The Story

Towers of Excellence Foundation was founded to provide underserved youth with the necessary tools to navigate and succeed in their daily lives. Through quality mentoring, academic guidance, and valuable life experiences, students will be equipped to face the challenges and joys of the world. 

My name is Katie List, I am the Executive Program Director for Towers of Excellence Foundation. For over 10 years, I had the opportunity to serve as a Principal, Curriculum Director, Dean, and Lead Teacher in CPS and The Catalyst Schools. These experiences, serving students and their families, evolved my belief that all students, regardless of life circumstances, deserve the following: quality education; academic, social, and emotional support; career opportunities; and, valuable life experiences. 

In 2016 Towers of Excellence launched and welcomed its first cohort of 6th grade students. We now serve over 20 students in the 6th thru 8th grades. We have 5 incredible mentors to guide our students to success. We continue to grow and expand our service each year with the support of our donors, sponsors, and partners. We have a structured program, which we continue to refine to meet the needs of all of our middle school students.

Middle School Towers of Excellence Program- 3 Modules: 

1. Character Drives Success- 6th Grade Module, designed for each student to obtain and develop their knowledge around our Be SMART (Be Self-Aware, Be Mindful, Be Authentic, Be Responsible, and Be Tenacious) core values. Students apply their learning in rigorous studies, real-life experiences, and weekly small-group meetings.

2. Creating Curious Minds- 7th Grade Module, which is aligned with our Be SMART core values, students create a Road-map to Success. This is a detailed plan designed to prepare our students for their future academic future and professional careers. 

3. Creating Young Entrepreneurs- 8th Grade Moduledesigned for 8th grade students to apply our Be SMART core values to further develop their entrepreneurial spirit. Students will explore and develop business ideas and models. Students will also engage in rigorous preparation for high school, college, and career readiness. 

Our middle school program will prepare each of our students for high school, college, and beyond. Students will receive the individual support they need to choose and attend a quality high school, college, and plan for their career of interest. Our goal is for each student to become a productive member of society. 

I am grateful each and every day to serve as the Executive Program Director for Towers of Excellence. It brings me joy in my personal and professional life to work with such a dynamic group of adults and students.

Our Core Values



Be Self-Aware:

Being someone with an awareness of one's own personality or individuality. Having true self awareness and self respect. Being someone that understands there are other viable ways of handling situations in a positive manner.

Be Mindful:

Being someone who pays attention in order to learn, grow, and make good decisions. Being someone who hears what is being said, and understands that what someone is saying is important.

Be Authentic:

Being someone with confidence in oneself and in one's powers and abilities. Internalizing a core set of principles, used as a guide to turn positive thoughts into things.

Be Responsible:

Being someone with the capacity for moral decisions, being accountable and reliable in all situations and capable of rational thought or action.


Be Tenacious:

Being someone with a vision. Being someone who is constantly planning and working to achieve their vision.

Our Donors

A special thank you to our donors.

$50,000 - $99,999

Watchtower Security

$20,000 - $49,999

Chicago Baseball and Education Academy

$5,000 - $19,999

CLA Grant Award

$1,000 - $4,999

The Smith Family
Andy Nastoupil
The Landwehr Family
Ryan Stevens & Fairway Management
Johanna Probst
The Epstein Family

$500   - $999    

Axis Communications
Todd Birkenholz
The Landwehr Family
Dan Thieret
Kevin Laune
Dave Collins
Ryan Poertner
Olympus Property
William Bredenkoetter
Edward Dehner
The Chuck Cook Foundation
Bruce Schnieder & Schneider Industries

$250   - $499    

Dillon Alexander
Reid Christie
The Bob Green Family
David Marcinkowski
Caleb Sheppard
Brent Sobol
Brain Hey
The Burnett Family
Doug Auer & Third Degree
Veteran's Care Coordination
Christopher Augmon Fine Jewelry
Meghan Meehan
Bill Bredenkoetter
Wayne Klenke
Bradley Butler

$150   - $249    

Matt Skarin
The Debold Family
Carolyn Thompson
The Mitchell Family
The Kurlowski Family
The Lipp Family
The Miller Family
Jeff Locker
John and Dale List
James Lang

$150   -    Under    

Greg Hoffmeyer
Chris Kolb
Scott Mortimer
Chris Emmengger
Mike Clark
Kevin McCulloch
Phillip E Bogucki
The Green Family
The Gogel Family
James Mealey
Thomas Keefe III
Marcio Guzman
The Craig Family
The Mirretti Family
The Brown Family
The Ray Family
Thomas Emmons
Jacob Resch
Andrew Pieplow
The McGuire Family
The Wendel Family
The Heckemeyer Family
The Barnett Family
Lisa Houdei
Kasey Morris
Alan Boime
Cary Wilson
Shannon Rico
Kate List
Brad Wood
The Hoos Family
Jared Heckemeyer
The O'Brien Family
Carl Holt
Joe Denos
Jim Chadd
Chanda Chadd
Jeremy Novak
Kelly Bender
Darin Windsor
Andy Burks
David Albin
Matt Powell
John Mitchell
Aaron Swain
Michael Bakermann
Steve Stodnick
Brian Redders
Nick Stremlau
Charlie Smith
Darwin Chambers
David Kantrovitz
Dan Oriscoll
David Webb

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