarship Partnership with Safe and Sound). HWLF continues to champion arts-based programs that use poetry and music to tell stories and highlight the unheard (Homeroom Poetry, Modge Podge Poetry, Eye Recite). We are teaching girls in The Shuri Project about all of the opportunities along the continuum of technology and not just coding because why do Black girls have to be boxed into categories? That’s true for Black people generally speaking.

There are so many people really hurting in Metro Chicago. They were hurting before the pandemic. The racially-based injustices that plague this country are burdensome, with lasting effects on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. HWLF, through its staff, Board, and volunteers are doing what we can to help. But none of what we do will matter if the world does not value Black people as humans.

If the systems that support institutions (education, jobs, banking, justice, media, philanthropy, etc.) deem is okay to discriminate against Black people, then we will never be okay. Even when the protests are quiet. Even when the riots and looting stops. Even when those that lost start to rebuild. Even when we stop saying the names of those who have died unjustly and inhumanely. If this world returns to its regularly scheduled program of racism, discriminatory practices, profiling, oppression, and injustice…WE WILL NOT BE OKAY.

Now Hiring Poetry Life Coaches

Henry Williams Love Foundation (HWLF) was established to provide short-term supportive services, programs, and projects to youth and families in need. Henry lost both of his parents at a very young age and has always demonstrated the greatest capacity for love for those who experience such unplanned loss or unexpected needs. The Henry Williams Love Foundation, in keeping with the values of his life, hopes to be a blessing to many for years to come.

Homeroom Poetry-01                            Eye Recite Logo Presents

The Foundation currently offer three poetry programs (Modge Podge Poetry, Homeroom Poetry, and Eye Recite) under our arts appreciation focus aimed with bringing art to places and spaces that typically get ignored. HWLF is searching for two new Poetry Life Coaches to provide community-based poetry and creative arts workshops across Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. These workshops can occur during the school/work day, after school, or on weekends.

Poetry Life Coaches are 1099 contractors for HWLF and compensated twice monthly through online invoicing. These positions are not eligible for fringe benefits offered by HWLF and are not employees of HWLF, therefore are not subject to any withholdings including unemployment benefits. All Poetry Life Coaches receive a mandatory paid four (4) hour orientation training and must complete the State of Illinois online mandated reported training.

Please complete this form if interested in the position and HWLF will get back to you in early February. Positions start in March 2020.

HWLF Launches Intern Program


Henry Williams Love Foundation
Non-Profit / Community Development Intern 

Henry Williams Love Foundation was established in May 2017 to provide advocacy and supportive services to youth and families in need. Since its founding, the organization has successfully launched five program initiatives and now seeks to launch an internship program. The business of non-profit organizations and how the successful ones remain present and active is a balance of skills, knowledge, and practical experience. There is no book that can teach you how to navigate the waters, but interning with Henry Williams Love Foundation can help fill the knowledge gap to keep you afloat. 


Given the nature of non-profit work, the candidate must have a passion for public sector service and community engagement. An ideal candidate will want to gain experience in grant writing, community and economic development, and urban studies. Work is assigned and supervised by the Board President of Henry Williams Love Foundation. Assignments are expected to be carried out under limited supervision remotely, therefore only candidates with sound judgment, time management skills, and internal motivation should apply. A laptop will be provided to complete internship tasks.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Using their individual interest, candidate will research and investigate new grant sources or innovative programs and present pertinent information to organization staff and Board Members.
  • Perform assignments relating to city planning, economic development, redevelopment initiatives, and program development.
  • Public Sector discovery and engagement – In order to engage with community leaders, knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of local, state, and federal government offices and programs is needed.
  • He/She will develop and draft internal and external documents and materials to build or retain relationships with donors, volunteers, community members, and other supporters of the non-profit organization.
  • Fundraising Activities – Coordination of existing fundraising efforts while exploring new approaches to generate support for organization
  • Outreach – Increase awareness of organization goals and the mission it serves, to as wide of an audience as possible.

Qualifications / Education:

The best candidates will be chosen from a pool of students (high school, undergraduate, or graduate) who can demonstrate that they seek to gain hands on experience in grassroots community development within an international organization. If you desire to learn how to establish and manage a non-profit organization while creating fund development opportunities for projects, programs, and initiatives, then interning with Henry Williams Love Foundation is for you. 


