Our Grantees

 "Our Movements are Interconnected, Intersectional."

credit: SoapBox Productions and Organizing

Crossroads Fund 2020 Grantees

Crossroads Fund is proud to announce that in fiscal year 2020 (FY20) we gave out $1,219,732 to 136 groups working for social change.

Although the following list categorizes grantees based on one primary focus, grantees’ work is rarely limited to a single issue area. Most work across issues and prioritize the multiple needs of their diverse constituents. A notation after the grantee description indicates from which grant fund(s) they received funding. Funds include the Seed Fund (SF), Technical Assistance Fund (TA), Youth Fund for Social Change (YF), and the Critical Response Fund (CRF), which provides rapid response grants to organizations working on issues that arise due to urgent political and social moments. Some organizations also received grants through the Capacity Building Initiative (CBI), a collaborative program that supports organizational growth and development.

Grantees also received funding from one of our Partner Funds (PF), which include the following pooled and donor advised funds:

• Cathy Cohen Black Youth Leadership Award (Cathy Cohen), which supports black-led youth organizing;

• Eleuterio Fund (Eleuterio), which supports community-based arts, education, peace activism, and reproductive rights;

• GRAM Fund (GRAM), which supports women and girls, rights for Arab Americans, and youth projects;

• Howard Fund, which supports youth, education, and legal issues;

• Monica George and Kyle Johnson Fund (MK Fund), which supports community organizing in Chicago;

• Monica Cosby Fund, which supports community-based organizations working towards a society less reliant on the criminal legal system by creating alternative systems of care;

• Neiman Fund, which supports racial, social, and economic justice organizing in Chicago;

• Policy Fund (Policy), an anonymous fund to support an urgent policy change or policy implementation;

We also list each of the awards we grant at our annual gala, Seeds of Change, by name. They are the Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award, the Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice, and the Ron Sable Award for Activism.

In FY20, grant amounts ranged from $1,000 to $20,000 and, unless otherwise noted, the grants are for general operating support.

2020 Grantees 

ARTS & CULTURE

ECONOMIC JUSTICE & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

HEALTH & EDUCATION

GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

HOUSING JUSTICE

HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL POLICY

IMMIGRATION JUSTICE

LESBIAN/GAY/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER JUSTICE

WORKERS RIGHTS

YOUTH JUSTICE

TECHNOLOGY FUNDERS COLLABORATIVE

ARTS & CULTURE

Axis Lab is an arts and architecture organization based on Argyle Street in Uptown, Chicago. They engage in multidis-ciplinary approaches and educational programming to advo-cate for ethical developments for immigrants and refugees. Their work centers community voices with an upcoming documentary film and digital archive that explores themes of militarization, war, displacement, and violence against communities of color. (SF)

 

The Chicago Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films that are reflective of Palestinian culture in Palestine and the diaspora. Their work partners with other community groups to offer free film screenings that highlight the story of Palestinians as well as stories of other struggles which intersect with the common theme of daily life, liberation, equity, and justice. (SF)

 

The Chicago SNCC History Project works to document the history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Chicago as a legacy for young organizers continu-ing the fight for freedom. Their archive of memorabilia, records, visual arts, and oral histories is stored at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library. The Technical Assistance Fund supported website updates and donor organizing outreach. (TA)

 

For the People Artists Collective is a radical squad of Black artists and artists of color in Chicago creating work that uplifts projects of struggle, resistance, liberation and survival within and for marginalized communities and movements in our city and our world. A Critical Response grant supports a mutual aid project created for artists and freelancers in Illinois to receive micro-grants due to the impact of COVID-19. (CRF)

 

Free Street Theater creates original, joyful, and thought-provoking theater by, for, about, with and in Chicago’s diverse communities. The Critical Response grant supported the organization’s shift to virtual theater for the production of “Wasted”, a play that explores environmental racism shap-ing Chicago’s youth, particularly during a global pandemic and the demolition of HILCO’s coal plant in the Little Village neighborhood. (CRF, YF)

 

Free Write Arts and Literacy engages incarcerated and court-involved youth and young adults in the performing, visual, and literary arts to become narrators of their own stories and authors of their futures. A Technical Assistance grant supported a book project honoring their 20th anniversary and celebrating their evolution of programming, rela-tionships, and impact in shifting narratives about youth. (YF, TA)

