About Christopher Foltz

Social Enterprise Strategist, Philanthropist, and World Renowned Inspirational Speaker

tall-cfChanging the way the world thinks

Commissioner Christopher Foltz is a renowned brand development catalyst, educator, and celebrated inspirational speaker. From his roots in national politics, to a battle with drug addiction, 119 days in county jail, and losing everything to the point of homelessness, Chris has re-established himself as one of the most prolific initiators of social impact and development in Illinois, and some would consider – the world.

From strategies lending the creation of meaningful brand partnerships, crafted messaging and corporate give-back models, to advocating for the under-served through pro-bono work, lobbying and initiative implementation, Chris has forged his path as a communication specialist and a real asset to start-ups, global leaders, entertainers, athletes, government organizations, nonprofits and everyday people he serves.

Foltz has been featured in multiple newspapers, online publications, and media programs throughout the world and had the opportunity to speak across the nation on life, leadership, and organizational development.

A genuinely humble man with an echoing presence, Chris’ numerous accolades and accomplishments aid in defining his true ability to serve the masses, and offers an in depth look into his visionary insight. It’s hard to go far in Chicago without hearing Chris Foltz’s name or seeing evidence of his company’s impact.

Read More About Chris Foltz’s Interesting Journey Below

Drug Addiction & Jail

206952_5263565311_6110_nAfter leaving professional politics, Foltz returned to his hometown to aid his mother suffering from terminal cancer. During this time, Chris chose the road less traveled which resulted in drug addiction. His mother passed away and Foltz was arrested the day after his mother’s funeral for drug related theft. Chris spent the next 119 days in county jail undergoing drug rehab while his court case was being adjudicated. During this time, his mother’s house was foreclosed upon, all of his life possessions were thrown in dumpsters in the driveway,  ultimately leaving Chris homeless upon release from jail.

1653_10151682456115312_328941397_nChris was court ordered to spend the next 6 months in Waukegan, Illinois residing in the Oxford House independent living program. Oxford House provides safe, drug and alcohol free living environments for people starting their lives over on the right foot. After getting a job as a bartender and server at a fine dining restaurant in the Chicago suburbs, Foltz worked with a team of people he met in the Oxford House program to expand the Grand Experiment Charities. Grand Experiment successfully opened several “Oxford style” houses around Greater Chicago. Chris moved to Deerfield, Illinois to expand the Grand Experiment into an existing recovery home in the village.

“If it wasn’t for the Grand Experiment Charities showing me how to take my past and affect other people’s futures in a positive way, I would never be here today,” Foltz stated in an interview, “Of all the amazing opportunities I’ve had in my life, the people I’ve met, and the lessons learned, I enjoy talking about the road I went down, and the path I ultimately chose to get where I am today.”

A Brand is Born & Reborn & Reborn

Carmen-and-I-300x199In 2010, Foltz used the last $140 to his name and started his first communication strategy firm Christopher Foltz & Company, with more partners than clients. As the partnership slimmed down, CFCo saw incredible growth in the field of marketing and public relations.

“I have never taken a public relations class, or necessarily believed that making brands look better was what I was good at. We would get typecasted. To some we were a web design firm, a PR or advertising agency, and some, just a punching bag. I was interested in making brands better, not just look better.”

12618_10151497202180312_269044926_nIn early 2013 Christopher Foltz & Company’s original partnership ended and Chris reincorporated as Christopher Foltz Collaborative, L3C. The Collaborative was recognized as the first agency in the industry to require charitable give-back models amongst their entire client roster and was the first public relations strategy firm in America to re-incorporate as a Low Profit Limited Liability Company (L3C) and function as a Social Business Enterprise.

chriskendra2In April 2013, Chris lost his closest childhood friend Josh Schiro to a heroin overdose.  The same heroin addiction Chris and Josh started together, but thankfully Chris was able to overcome.  This tragedy was the catalyst for Chris to reflect upon himself and the legacy he strived to achieve. His constant involvement in the community and charitable programs were at the forefront of this mission, as he moved the Collaborative’s headquarters from a loft in Chicago’s trendy River North location, to a ground level storefront in an underserved region in Chicago’s West Side.  The same West Side Chris and Josh would venture into seeking heroin during their addiction, now serving as a home for his future endeavors.

