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from Stephanie Gadlin's article @chicagocrusader

"With a voice as smooth as honey mixed with hot buttered soul, Barbara Acklin became one of the most prolific singer/songwriters of the 20th Century. Regarded as the “First Lady of Brunswick,” or soul empress, Acklin sold millions of records, and is responsible for chart-topping hits such as “Have You Seen Her,” and “Stoned Out of My Mind,” by The Chi-Lites.

In recognition of Black History Month, Brunswick Records honored Acklin for her lifelong contributions to American music."

Brunswick Records' Chicago office was located at 1449 S. Michigan Ave, which also formerly housed the headquarters of Vee-Jay Records and is currently home to @overflowchicago. The coffee shop pays homage to its history with specialty espresso drinks like the Vee-Jay and Record Row, a wall of framed album covers produced by Vee-Jay Records, and a wall-sized photo mural of the original Vee-Jay executive team. 

"In 1966 Barbara Acklin took a receptionist job at Brunswick ... where she went on to help craft the label’s signature sound, making it a music powerhouse for a decade. Brunswick was instrumental in developing a new genre of music, called “Chicago Soul,” a sound rich in full-bodied gospel, blues and jazz."

Acklin's daughter, Samotta, was interviewed at Overflow Coffee by both @wgntv and @nbcchicago, for a segment about Barbara to be aired during #womenshistorymonth.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE

Excerpts from Stephanie Gadlin's article @chicagocrusader

Women's "HER" Story Month at Entrenuity and Overflow: Meet the Artists

Yolanda Richards, founder of Imagery by Chi, Mox.E Member and Entrenuity's photographer of choice, has been working as a professional photographer since 2015, focusing mainly on event photography and headshots/portraits. Yolanda is hosting a Women's History Month Art Exhibit at Overflow Coffee on March 12, 2022. We are excited to partner with her for this event featuring local Black women artists!

Jasmine Sims is a spoken word artist and a story teller. She has been writing since she was a child and began spoken word in high school. It is her desire to tell of her faith in Christ and experience in hopes into encourage to seek God and not give up in life.

Jennifer L. Hodges is an Abstract Acrylic & Mixed Media Visual Artist from Detroit, Michigan. Her creative career has been strategically integrated in her formal education and has spanned over 20+ years. Hodges began writing poetry at age 11 to manage personal trauma and began painting while pursuing her undergraduate degree. Hodges now exhibits across the U.S. and her work has been added to many private collections. She is consistently creating new work in her Chicago, Southside studio.

Yolanda Richards fell in love with photography at a young age and in 2015 established "Imagery By Chioma." Through her photography, she believes in the power of storytelling and capturing powerful moments in time. Yolanda is excited to curate more events in the Chicago/Chicagoland area to promote and support local artists and their talents.

Yolanda Event Header



The reopening of The Common Cup in September was met with resounding support from the Rogers Park community. People continue to voice their joy at the return of the shop, telling the baristas how happy they are to get their coffee at their favorite neighborhood shop once again.

The Rogers Park Business Alliance recently hosted a ribbon cutting extravaganza for newly opened (and reopened businesses) in the neighborhood and Common Cup was excited to be included! The support of the Rogers Park community and the Business Alliance helped make reopening a dream come true and sales continue to show that the community is thrilled to have us back.

Since reopening in September, Common Cup has hosted two events in the shop, one with Loyola’s Sunrise Movement group and a book signing event with local author Joe Rulli and Shy City House. We look forward to hosting many more events in the future and keeping the coffee brewing in our community!

Mox.E Member Spotlight

Zach and Brotherhood Mentoring

Zachary Strother, MA., has been teaching, mentoring, and training young people for over 20 years. Zach has been both a public and private school teacher, founded a Christian School, worked with the renowned Youth Guidance Becoming a Man clinical counseling program, and currently works as an officer with the Chicago Police Department. Zach serves on several advisory boards, providing strategic consulting in the area of reengaging youth in work and school.

Zach recently founded BROTHERHOOD MENTORING, a faith-based, trauma-informed mentoring and team collaboration program that promotes social, emotional, and spiritual growth in urban youth. Brotherhood Mentoring targets youth ages 11-17 who are referred by teachers, counselors, police officers, pastors, or other youth-serving professionals as being at-risk of not reaching their full potential due to challenges at home, school, or in their neighborhood. Brotherhood addresses relationship skills, responsibility, and decision-making related to personal life, educational success, and manhood. Statistics show that youth who have a mentor are 50% more likely to attend college, 46% less likely to abuse drugs, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

Zach founded Brotherhood due to the difference mentoring made in his own life and the lives of his closest friends. “Growing up in a violent neighborhood, our lives were shaped by mentors who spent time with us, shared with us the Gospel, taught us responsibility, modeled love of neighbor, and showed us how to be husbands and fathers.”