 

Honey Pot Performance is a creative Afro-diasporic feminist collaborative that uses performance to document, interrogate, and examine the nuances of human relationships including the ways we negotiate identity, belonging, and difference in our lives and cultural memberships. Their work “If/Then” investigates ways spirit and intuition guide artistic practice. Their joint venture, the Chicago Black Social Culture Map, archives Chicago’s House scene, Black cultural spaces, and underrepresented histories. (SF, GRAM)

 

The Center for International Performance and Exhibition dba HotHouse presents performances, exhibitions, and cultural events that build diverse audiences, foster interna-tional exchange, and support grassroots development and social justice activism. A Critical Response grant supported the launch of an online streaming page for performing artists impacted by COVID-19. (SF, CRF)

 

Illinois Humanities Council programs broaden public involvement in civic dialogue, deepen the quality of commu-nity conversation and reflection, increase public access to the humanities by lowering barriers to participation, and bring humanities activities to unexpected places. (Eleuterio)

 

SoapBox Productions and Organizing utilizes multimedia curation to elevate social movements in Chicago centering education, entertainment, and structural change. Their video and photography work challenges dominant narratives to raise consciousness and critique oppressive systems. Their long-running podcast “Bourbon ‘N Browntown” creates dialogue with guests about important historical and con-temporary social movements. A Technical Assistance grant supported a technology upgrade. (SF, TA)

 

St. Kateri Center of Chicago provides a space for urban Native American youth and adults to gather, preserve, and deepen Indigenous identities. Through advocacy and programming, St. Kateri engages with larger Indigenous causes such as challenging offensive school and college mascots. A Critical Response grant supported their staff and members’ technology infrastructure. (SF, CRF)

 

The Women’s Voices Fund is a project of independent femi-nist book-store Women & Children First. The fund ensures that events featuring women writers, author readings, book launches, monthly book groups, discussions on feminist issues and culture continue to play a vital role in Chicago’s intellectual, literary, and political life. (PF)

 

 

ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

The Alliance of the Southeast (ASE) is a multi-issue, mem-bership organization addressing issues in Southeast Chicago. Since the pandemic, ASE has partnered with organizations to support families of essential frontline workers with protec-tive equipment, food, and emergency funds. Their ongoing work aims to stop toxic pollution from corporations and build towards development that benefits residents. A Youth Fund grant supported signature youth-led programs designed for restorative justice and civic engagement. (SF, CBI, YF)

 

Cooperation for Liberation (C4L) is a worker cooperative development model in Chicago that honors and explores Black worker cooperatives’ history, economic practices and explores practices beyond current day capitalism. C4L values the common principles of cooperatives with special empha-sis on offering education to others. Thus, their study group holds space for the general public to get involved, gather resources, and begin a worker co-op on their own. (SF)

 

Equity and Transformation (EAT) builds social and economic equity for Black Chicagoans engaged in the informal econ-omy. EAT advances the interests of workers and engages in public decision-making to bridge the informal economy into the formal sector. EAT has been active in cannabis decriminalization and advancing social equity in the distribu-tion of cannabis dispensary licenses. The Critical Response grant supported the distribution of life kits and information on COVID-19. (SF, CRF)

 

Northside Action for Justice is a multi-issue organization on the Northside of Chicago building power for working people to advance campaigns for living wages, affordable housing, and quality public education. Their campaigns aim to stop gentrification and displacement in Uptown and Rogers Park through tenant organizing, education, and building resident-led decision making. (SF)

 

The Race Conscious Dialogues (RCD) are designed for white people to deepen their awareness of identity, power, and privilege toward developing tools for anti-racism work. RCD unpacks the historical and current harms of white supremacy and channels participants into existing equity efforts in their community. A Technical Assistance grant supported facilita-tion and fundraising planning. (TA)

 

Silver Room Foundation builds a solidarity economy through art-centered experiences, events, and programming for local artists and entrepreneurs on the South and West sides of Chicago. Building from the success of the Silver Room, the Foundation utilizes the Block Party to uplift the community and increase their health, wellness, and economic prosperity outcomes. (SF)