65855_10151546822575312_641842508_nFacing theft, vandalism, original business debt, potential eviction, Chris’ own operational shortcomings, a flood to the newly renovated basement and complete loss of funding from a “backer” that didn’t… back, Chris and his team faced every possible challenge to launching in the direction they had pursued for nearly a year, but Chris managed to hold everyone together to continue down a path he knew to be right.

This profound self realization led Chris and his core team to pursue his true north: The Social Policy Institute. Today, Chris has built SPI for the sole purpose of educating those who think they “can’t” – with the necessary tools to realize that they can. As an advocate for the underserved and a lobbyist for those who can’t speak for themself, SPI offers an opportunity to move the needle when it comes to social issues, and the causes of the people.

Community Leadership & Politics

obamaA former Republican Party leader during his undergraduate career, Chris had the honor of serving as Chapter Chairman, State Chairman, Midwest Caucus Leader, National Marketing Director, and National Board Member for the College Republican National Committee. During Foltz’s College Republican leadership tenure, he was responsible for the largest growth in Illinois College Republican Federation history, by fostering 38 new college level organizations in Illinois, creating a statewide minority outreach program, and bringing Illinois to national recognition as a pillar of state organizations at the College Republican National convention in Washington D.C.

podium-210x300In late 2009, Chris was nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Board of Trustees as Chairman of the Community Relations Commission for the Village of Deerfield, Illinois.  The Community Relations Commission studies and recommends various means of developing better relationships among all residents in a diverse and inclusive community. The commission also promotes and supports initiatives with federal, state and local governmental agencies, commissions, businesses, schools, civic and religious organizations, neighborhood and community events aimed at increasing goodwill and civic engagement among the residents and the global community at large.  

At the age of 28, Foltz was the youngest commission chairman in the Village of Deerfield’s history, until 2013 when he was one of the authors amending the ordinance he changed a few years prior – allowing young leaders from age 14 to serve as Commissioner and play an active role in municipal government. By the stroke of a pen, Foltz made it impossible for himself to ever be recorded as the youngest commission in village history in the future. “This has never been done before, and I couldn’t be more honored to make history like this in a community I love. If I run for office in the future – I would be honored to lose to one of these two young Commissioners.” said Foltz at the recent introduction of the new Commissioners to the Village Board.

307134_10150422097545312_20154110_nUpon completing being released from jail and now homeless, Foltz moved to Waukegan Illinois to start over in a recovery home. Chris was at odds with the Republican Party; despite all his accolades during his political career.  “I remember my father telling me to not attempt to get involved with politics again – they wouldn’t allow it. I tried without luck at first. I will just say my entrance to Democrat politics wasn’t filled with roses and cotton candy either,” said Foltz in an interview. After a fight to get involved across the aisle, and after proving he wasn’t an implant from the old administration, Chris got involved with the Young Democrats of America (YDA) and served as a delegate and credentials committee member at the 2009 National Convention. He was later named the Communication Director for the Great Lakes Region of the YDA.  

485899_10151682479880312_1272301238_nAfter his involvement with the YDA, Foltz reemerged as a political strategist getting an entire slate elected in Chicago North Shore, as well as serving as the successful campaign manager for the first female mayor in Deerfield, IL history. Chris served as both a political strategist and community organizer for Chicago’s 2011 Mayoral election. In the fall of 2011, Foltz was named to the National Finance Committee of Generation 44, the young professionals arm of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.  Currently, Chris has chosen to leave partisan politics to not limit reach during his pursuit in making an impact amongst every community he can.