Brotherhood Gym Shoe Ball: July 23




Overflow Coffee held its Grand Opening Feb 2021 during Black History Month, nearly two years after turning off the espresso machine in the former State Street location. Many obstacles and delays kept us from relaunching in our new space sooner. Still, we overcame them all to open during Black History month in a historic building with a rich history of Black excellence.

Overflow reopened at 1449 S Michigan Ave–the former headquarters of Vee-Jay records. This Black-owned record company made a space for Black talent to prosper in the white-dominated music industry in the 50's and 60's. Pictured on the shop's back wall is the original Vee-Jay executive team: James Bracken, Ewert Abner, Vivian Carter-Bracken, and Calvin Carter, who initiated Vee-Jay Records' rise to acclaim. Overflow Coffee is proud to call this historic location home and honor Vee-Jay Records' legendary contribution to the music industry throughout the space.

Now more than ever, Overflow Coffee exists to push away the social stigmas of our generation and propel today's people—artists, visionaries, and entrepreneurs, alike—to greater heights by welcoming them with a seat at the table, a cup of coffee, and a space to simply be. To belong, regardless. This is Overflow Coffee, a space to prosper.

Photo Gallery

Budgeting for Sustainability

“How are you making it?” This was the question posed to me by a colleague and nonprofit leader during COVID. My reply was simple, “I’m looking to grow and expand our [Entrenuity’s] reach.” My colleague went on to explain that much of his programming revenue was beginning to slow down. Programs such as tutoring, mentoring and summer camps—his primary revenue drivers—were being put on hold, as COVID19 social-distancing guidelines severely limited his cash flow. Cash is king any business, but especially in nonprofits. Without the revenue for his programs, his organization’s very existence is in question. The mindset of simply making it, is simply not enough.

Many in the nonprofit industry build organizations on programs that are not profitable. I know it may seem sacrilegious to speak in terms of nonprofits generating “profits,” but a mindset shift is needed for nonprofits to create sustainability, especially as donations to nonprofits have been decreasing, even prior to COVID19¹. Most nonprofits that are service based, create programs to solve a problem. To operate the program, they write a proposal, create a budget, and then seek a funding source to fund/underwrite their program. Often after many laborious hours of searching for a funder(s) and submitting proposals, they either:

        a: find a donor(s) to launch the program,

        b: do not launch the program at all, or 

        c: launch the program regardless of whether the funding has been secured. 

Simply making it, is simply not enough.

As many in the nonprofit space know, often nonprofits elect option c—since the need is so compelling and we hope to identify donors while operating the program. This is a classic nonprofit mistake that strains the organization’s financial, human, and operational resources. This model results in less than stellar outcomes and programs that are subpar in execution and delivery—and consumes staff resources. It can feel like “making bricks without straw.” I believe there is a better way to improve outcomes: Programming Markup Creates Organizational Sustainability.

When building a program budget, staff salaries is typically the highest expense. Most nonprofits do not build their programmatic budget models to account for this expense beyond the staff’s hourly rate. Even if a staff person is on salary, it is necessary to determine their hourly rate. However, there are expenses in addition to that rate the organization must account for, such as overhead and administrative costs. Not factoring these expenses into programmatic budgets leaves organizations vulnerable to being under-resourced and leads to instability.

To illustrate this principle:  consider operating an after-school mentoring class with one staff person assigned to the program. The hourly rate for the staff member providing the direct instruction is $20.00 per hour and the program requires 100 hours of direct services. By multiplying the hourly rate of $20.00 per hour by the 100 hours of direct instruction, the direct instruction cost is $2,000. However, to reflect the true cost, you must include more than the staff person’s hourly rate in your budget, as the actual cost to the organization can include payroll taxes, benefits, administrative and overhead expenses. By budgeting the staff person’s hourly rate plus at least a 35% increase to account for the other expenses, the hourly instruction cost is $27.00 per hour. Therefore, in the program budget, the staffing budget should increase from $2,000 to $2,700. Now there is an added $700 to cover costs. Factoring in the added expenses helps build sustainability.

By managing expenses and keeping costs down, the added funds earned from a well-executed program can be used to help the organization meet expenses, create sustainability, and build reserves, along with rewarding staff with annual bonuses for well planned and executed programs. Under budgeting lessens the likelihood of success and organizational stability.


¹Paul Clolery News September 5, and Paul Clolery. “Fundraising, Number of Donors Plunging.” The NonProfit Times,