 

Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) is a multi-issue community organization addressing displacement, cuts to public health services, and the criminalization of young people of color on the Southside of Chicago. Recently, STOP — in coalition with other organizations — won a Community Benefits Agreement with the Obama Presidential Center to stop displacement, provide affordable housing, and home-ownership opportunities for working-class residents. The Critical Response grant supported organizing calling for the Chicago Housing Authority to open vacant housing to those experiencing homelessness and to expand their mutual-aid efforts during COVID-19. (SF, CRF, YF)

 

The Co-op Ed Center (CEC) builds a restorative economy based on education, solidarity, and collective self-determi-nation. CEC guides worker cooperatives in communities of color that restore and heal communities and focus on people, not just profit. Their work builds democratic govern-ance structures and promotes cooperation over competition while addressing the racial wealth divide in Chicago. The Critical Response grant supported workers in developing a network of cooperative economic models to share challenges, develop best practices, and find new ways of collaborating. (SF, CRF)

 

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

Chicago Asian Americans for Environmental Justice is a volunteer-driven organization advocating for environmental issues impacting Chicago’s Asian immigrant community. Their campaign, the Chinatown Environmental Justice Initiative, educates residents about the lead contaminated soil where they grow their food and empowers them to link local issues to broader challenges, like climate justice. (SF)

 

People for Community Recovery is a community-based environmental justice organization that addresses pollution, the harsh impact of Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) poli-cies, and economic equity in the Riverdale neighborhood on the South Side. Their current focus is on coalition build-ing with environmental justice groups to create state level policy change, holding the CHA accountable to building a “solar farm” in Altgeld Gardens, and training local residents to access the clean energy economy. (SF)

 

 

GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Alternatives To Calling Police During Mental Health Crises (ACP) is a community network training individuals in de-escalation techniques to ensure those with a mental illness are free from police violence and the criminal legal system. ACP advocates for a world without police, where they are replaced with equitable investment, community care, and restorative justice. A Critical Response grant sup-ported mutual-aid efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising for Black lives when community members are vulnerable to state violence and criminalization. (CRF)

 

Believers Bail Out (BBO) is a community-led effort to bail out and support Muslims in pretrial and immigration incar-ceration, with an ultimate vision of abolition. BBO aims its focus on the prison-industrial complex, anti-Muslim racism, and anti-Blackness. A Critical Response grant convened volunteers to strategize, build knowledge, and create soli-darity at the intersections of incarceration and immigration detention. (SF, CRF)

 

Black and Pink is a national prison abolitionist organization that uses advocacy, education, direct services, and organiz-ing to liberate LGBTQ+ individuals harmed by incarceration. The Chicago chapter organizes with currently and formerly incarcerated people to include re-entry support, a campaign to end the use of solitary confinement, and a new civil com-mitment research project about the experiences of people deemed “sexually violent or dangerous” within the Illinois Department of Corrections. (SF)

 

Black Lives Matter Chicago (BLM) is a volunteer-run inter-sectional vehicle that values Black people and their right to self-determination. BLM fights for justice with families most impacted, while working to create just and equitable systems. They work to end state violence and the criminalization of Black communities by deconstructing white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy. (SF)

 

Black Youth Project 100 is a national member-based organization of young activists and organizers creating free-dom and justice for all Black people using a Black, queer, feminist lens. Their focus is on transformative leadership development, direct-action organizing, advocacy, research, and political education. (PF)

 

Chicago 400 Alliance is a volunteer-led group supporting the Chicago 400 — formerly incarcerated people experienc-ing homelessness in Chicago who must re-register weekly at Chicago Police Headquarters. The Alliance is working to challenge lifetime banishment and registry laws which cre-ate unjust barriers to housing, travel, and employment. They aim to promote public safety, reduce victimization, support survivors, and allow people with past convictions to meet their essential needs and return to full citizenship. (SF)

 

Chicago Community Bond Fund operates a revolving bond fund that supports people charged with crimes in Cook County, educates on the role of bond in the criminal legal system, and advocates for the abolition of money bond and other forms of pretrial punishment. The Policy Fund supported the statewide coalition to enact the Pretrial Fairness Act that ends the use of money bond and pretrial incarceration. (Policy, PF)