  • Confidentiality Agreement to protect work products of Henry Williams Love Foundation.
  • Minimum five hours per week spent working on projects and tasks.
  • Attendance at events as needed.
  • Submittal of all work assignments within determined deadlines.
  • User of FB, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office, Google Suite, Dropbox, Slack, and Skype (will train right candidate)
  • Responsive to emails, text messages, and social media posts/inboxes.
  • Public speaker or the desire to push past the fear of public speaking.
  • Willingness to learn and ask questions.
  • A “can do” attitude. Positive Vibes Only.

Application process:

Interested candidates should complete an online application at http://bit.ly/intern2019hwlf.


Connected Through Hoops-Summer

Henry Williams Love Foundation in partnership with Chicago Youth Centers is proud to announce Connected Through Hoops-Summer! The Connected Through Hoops program is a fatherhood and father-adjacent mentoring program. The goal is to provide a safe and therapeutic platform for fathers and sons, grandfathers and grandsons, uncles and nephews, and other father-adjacent figures with the boys they mentor to connect on a deeper level using the game of basketball as the tool.

We know that when men standup for their sons, family members, and other boys in the community, those boys thrive and do better in life.

Connected Through Hoops-Summer Flyer FINAL

Connected Through Hoops-Summer will be held every Saturday, starting on July 13th and ending August 17th at the following locations:

CYC-Rebecca K. Crown Youth Center (South Shore)
7601 S. Phillips Avenue
Chicago, IL 60649
9am to 11am

CYC-Sidney Epstein Youth Center (North Lawndale)
3415 W. 13th Place
Chicago, IL 60623

We are asking Fathers and Father-Adjacent Men to show up with the boys in your life and CONNECT THROUGH HOOPS. For more information about Connected Through Hoops and our other programs visit www.henrywilliamslove.org.

This program is made possible through our partnership with Chicago Youth Centers and Safe and Peaceful Chi. We are so grateful for the support!

Arts and Activism Scholarships

52602943_537743900066977_8014204112985915392_n.jpgHenry Williams Love Foundation (HWLF) is super proud to again partner with Safe and Sound on their Arts and Activism Scholarship Program in Chicago. The scholarships from HWLF will support students who have suffered the loss of a parent or are connected to the foster care system. The kickoff and launch of the scholarship application process will be on Friday, 2/22/19, from 6pm to 9pm at the Oakwood Shores Clubhouse (3825 S. Vincennes in Chicago) in conjunction with the Safe and Sound-Celebration of Blackness Poetry Cafe. Please spread the word so students, parents, educators, caseworkers and others can attend the event and ask questions about the scholarship process. If you are interested in donating toward the scholarship, please click the donations link above.

In an effort to be more resourceful for students not only applying for the Arts and Activism Scholarship, but anyone who is applying for a scholarship, fellowships or process that requires an application, HWLF has created the “5 Tips on Becoming a More Successful Scholarship Applicant.” The helpful and encouraging tips shared in this video are applicable to anyone applying for a scholarship regardless of age.

For more info about the Arts and Activism scholarship, visit http://www.safeandsoundconnect.org. And for more info on all the great program and services provided by HWLF, please visit http://www.henrywilliamslove.org.

New Year, New Projects!

Happy New Year! We are so thankful for every experience last year, ever person we helped, every partner we made, and everyone who helped support this organization. It is so important that Henry Williams Love Foundation stays true to its mission. And although we have the heart to help many, we want to ensure that our community-based, non-duplicative, gap filling philosophy of small acts of service is maintained. An online annual report for 2018, will be published on 2/1/18. Again, THANK YOU!


On to 2019! Henry Williams Love Foundation is happy to report our first partnership with the Chicago Public Library-Teen Services Department. We will be launching, Modge Podge Poetry, under our Arts Appreciation focus. Modge Podge Poetry is a makers workshop that guides teens on a personal literary journey that will manifest itself into a poem on canvas. The purpose of Modge Podge Poetry is to empower, provide introspection and creative expression, along with future goal forecasting all wrapped into an art project that teens can take home with them and serve as a reminder of their ambitions.

