Founded in 1869 as a Civil War orphanage, UCAN is one of Chicago’s oldest social service agencies that provides programs and services to more than 15,000 at-risk Illinois children, youth and families. Programs include a therapeutic youth home, counseling, transitional and independent living programs, two therapeutic day schools, foster care placement, workforce development programs, leadership training and violence intervention and prevention programs. As UCAN’s CEO Zack Schrantz explains, “Our vision is to help youth who have suffered trauma become our future leaders, which means we address their past as we provide the support and resources to help them become the leaders of tomorrow.”
In 2015, UCAN opened the first phase of its new seven-acre campus in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. With its sprawling facilities, youth dormitories, over 700 employees, diverse donor pool and growing range of programs, UCAN increasingly relies on Alper Services. Since 2004, UCAN has turned to its Alper Team of Experts to continually examine its emerging risks, manage its claims, ensure adequate risk-transfer measures are in place, and reduce its workers’ compensation costs.
For example, when UCAN created a workforce development program to place young people in internship positions with area employers, the Alper Team identified inherent risks and architected a program to ensure coverage in the event a student’s actions resulted in property damage or losses to employers. Alper’s EVP, Bobette Puckett, went so far as to arrange introductions with the UCAN program administrators and other of her Clients to find potential job placements for program participants. When UCAN planned construction of their new campus, it partnered with Alper to help establish and negotiate the insurance coverages and indemnification clauses in UCAN’s contracts with the general contractor and its subcontractors.
As Zack explains, “The entire Alper Team works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our operations and procedures are optimized to minimize the risk of claims. The inherent risks in our programs are planned for, our insurance coverages adequate to cover these risks, and our claims handled efficiently and expeditiously. While not glamorous work, it’s a critical piece of our business and allows me and my team to focus on giving our youth the help they need to be the leaders and achievers.”
As they celebrate their 150th anniversary, UCAN can surely be called a transformative presence in our community. Our plan, as their risk manager, is to continue to fully support their mission of helping the youth of Chicago achieve their best and brightest future.