 

Chicago Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is a prisoner-led section of the Industrial Workers of the World who are fighting for prison abolition. IWOC facili-tates the self-organization of prisoners, coordinates educa-tion sessions and actions within prisons to end exploitation of prisoners labor, and builds solidarity amongst the working class. (SF)

 

Chicago Torture Justice Center (CTJC) addresses the impact of police violence and institutionalized racism through access to healing and wellness services, trauma-informed resources, and community connection. CTJC was part of the coalition that fought and won a historic reparations package for the torture survivors of the late Chicago Police Depart-ment Commander Jon Burge. The Critical Response grant supported CTJC’s Survivor Relief Fund while shifting mental health and somatic healing support online during COVID-19. (CBI, CRF, Neiman)

 

Chicago United for Equity works to build a network of racial justice advocates across Chicago’s civic infrastructure, offers resources for equitable policy decisions, and devel-ops citywide public accountability models for racial equity. The Policy Fund supported their launch of public training for their community-led policymaking process called the Racial Equity Impact Assessment. (Policy)

 

Citizen Advocacy Center (CAC) utilizes community lawyers to engage residents in DuPage County to build democracy through community organizing, coalition building, legal advocacy, civic education, and litigation. CAC works with activists, students, and community members to use their First Amendment freedoms and hold elected officials account-able. The Technical Assistance grant supported an update to their organizational management software. (SF, CBI, TA)

 

IL Muslim Civic Coalition is a statewide coalition that collaborates and amplifies the social and civic efforts of the broader Muslim community. Their work includes education and advocacy to advance civic voices, political access, and visibility in the face of discrimination and exclusion. The Coalition has been active in educating cultural institutions and mobilizing members to engage public officials. (SF)

 

Illinois Prison Project works alongside currently and formerly incarcerated individuals to push back against exces-sive prison sentences in Illinois. Their campaigns utilize direct representation, public education, and advocacy to create back-end release mechanisms like commutation petitions to the governor and resentencing to fight against mass incar-ceration. (SF)

 

LIV3 organizes volunteers and those serving long-term prison sentences to support a statewide effort to abolish ‘death by incarceration’ in Illinois. They prioritize relation-ship building while using multimedia projects to impact the narrative around long-term sentences and contribute to de-carceral organizing in Illinois. (SF)

 

Live Free Chicago organizes congregations on the South and West Sides to ensure all Black people are free from all forms of violence. Live Free builds economic and political power as part of their broader campaign to address structural violence, racism, and poverty with the goal of ending gun violence and mass incarceration. The Critical Response grant supported community care while demanding Illinois state funds be allocated to those most impacted by COVID-19. (SF, CRF)

 

Love & Protect supports those who identify as women and gender non-conforming persons of color who are criminalized or harmed by state and interpersonal violence. A Critical Response grant supported an emergency fund for incarcerated people recently released from jail or prison as Cook County and the State have received pressure to release those detained and most vulnerable. (CRF)

 

Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration is a Chicago-based mutual-support organizing group grow-ing the collective power of mothers who are surviving state and interpersonal violence (particularly those harmed by incarceration). They aim to grow hubs of participatory defense and mutual support; build collaborations for freedom campaigns for incarcerated moms; and provide mutual support for families. (SF, PF, Monica Cosby Fund)

 

Parole Illinois is a coalition of people incarcerated and those in the free world raising awareness about mass incarceration and long-term sentencing policies in Illinois. Parole IL brings incarcerated voices into prison-policy discussions and stands against policies that sentence people to death by incarcera-tion, whether that be life-without-parole or excruciatingly long sentences that people cannot outlive. (SF, CRF, Policy)

 

Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) is a visual arts and humanities project that connects artists, educators, and organizers to men serving long-term sentences at Statesville Maximum Security Prison. Through classes, work-shops, and guest lectures, PNAP offers access to education and expression to examine the political impact of criminalization and transformation of systems through policy advocacy. A Critical Response grant delivered protective materials to people in prisons while pressuring Illinois decision-makers to reduce harm posed by COVID19 across the state. (SF, TA, CRF)

 

