2020: A Year of Resilience at RBA

2020 was a year unlike any other. 


Our students were forced to adapt to and overcome new challenges in ways they hadn't before. 


But through it all, they showed their resilience. And we couldn't be prouder.


That's why this holiday season, we're celebrating that resilience. We know 2020 was hard, but we're staying stronger and even more dedicated to our mission than ever before - and we're ready to face 2021 head on with your help. By supporting RBA today, you'll help us advance our mission for the future of our students.

Thanks for your support this holiday season.

Donate Now

Help our cause by contributing to our fundraising efforts.

No act of generosity is too small to make a difference.

Ryan Banks Academy is on a mission to become Chicago's first inner city, holistic boarding school for 7th through 12th grade students.


DONATE TODAY and your gift will be DOUBLED.


A generous donor has challenged us to raise $75,000 and they'll match it. With your help $75,000 can become $150,000 towards supporting our students.


Your gift will truly make a difference!


Ryan Banks Academy was founded on the belief that every child deserves a quality education in a safe learning environment regardless of what zip code they live in. We launched as a day school on the South Side of Chicago in 2018 and currently serve 7th, 8th and 9th graders. We are passionately pursuing the promise of a boarding school, and with your help we can realize that goal faster.

As a privately funded school, we depend on contributions from generous donors like you. Every dollar counts in supporting RBA's mission to change the trajectory of Chicago's under-served youth and to launch them into the next generation of leaders, thinkers and world-changers.

We also accept checks. Please send to 1245 S. Michigan #212, Chicago, IL 60605.

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Ryan Banks Academy
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Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago, IL, USA

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Hear from our supporters on what resilience at RBA means to them:

"Resiliency is a given at Ryan Banks Academy. Adverse conditions are a norm for our students, yet they are succeeding despite them, even during 2020. A passionate and dedicated school community is helping to ensure that our students do more than survive a challenging year - we are preparing them to thrive in the world." - Virginia Devlin, RBA Board Member


"RBA is the epitome of resilience - this past year they have adapted in huge effective and inspiring ways: coming up with a fabulous online 'gala', constantly finding ways to keep the students engaged and connected, keeping their same HUGE heart and passion and focus through so many ups and downs and challenges and hurdles.  I am continually impressed and motivated by RBA and how they choose to be in this world.  Proud to be a part of this strong, focused, consistent and love-inspired organization." - Alexandra Murman, RBA Board Member


"Resilience is never giving up. As a child, I read a lot of classics featuring people who worked hard through the obstacles life threw at them - Laura Ingalls, Willa Cather, Louisa May Alcott.  The characters in these books had a profound affect on me and my outlook.  2020 has not been a good year with so much loss and uncertainty, including my own job loss.  Yet when something is tough, requires a lot of work, or results in set-backs, I subconsciously think of the lessons from these books and keep at it.  The lessons and role models we have as kids are some of the most ingrained memories we have;  developing this resiliency while we're young is exponentially cheaper and more effective than trying to change when we're adults.  Val and the RBA team have faced the challenges 2020 has thrown at them, such as remote learning, political changes, and pandemic-induced health and economic uncertainties, and continually redefined their strategies to match - never wavering from their goal of educating at-risk youth.  Those who exhibit resiliency are best suited to teach others how to be resilient.  My money is on RBA to make the systemic difference Chicago needs, one neighborhood at a time." - K.S., Long-time RBA supporter


"Every organization develops some type of plan. Then the "real world" intervenes. RBA is realistic and resilient. If one of our strategies is not working, we adjust, and we implement a different strategy. This is resilience." - Jim Gagnard, RBA Board Member


"When I think of resiliency I think of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the ship, Endurance.  These men - despite all odds - figured a way out of a deadly situation and saved their lives by using their individual talents and collective brain power combined with incredible courage and a belief that they would prevail. The RBA team is using those same traits to realize the dream of being Chicago's first inner city boarding school and to succeed in changing the trajectory of our student's lives from hopelessness to hope." - Ann Zeiler, RBA Board Member

Hear directly from our students on what RBA means to them:

"RBA is fabulous because it is what I would call an escape, a safe haven from troubles that kids go through at home and troubles they go through in life. I love the teachers because they do great lesson plans to enhance our learning to make sure we are always ahead, rather than behind. Lessons are more engaging and they make you want to do more, and make you think better than at my old school. I have changed because I used to be really wild and it was something that I couldn't control, and it was easier to make friends at RBA - there is no bullying here - It is such a great environment.  A boarding school is important because there is so much violence in our neighborhoods - we need somewhere we can be safe so that we don't have to worry about things happening to just by stepping outside our front door." - Malyk


"RBA is special to me because we are able to get individual learning, and if we are behind, we can get 1 on 1 time with our teachers. Our teachers here are special because they are able to sit down with us about our problems, and we can talk to them when we feel down - we have their support. They push us to succeed, and they believe in us. What is amazing about a boarding school is that we can learn how to live on our own so that we can be better equipped for college, and kids don't have to worry about transportation. I've grown and changed since coming to this school because at CPS I was always in trouble, but since coming here to RBA my vision for my life has totally changed - I want to succeed, and I want to get good grades and push myself." - Jamie