Foltz is currently an active member of both the Business Opportunities, and Outreach Committees of the Illinois Governor’s Taskforce on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise. In addition to his ongoing mission to create social change, Chris has served as the Association Board President of A Safe Haven Foundation, one of the nation’s largest foundations focused on ending homelessness. In 2013 A Safe Haven Foundation was recognized as one of twelve “Champions of Change” by the White House. Foltz also served as a Metropolitan Committee member for Life Goes On – the Illinois Organ Donation Program and Chairman of the University of Illinois Chicago Robotic Kidney Transplant Ambassador Program.

Speaking, Training, Educating & Honors

562945_10151694298060312_1357295101_nIn the academic arena, Foltz serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Arts, Entertainment and Media Management department at Columbia College Chicago. Foltz teaches both undergraduate and graduate studies with a focus on Entrepreneurship & New Business Creation.

Chris’ educational focus is not based solely in pursuit of a degree or a certification attainment. Instead, he is determined to inspire those who have the desire to learn for a purpose through practical application. His teaching style has received much attention from both students, faculty and attendees alike.

cf-speak“I remember waiting to get the results of my first faculty review. I guess the real world isn’t just based around RateMyProfessor.com.  I have never been one for getting high marks on reviews from administration as I relentlessly buck the status quo. I couldn’t have been more excited seeing the great things such a respected faculty member had to say. She did say she didn’t think I would be able to teach the same way with the same results in a larger class size. So I asked for a larger class size.”

260180_10151347547180312_183656377_nThrough various speaking tours, stages and media appearances across the world, Foltz has shared his message with hundreds of thousands of people. Whether he’s speaking on stage to those seeking advice on furthering their businesses and organizations, or preparing students enrolled in his college courses for the trials and tribulations an entrepreneur will face, one factor will always remain the same: help any and all who are passionate to learn not only for their own benefit but also for the benefit of others.

Chris and his team have been honored many times with awards, media acknowledgement, and the occasional thank you in a government report. Some notable recent honors include; A two time Chicago Innovation Award Nominee, the Corporate Award of Leadership Excelling from the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, Leadership Recognition – Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, Nebraska Art History Award – State of Nebraska, Trumpet Award – Publicity Club of Chicago, Chicagoan of the Week – The Top Sheet, and 2014 Nomination – American Red Cross Hero.  In 2013, Foltz was named an Ambassador of World Peace by Claes Nobel, senior member of the renowned Nobel Prize family, and World Peace One.

1412751_10152114771430312_798479508_o

Other Leadership & Involvement

During Chris’ college years he served as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education Student Advisory Committee, Student Body Comptroller, President of the Delta Chi Fraternity, and leadership roles and involvement in countless campus and community activities. During his tenure as president of his fraternity, Foltz’s chapter was featured in USA Today, and received national recognition for their outstanding philanthropy program. Ending his undergraduate studies in 2003, Foltz was honored with inclusion on the National Deans List, listed in Who’s Who of America’s Colleges and Universities four consecutive years, and selected for membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. During his senior year, Foltz was ranked among the top ten debaters in the United States competing in National Educators Debate Association collegiate debate. Chris was also selected for involvement in the international renowned The Washington Center internship program.

Foltz has been a member of the American Association of Political Consultants, American League of Lobbyists, Kiwanis International, Illinois Police Association, Young Democrats of Illinois, Deerfield Caucus Nominating Committee Chairman and Caucus Advisory Board Member, Deerfield Family Days Committee, Chicago’s Second Ward Democratic Organization, and is a Master Mason and past member of the Ben Hur Lodge of the A.F.A.M.

Interesting Christopher Foltz Facts

5
United States Presidents Chris Has Spent Time With
119
Days Chris Spent In Winnebago County Jail Rehab
432
Number of Hotdogs Chris Consumes in a Year
50000
Average Number Of People Chris Speaks In Front Of Annually

CHRIS FOLTZ 101

WE ALL HEAR THE STORIES AND MANY OF US KNOW HIS SHORTCOMINGS... BUT WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES CHRIS FOLTZ THE CENTER OF SUCH CHAOS AND FANFARE? WE ASKED SOME QUESTIONS & GOT SOME ANSWERS.

Is Chris Foltz a Corporate Misfit?

See What a Management Consultant Says

Is Chris Foltz a Cult Leader?