Prison Liberation Collective is a group of solitary confinement survivors organizing and expanding a national movement to end long-term prison sentences, solitary con-finement, and mass incarceration. They are piloting a study of survivors to better understand their long-term mental health struggles and social lives once released. During the study they will be connecting participants to treatment resources and building a broader community of support to take a stand against mass incarceration and prison torture. (SF)

 

Sister Survivor Network (SSN) is a group of arts-activists fighting for a just and humane society. SSN expands anti-carceral campaigns and advocacy networks for hyper-incarcerated communities while offering political education to transform lives and create visionary, healing communities. A Critical Response grant supported mutual-aid and protec-tive equipment for citizens returning from prison or jail in the midst of the global pandemic. (CRF)

 

Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) is a multi-issue organization serving Chicago’s South Side and South suburbs to strengthen civic engagement and build power in Black communities to advance racial and economic equity. SOUL addresses issues of housing, health, environ-mental justice, and economic development through organ-izing, public policy, and direct action. Their current work includes calls to defund the Chicago Police Department, defund the Cook County Jail, and invest in communities. (SF, YF)

 

Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of Illinois transforms institutions, organizes congregations, and supports indi-viduals harmed by the prison system. They work alongside incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to educate, organize, and advocate for local and state-level policy changes to reduce incarceration and fight for the abolition of prisons. (SF)

 

Westside Justice Center is a community-centered organiza-tion that promotes a holistic approach to justice by facilitating legal literacy, providing legal assistance to individuals, and nurturing community trust through restorative justice practices. Their programs include advocacy, educational workshops, community organizing, and mobilization. (PF)

 

Women’s All Points Bulletin (WAPB) is a grassroots organization that offers services, education, and training to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, particularly violence perpetuated by police. WAPB is build-ing the Women and Gender Working Group so impacted individuals can tell their stories and hold Chicago agencies accountable to implementing consent decree policies in the Chicago Police Department. (SF)

 

 

HEALTH & EDUCATION

Alliance for Community Services/RPCAN is a community-labor coalition of people with disabilities, low-income families, and front-line public employees. They seek to end the privatization of public services while protecting, expand-ing, and improving Medicaid, SNAP, Social Security, and more. A Critical Response grant supported front-line public service workers and seniors in nursing facilities to ensure lifesaving care is prioritized during the global pandemic. (SF, CRF)

 

Chicago ADAPT is a disability rights activists organization engaging in direct action to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom. The Technical Assistance grant supported a survey of member experiences and various skills-building trainings to hone their internal leadership capacity. (TA)

 

The Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers expands mental health services to low-income and underinsured resi-dents of Chicago. The Coalition creates community-driven and community-funded centers through the Expanded Mental Health Services Programs. The Coalition is creating campaigns in the West Town-Humboldt Park and Bronzeville neighborhoods to ensure affordable mental health services for all. (SF)

 

Chicago Women’s Health Center is a feminist health collec-tive that provides women and trans-identified individuals access to high-quality health care and health education in a respectful environment where people pay what they can afford. (PF)

 

Fathers, Families & Healthy Communities (FFHC) confronts racism, poverty, and policies that limit relationships between Black fathers and their children. Through training, collabora-tive partnerships, and advocacy, FFHC creates new pathways for men to connect with their children, their families, and their communities. (CBI)

 

Lifted Voices is an action-oriented organizing collective whose femme and non-binary membership provides tactical education in Chicago. A Critical Response grant support-ed a citywide mutual-aid workshop, with Common Ground Collective from New Orleans, to equip people in community care with skills to meet the varied community needs during the global pandemic. (CRF)

 

Midwest Access Coalition (MAC) is a volunteer-powered organization ensuring all individuals traveling to, from, and within the Midwest have access to safe abortions. MAC advances the state of reproductive justice through educa-tion, advocacy, and mobilizing volunteers. Their current campaign aims to repeal the Parental Notification Act to defend bodily autonomy for minors in Illinois. (SF, MK Fund, Policy) 

 

Parents 4 Teachers is a coalition of parents building unity with teachers and working for quality public schools for all Chicago children. Through solidarity, organizing, and advo-cacy, they expand campaigns for an elected school board, teacher unions, progressive school funding, and democracy in education policies to build an equitable and just public school system. (SF)

