The Vander Weele Group

Founded in 2003 by Maribeth Vander Weele--former Chicago Public Schools Inspector General and member of the Chicago Public Schools management team--the Vander Weele Group is a Chicago-based firm that specializes in grants monitoring and oversight of large-scale grant programs. The firm offers traditional fiscal and compliance reviews, but is passionate about making monitoring programs meaningful and mission-based: focusing oversight on conditions that affect children, families, people with disabilities, and other at-risk populations. The firm also offers programmatic monitoring, data analytics to detect fraud, forensic audits, and investigative intelligence.

Study Group

Our Philosophy: Meaningful Monitoring

  • A rigorous review process

  • Comprehensive intelligence gathering that begins with frontline practitioners and flows upwards to administrators

  • The unique mission and objectives of each grantor and grantee

  • The ethical and strategic use of grant funding

  • Evidence-based findings and corrective action plans which are grounded in specific legal or policy standards

  • Robust quality assurance

At the Vander Weele Group, our work is guided by a philosophy we call Meaningful Monitoring. It's a mindset,

a skill set, and a strategic approach to grants monitoring which values:

Our History

When it was first founded, the Vander Weele Group served primarily manufacturers and industrial organizations in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, including Fortune 500 clientele. The firm applied its investigative and analytic capabilities to corporate management practices and systems in payroll, human resources, finance, inventory management, procurement cards, purchasing, and facilities management.

Inspired by her time with the Chicago Public School system, Maribeth leveraged the company's success, as well as her past experience and certification in Safe Schools issues, to provide operational security services to K-12 schools and education agencies. In 2006, the Vander Weele Group hosted an emergency preparedness conference for 183 schools at the request of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior). Subsequently, the firm was engaged to produce a broad array of security materials--policies, procedures, memoranda of understanding, codes of conduct, job descriptions, Safe Schools plans, hotline research, training, and manuals--to provide schools a foundation on which to build emergency preparedness and Safe Schools programs. The company provided additional support to the BIE in designing a substance abuse prevention program for students.

 

Following the completion of the project, the Bureau of Indian Affairs mandated the creation of a new grants monitoring compliance program. Called "a model for the nation" by the U.S. Department of Education, the Vander Weele Group's grants monitoring program--launched in 2011--not only measured compliance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and other relevant legislation, but documented obstacles to providing excellence in education during site visits to 142 schools in 23 states. Over time, the program evolved to include the provision of joint programmatic and fiscal reviews for both compliance and conformance to educational best practices.


In 2015, the Vander Weele Group was engaged by the Illinois Bureau of Early Intervention to monitor programs for approximately 19,000 children with disabilities and developmental delays. In preparation, the team recruited Early Childhood Education specialists from across the state.
 

As its grants monitoring practice expanded, the Vander Weele Group faced a decision: remain a broad-based company serving multiple sectors with multiple services, or change course to focus on fiscal and programmatic oversight of federally funded programs. In 2018, Maribeth initiated a company-wide overhaul in pursuit of a single goal: to become the premier grants oversight firm in the United States, with a mission to prioritize agencies serving vulnerable populations such as children, seniors, immigrants, and low-income families and communities.

Today, the Vander Weele Group manages three offices located in Illinois, with additional full-time specialists in four other states, and boasts a team with decades of experience in education, early childhood initiatives, accounting, and more. As we continue to deepen our expertise in federal grants monitoring and management, we look forward to supporting our growing client base in their work to transform lives and uplift communities.