Modge Podge Poetry is scheduled for the following Chicago Public Libraries:

2/11:   Chicago Bee 4:00pm

2/27:   Thurgood Marshall 5:00pm

3/6:     Canaryville 4:00pm

3/13:   Wrightwood-Ashburn 4:00pm

3/21:   Avalon 4:00pm

4/11:   Edgewater 4:00pm

4/23:   Legler 3:00pm

Additionally, Modge Podge Poetry will be an all-day interactive activity available for attendees of the 4th Annual ChiTeen Lit Fest on Saturday, April 27th, 2019 at Columbia College Chicago. The ChiTeen Lit Fest (CTLF) is a for-teens-by-teens event that provides a safe and creative space for young adults to unlock and discover their unique voices through the literary arts. CTLF brings together young people from across Chicago to celebrate their talents as they express themselves through exceptional and honest art. This event is open to teens ages 13-19.

If you are interested in Modge Podge Poetry coming to your library, school, community center, church, or even corporate setting, please send us an email to info@henrywilliamslove.org and put “Modge Podge Poetry” in the subject line.


Gratitude in Loss and Leadership

I’ve experienced more loss in 2017 and 2018 than ever before in my life. First, my Father passed in May 2017. Then his Sister, my Aunt and only living sibling left of my father’s siblings, passed in July 2017. And all of that was happening while I had to lead Smart Chicago Collaborative through a merger which in many ways also felt like a loss. My Grandmother then passed in July 2018 and now my Mom on November 1st of this year. 240f07edfde5c34c7de5300a89e9609bIT HAS BEEN TOUGH! But I am middle- child tough and have always tried to live a deeply-rooted life, full of good purpose. Even with sadness, I want to be helpful to as many people as I can.

In The Secret Powers of Middle Children, Lynn Griffin, R.N., M.Ed shares on Psychology Today, how middle children are mistakenly labeled as undriven versus first-borns. She challenges that notion and believes middle-children are actually very driven and “more oriented to principles and concepts, like justice, over earning power or prestige.” I align with this frame of thought which has provided the framework for my entire life, inclusive of my career pathway. I am so grateful that I had fantastic parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and mentors who poured into me such love, and sometimes tough love, which I believe has made me a good leader.

f28dad37d5914b4874677d753a103b17When determining what Henry Williams Love Foundation (HWLF) would be organizationally and how we would serve those communities that needed the most help, the Board of Directors wanted to instill a sense of love and gratitude in the provision of services. The hope is that our community co-designers and participants experience healing and build resilience by spreading love and gratitude in their own life’s journey while retaining knowledge which helps with skill building. When the storms of life come, and they will as evident by my first paragraph, people can still find something in their day to be grateful for and keep thriving. Don’t ever underestimate the power of gratitude in difficult times. It serves as an excellent motivator and I believe an answer to the critics who believe social programming decreases resiliency and fortitude.

As I sort through the sadness and continue along this lifelong journey of gratitude, I know there are beautiful things coming along the path for HWLF, our partners, and participants. The Shuri Project has some expansion opportunities locally and internationally and we are trying to secure resources to realize that goal. Global Logo with Date_0We are launching the brother program to Shuri, The T’Challa Project, and currently, have a Go Fund Me Campaign in collaboration with #GivenTuesday that will assist with purchasing laptop computers to ensure we are ready for summer 2019. As we look to our other areas of focus, HWLF will introduce two new programs in December that we are really excited about and have a couple of promising ones that will be announced in January if funding is received.

I am grateful for the many colleagues, collaborators, stakeholders, community-champions, participants and friends who consider the words that I share and work that I do here at HWLF valuable. Building a new organization in the land of non-profits and the current philanthropic environment is tough, but again…I’m middle-child tough. 

Kyla Williams
President and CEO
Henry Williams Love Foundation


Ola Williams


It is with deep sadness, the Henry Williams Love Foundation announces the passing of Ola Williams, wife of the organization’s namesake, Henry Williams. The memorial services will be held on Monday, November 12, 2018 at Sun River Terrace Community Center (SRTCC) located at 7219 E Chicago Street, Sun River Terrace, IL 60964. The memorial service starts at 11am and the repast will immediately follow. Ola’s favorite color was navy blue, so the family is asking that everyone in attendance wear something navy blue in her honor. Flowers will be accepted at SRTCC. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made directly to the Henry Williams Love Foundation by clicking the donate button on this website. Cards and other written condolences can be mailed to PO Box 703, Hazel Crest, IL 60429 for those unable to attend.