 

People Matter (PM) is a community-based organization uplifting, unearthing, and untethering people through direct services, political education, and issue advocacy. Their current campaigns aim to improve language access in Chicago Public Schools, census outreach efforts, and a program called Tackling Anti-Blackness in Chinatown Community (TACC). (SF)

 

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is a sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. They work to improve women’s health and safety, prevent unintended pregnancies, offer sexual health education, and advocate for individual choice in matters of sexual health and reproduc-tive justice. (Eleuterio)

 

Raise Your Hand for IL Public Education is a city-wide coalition that informs, engages, and organizes parents while advocating for quality education for all children in Illinois. Their work has supported parents in the transition to remote school learning during the pandemic. A Critical Response grant supported a series of workshops for parents and community members to be change agents through Local School Councils. (SF, CRF, Ron Sable Award)

 

Telpochcalli Community Education Project supports and mobilizes youth and adults for social justice through collective power, education, organizing, and leadership development. A Critical Response grant supported a com-munity network of elders and neighbors in the Little Village neighborhood in distributing information and protective supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. (CRF)

 

Ujimaa Medics is a Black collective teaching South and West Side Chicagoans emergency first response training for moments of crisis while organizing a community care responder network. They aim to affect health policy change, advocate for access to a range of healing and health care options, and create institutions that transform sites of trauma into sites of healing and justice. (SF)

 

YogaCare supports yoga teachers and leaders in Chicago’s under-resourced communities to promote health, sustain-ability, and education. The Socially Engaged Yoga Network’s Healing Justice Project aims to strengthen learning and sharing amongst Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities to promote accessibility, community connec-tion, and decolonization. (SF)

 

HOUSING JUSTICE

Autonomous Tenants Union (ATU) is a volunteer-led organization defending and enforcing the rights of tenants to dignified housing through organizing, advocacy, and edu-cation. ATU forms tenant unions to halt evictions, keep rent affordable, and establish community control of housing. A Critical Response grant supported active coalitions, online conferences, and petitions on the need for a rent freeze in Illinois during COVID-19’s shelter in place. (SF, CRF)

 

Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of groups and individuals committed to promoting fair housing, diver-sity, and integration in all communities through education, advocacy, and collaborative action. They address fair hous-ing protections and housing discrimination in Cook County while mobilizing individuals to support stable housing, and promote equitable place-based opportunity. (SF)

 

Chicago Housing Initiative is a citywide coalition of com-munity organizations amplifying the power of low-income residents to preserve, improve, and expand affordable hous-ing and stabilize communities facing displacement and segregation across the city. Their work includes Chicago Housing Authority reforms, rent control, and inclusionary development patterns across the city. (SF)

 

Lift the Ban Coalition is a statewide coalition advocating for rent control and the repeal of the Rent Control Preemption Act — which prohibits local communities from implementing rent control — as a policy option to sustain affordable hous-ing throughout Illinois. Passing the referendum offers a tool for Chicago’s economic well-being and access to affordable housing for all. (Policy)

 

Lugenia Burns Hope Center promotes civic engagement of residents in the Bronzeville neighborhood and other communities through education, leadership development, and organizing around preserving public housing and other community based issues. They are part of various organizing coalitions including Lift the Ban on Rent Control, Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability, and more. (SF)

 

Pilsen Alliance is committed to creating grassroots leader-ship and community-directed development in Pilsen and neighboring working-class immigrant communities. A Critical Response grant supported mutual-aid efforts, online tenant-led organizing, and expanded campaigns such as Cops Out of Chicago Public Schools and Lift the Ban on Rent Control in the midst of COVID-19. (SF, CRF, TA)

 

Pilsen Housing Cooperative is a scattered-site, limited-equity housing cooperative led by working-class families and Latinx artists in Pilsen. They are in the process of purchasing their first cooperative building and transitioning to a member-run Board of Directors, which will set an example for communi-ties city-wide. The Critical Response grant convened tenants/members for training and helped build momentum for an affordable co-op tax policy to transform Chicago’s real estate market into a people-over-profit model. (CRF)

 

