Sharif Walker is a change agent who is passionate about serving disadvantaged youth and revitalizing communities. Challenges and changes in family dynamics during his early childhood and adolescent years inspired him to become a community advocate dedicated to providing supportive environments that enable underserved youth on Chicago’s South and West Sides to thrive.
A certified youth development practitioner, Sharif’s 20+ year career in Chicago’s philanthropic sector includes stints at the Chicago Park District and managing multi-million dollar budgets, strategic partnerships, and teams at the nationally recognized, out-of-school time organization, After School Matters®; providing programming to nearly 9,000 teenagers annually.
Deeply committed to civic engagement, Sharif is the former board chair of Austin Coming Together and founded his own nonprofit organization, Pyramid Players Productions. Since 2015, Sharif has volunteered as a Youth Advisor for Illinois State Representative LaShawn K. Ford (D-8th District), facilitating events and advising the office on issues impacting youth.
A well-respected community leader, Sharif has received multiple awards for his work including; the Ember Award from the Black United Fund of Illinois , Planting Seeds of Change Award from Taproots, Inc., Committee Service Award from the Westside Ministers Coalition, and the Far South Community Action Council (Chicago Public Schools) Humanitarian Award.
Through his newest venture, Ground Game Consulting, Sharif provides strategic guidance to organizations and individuals seeking to change socioeconomic circumstances for youth and families in their local communities. Some of his clients include the Chicago Bulls, Austin Community Action Council, and the Austin Town Hall Park Advisory Council.
Sharif earned a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University (Missouri) and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lewis University. A proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a committed father and husband; Sharif resides in Chicago’s Austin community with his wife, Natasha and daughter, Morgan.
A career in Social Service
Sharif Walker is a champion for social innovation and community sustainability. With more than 20 years of experience, he has been transforming communities by providing equitable resources, facilitating tough conversations and developing quality programming that enrich the lives of Chicago’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.
Youth Sport Advocacy
Expanded Mayor Daley’s Neighborhood Sports program from 17 to 31 Chicago Park District sites from 2008 to 2012.
Civic and Social Engagement
Advised Representative La Shawn Ford’s office on issues regarding 8th Legislative District youth and co-facilitated community events to address those issues.
Responsibly managed a budget of over $8 million for the largest organization serving teens in the nation, After School Matters; Developed and sustained productive relationships with schools, parks, libraries, civic leaders, parks and policing districts to ensure more than 9,000 youth were served annually and more than 200 instructors were supported.
Youth Program Assessment and Design
Designed and implemented Ada S. McKinley’s first incentive-based behavior improvement system improving the learning outcomes of more X students.
Served as the Board Chairman of Austin Coming Together, leading community change and securing partnerships to achieve economic progress and improve families’ quality of life.
My Dad was many things I admired; an airforce pilot that talked me through every intricate detail of how paper airplanes flew, an architect who I watched draw designs for structures made of steel and concrete, a father with an afro and a dashiki that demanded respect...
Stay tuned for Blog posts and Video streams by me!
As a champion for social innovation and youth development, I hope to help youth and families thrive through
All content I produce will focus on these 6 areas:
✔ Change Management
✔ Youth Development
✔ Equity Matters
✔ Community Organizing