Hear a Chicago Media Personalities Take

Is Chris Foltz Crazy?

Two Social Impacters Weigh In

Is Chris Foltz Real?

One Graduate Student's Opinion

It’s not even cool to be the number one in your industry anymore. What’s cool is changing your industry forever.

-- Chris Foltz --

What I Do Best

When you focus on what you are PASSIONATE about, you can make MORE IMPACT in the businesses, organizations & lives you touch along the way.

TEACHING & TRAINING

The best learning happens through practical application. There are so many fake barriers we put into our lives. There isn’t much I haven’t had some sort of experience with, most likely a failure or two, and because I stuck through it – success. I teach and train on the very subject matters that brought me to where I am today.

I TEACH & TRAIN THROUGH

  • 1 on 1 & Group Workshops
  • Corporate & Board Retreats
  • Break Out Sessions
  • Churches & Faith Based Organizations
  • Conventions & Seminars
  • Schools & Universities
  • Columbia College Chicago (Enrolled Students)
  • Media Training
  • Debate Preparation

SPEAKING & INSPIRING

I have had the honor to speak in front of tens of thousands of people in recent years. Nothing is more inspiring to me, than seeing a group of people look at life through a slightly different filter after my presentations. I am available for Keynote, MC, Convention, Roundtable/Debate, & Break out group speaking.

I HAVE A VOICE ON

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Developing Your “Why”
  • Brand & Organizational Development
  • Social Enterprise & Social Impact
  • Reaction to Failures
  • Drug & Addiction Recovery
  • Issue Advocacy, Government & Politics
  • Public Relations, Marketing
  • Leadership Development

MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

There is surely a difference between doing things and making things happen. I am a mission oriented strategist. If your project only benefits you – I am not the one to help. I make things happen for people & causes I am personally passionate about. Thankfully – I am passionate about a lot – and I built an Institute around it.

I SERVE AS YOUR CATALYST IN

  • Initiative Creation & Development
  • Mission & Message
  • Strategic Relationships
  • Public Perception & Image
  • Issue Advocacy & Lobbying
  • Funding & Awareness
  • Social Impact & Give Back Models
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Coalition Building
  • Mission/Brand Vetting

CHECK ME OUT TALKING ABOUT POST MAYOR DALEY CHICAGO

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What People Say

  • In my entire career as a lawyer and as the Alderman representing Chicago’s downtown Second Ward I have never met someone with industry insight like Chris Foltz. Christopher Foltz Collaborative’s dedication to the local and global community is present in their teams strategy on a daily basis.

    Alderman Bob Fioretti, Chicago's Downtown 2nd Ward
  • When I moved back to Chicago and started networking, I kept hearing the name Christopher Foltz Collaborative. I finally felt compelled to see what Chris’ company could do to rejuvenate my brand. Within the first 5 minutes of our conversation I knew we would be doing business together. Chris Foltz has his hand on the pulse of branding, marketing, media, politics and anyone and everyone who would be an asset to my business. What started as a one-time service provider has now turned into a permanent business and personal relationship!

    Lisa Lockwood, Author and Media Personality
  • In my career spanning service as a military officer, an academic, author, and a corporate and organizational consultant, I have never met someone like Chris Foltz. Both his mind and heart are in the right place and that is clearly seen everyday working with him. His unique approach to taking brands and lives to peak levels while giving back is nothing short of amazing. I am equally honored to have him as a partner on my team now, and working on his team in 2013.

    Dr. Rich Schuttler, Former Dean - University of Phoenix
  • When it comes to marketing and public relations here in Chicago and across the country, Christopher Foltz Collaborative is the place to go. People ask me all the time why I would need a pr and marketing person since I’m on the radio and television everyday. Well, until Chris Foltz is your pr and marketing person, you just don’t get it. The guy is amazing! Foltz gets it!  I HIGHLY recommend Chris and his team for your career or business!

    Pete McMurray, Top Chicago Radio/Television Personality

Contact

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Social Policy Institute Inc., 2221 W. Taylor St. Chicago, Illinois