During this season of gratitude, the Metropolitan Planning Council is especially grateful for its many generous donors who make our vitally important initiatives, original research, capacity building, and public education and engagement possible. Throughout an especially challenging year, MPC’s philanthropic partners have stepped up in major ways, allowing us to seize opportunities to exercise an active role in regional recovery and disrupting the status quo.
Paul Carlisle, Chief Operating Officer (Commercial Banking) of the Wintrust Financial Corporation, is among MPC’s most valued and reliable champions. Mr. Carlisle serves as Co-Vice Chair of Development Committee, he Co-Chairs MPC’s Land Use & Planning Committee, and has been on MPC's Board of Governors since 2007. He is a consistent advocate for the Council’s work, having spoken on issue-based panels or making presentations on MPC’s behalf. Paul is also a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion and has completed the Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti-Racism (CROAR) training with MPC staff.
In November 2020, MPC Development Manager Matt Altstiel asked Mr. Carlisle what keeps him engaged in the work of MPC.
MPC: Paul, what does supporting MPC mean to you personally?
Paul Carlisle: I’ve lived and worked in the Chicago area my entire life. Over time, I felt the desire to find a way that I could help make this region a better place to live. My involvement with MPC has allowed me to do that with an organization that is greatly respected and has real impact.
MPC: What does supporting MPC mean to Wintrust?
PC: Wintrust is Chicago’s hometown bank. It just makes sense to align with an organization like MPC that is nonpartisan, dedicated to a higher quality of life for all Chicagoans, and committed to making positive change in our region.
MPC: What program or line of work of MPC’s most excites you, and why?
PC: Most recently, it has been the Cost of Segregation study and the action plan that grew out of that study. The study translated the somewhat abstract concept of segregation in Chicago into concrete and frightening numbers that clearly showed what our segregation levels were costing all of us in the region. MPC didn’t rest after defining the problem, following up with a guidebook outlining practical ideas to begin solving the problem. To me, that whole process was exciting, enlightening, sometimes fun, and sometimes painful.
MPC: You’ve been a longstanding supporter of MPC and an active board member. What keeps you engaged and energized?
PC: One aspect of my involvement with MPC that keeps me engaged and energized is absorbing the energy from staff when MPC takes on a new project. Another is the diversity of the work that MPC does. Most importantly, it is the satisfaction when MPC is the catalyst for change and the concern that comes from knowing our work is not nearly done.
MPC: What do you wish more people knew about MPC?
PC: While MPC is often the catalyst for change, our work is often early in the process. When a positive policy change is implemented or legislation has passed, I don’t think people always connect the dots back to MPC. Last week when I received a year-end appeal letter from MPC, I was reminded of a few examples of visible, positive change that was initiative or moved forward by the work of MPC. I wish more people knew about stories like these.
MPC: How does supporting MPC help advance your work?
PC: For both the company and me personally, alignment with MPC contributes to brand and reputation building. It shows that we “walk the talk” of supporting the community that we serve. For me personally, my board role has enhanced my reputation as a leader in the community and allowed me to meet and become friends with some of the most influential people in the area. Practically speaking, I’ve selectively used MPC events to build my relationships with customers, prospects, and referral sources.
MPC: Thank you again, Paul, for everything you do for MPC and for our region!
Inspired by Paul Carlisle's generosity? Donate today.
Wintrust Financial Corporation is a long-time partner of Metropolitan Planning Council with over 16 years of support for our Annual Event and Executive Advisor program.