The DePaul Garage
The DePaul Garage

The DePaul Garage

Garages are spaces that are as open to the outside as they are connected to the main residence. They don’t have to be neat or presentable. They are places where you can tinker, get messy, experiment, play, and even store the things you don’t use every day. Perhaps the most famous garage was the one where the first Apple computer was invented by Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak just months before DePaul was born.

What is the DePaul Garage?

The DePaul Garage is a place for us to tinker, experiment, play and build in ways that expand our mission and maybe even disrupt the way human services are delivered. It’s a place that is not constrained by government funding and regulations. It’s a space for you and your wildest ideas about how to make sure the people we serve have the very best—in and outside of the walls of DePaul.

What do we hope will happen in there?

  • Expand our own capacity to think differently—to see old problems with new eyes.
  • Learn how to put our own ideas on paper, turning our vision into reality through the process of pitching, planning, receiving constructive feedback, executing…and maybe even letting go of ideas and plans.
  • Introduce DePaul to new friends—investors, partners, and customers who help us vet our ideas and collaborate with us on projects.
  • If we’re lucky, we might even disrupt the way our sector approaches human services—just like Apple did for the music industry (has anyone seen a CD lately?)

Why does the Garage matter?

It matters because we know that our clients deserve better than what the current status quo offers them. Waiting lists of thousands of people in dire condition? Payment rates that don’t result in livable wages for direct service staff? A lack of job opportunities and adequate health care for individuals with disabilities? This isn’t OK. Today’s current services do not ensure hope and belonging in all corners of our clients’ worlds and we want to be a part of making that better. This will require innovation—and innovation needs space, ideas, and teams to fuel it.

How will the Garage work?

The Garage will provide DePaul staff and community members a venue for bringing proposals to a team of partners and investors—people from inside and outside DePaul who all care about hope and belonging, and who want to help us reach our goals. For those who present, it means an experience sort of like the Shark Tank (infused with our trademark DePaul compassion). The panel will hear ideas, ask questions, and decide if the ideas are things we want to keep working on or let go of. Participation is completely voluntary. It will also potentially mean the opportunity to help build on ideas that come or to help work on projects that are created in the garage. At the very least, it means being a part of an organization that has space for creation and innovation. It can affect you as much or as little as you want it to.


*We have decided to hit pause and postpone our 2020 Garage event until next spring when hopefully our nation has healed, and the 2021 DePaul Garage will be ready for reopening and reimagining.

Current and former panelists:

Curtis Thompson
Katherine Fralin
Amanda Forrester
Melinda Payne
John Hodgkins
Amy Forsyth-Stephens
Mark Lucas
Greg Withers
Mike Norton
Amanda Stanley