One Million Degrees

One Million Degrees Joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Winners of the 2016 Chicago Innovation Awards to Ring the Nasdaq Stock Market Closing Bell


Chicago, IL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/28/2017 --One Million Degrees (OMD) Chief Executive Officer Paige Ponder and Chief Program Officer Veronica Herrero joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and winners of the 2016 Chicago Innovation Awards, the Chicago region's foremost annual celebration of innovation, in New York City on Monday, March 27th to ring the closing Nasdaq Bell. The event, arranged by the Chicago Innovation Awards, highlights the groundbreaking work One Million Degrees has pioneered to serve and graduate the region's community college students, as well as the surge of innovation taking place across Chicago.

"We are thrilled to be recognized for our innovative program taking place on Chicago's community college campuses," said Paige Ponder, CEO of One Millions Degrees. "As we celebrate our 10th year, we know that it takes a community-wide effort to support our 700 scholars as they succeed in school and begin launching upwardly mobile professional careers. This recognition helps us build on that."

"This annual event is an excellent example of how the Chicago Innovation Awards celebrates the spirit of innovation in organizations across all industries, sizes and sectors," said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder of the Chicago Innovation Awards.

Joining OMD were other winners of the 2016 Chicago Innovation Awards, including: alligatortek, Baxter, Blue1647, CancerIQ, ContextMedia, Danco, Drivin, Edovo, Federal Signal, ForeverCar, FourKites, Girls in the Game, HubTran, Infiniscene, Leap Innovations, Livingston Products, Modobag, Page Vault, Proxfinity, Radio Flyer, Real Food Blends, Shoe Drop, and The Mom Project.

"We congratulate OMD for winning the Chicago Innovation Awards, and applaud their commitment to innovation," said Dan Miller, fellow co-founder.

To learn more about the Chicago Innovation Award winners, watch their video testimonials.

About One Million Degrees
One Million Degrees is the only organization in Illinois and one of few in the country dedicated to providing comprehensive supports to low-income, highly motivated community college students to help them succeed in school, in work, and in life. From tutors and coaches to financial assistance and professional development, OMD offers the support that empowers scholars to transform their lives and those around them for generations.

OMD Scholars graduate at twice the state average with the skills and experiences necessary to launch economically mobile careers. OMD partners with 10 Chicago-area community colleges, including the seven City Colleges of Chicago, College of Lake County, Harper College, and Prairie State College. OMD is serving nearly 700 scholars across the region in the 2016-2017 academic year, an increase from 440 scholars in the 2015-2016 year, and plans to serve 1,000 scholars by 2018.

To learn more about One Million Degrees, please visit

About The Chicago Innovation Awards
The Chicago Innovation Awards, established in 2002, have grown from a single awards ceremony to a year-long series of events and activities designed to celebrate innovation in the Chicago region, educate people and organizations about the principles of innovation, and connect the corners of the economy by building relationships that strengthen companies, grow the economy and create jobs.

For more information, visit