Tenants United of Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore builds tenant-controlled, co-operative housing and people power by developing autonomous tenants unions. They offer training and organizing support for residents subjected to predatory real estate factors. A Critical Response grant nurtured tenant-led networks, trainings, education, and legal resources in the face of evictions during a global pandemic. (CRF)

 

The Northwest Side Community Development Corporation preserves affordable housing and fosters economic growth in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood and surrounding North-west Side communities of Chicago. They work with small businesses, renters, and homeowners toward property tax reforms to benefit low-to-moderate income people. (SF)

 

 

HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL POLICY

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) places trained violence-reduction teams in crisis situations and militarized areas around the world to build partnerships with local peacebuild-ers to confront violence and oppression through nonviolent direct action. CPT reports to the world community on areas of conflict and human rights violations. (SF)

 

Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP) advances a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through education, dialogue, direct action, and advocacy to raise awareness of human rights issues. (SF)

 

The National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) raises awareness of human rights/civil liberty issues faced by the Puerto Rican community—political prisoners, colonial reality, international economic sanctions, displacement—and the ways in which gentrification impacts the Chicago Puerto Rican community. A Critical Response grant supported NBHRN to visit Washington DC to share the impact of the PROMESA Act, a policy preventing Puerto Rico from rebuild-ing itself after Hurricane Maria. (SF, Policy)

 

IMMIGRATION JUSTICE

Albany Park Defense Network (APDN) is a community-based, rapid-response network ensuring all immigrants and residents are protected from deportations and displacement, including housing evictions and rental discrimination. Their work includes community building, know-your-rights work-shops, and an emergency fund for people who are facing deportation. (SF)

 

The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) is a grassroots community organization that builds the capacity of the Filipinx community to organize on issues of immigrant and workers rights. AFIRE strengthens workers’ rights in Illinois, promotes immigration policies that unite families and communities, and develops new grassroots leaders in the Filipinx community. (SF, CBI)

 

Blue Tin Production is an apparel manufacturing workers co-op led by intergenerational, working-class, immigrant and refugee women. Blue Tin seeks to abolish sweatshops while also supporting young up-and-coming fashion designers of color from the South and West sides of Chicago. They create sustainable garment manufacturing options for designers and consumers to address issues of immigration, economic, and environmental justice. (SF, GRAM)

 

Borderless Magazine is a nonprofit news outlet reimagining immigration journalism in Chicago and beyond. Through reporting and publishing, their work strives to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in local journalism by challenging what kind of immigration stories are typically told and who tells them. Additionally, they train journalists on ethical and trauma-informed reporting. (SF)

 

The Chicago Law and Education Foundation offers free access to legal services, resources, and education in schools, libraries, and community centers for undocumented immigrants, youth, and families with low income. Their initiatives address housing stability, support families in creating emergency legal documents, and expunge juvenile criminal records of youth in the South and Southwest sides of Chicago. (SF, GRAM)

 

The Gage Park Latinx Council (GPLXC) is a community-based organization advancing social, economic, and cultural justice in Gage Park and bordering Southwest Chicago neighborhoods. GPLXC combines direct services, activism, civic engagement, and education that is reflective of the diverse Latinx working-class community. (SF)

 

Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative consists of local and national foundations working to support issues facing the immigrant community. Funding priorities include legal assistance, community defense, and capacity-building to help organizations serve clients and work together in coali-tions to mobilize for change. (TA)

 

Immigrant Solidarity DuPage organizes immigrants and laborers in DuPage County through workshops, direct actions, and cultural programming. They provide both direct and legal services to workers, amplify the diverse voices of the Latinx community, and serve as a community organizing axis for advocates. The Critical Response grant supported mutual-aid efforts to push the DuPage County Board to implement paid sick leave for low-wage workers during COVID-19. (SF, CRF)

 

Little Village Solidarity Network is a mutual support organization of workers, tenants, and neighbors based in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. They address the interconnected issues of housing, labor, and immigration through a rapid response, mutual-aid network and neighborhood assemblies to defend neighbors from deportation, displace-ment, and wage theft. A Critical Response grant support-ed travel to borderland migrant camps to train organizers, migrants, and allies. (SF, CRF)

 

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors provides free legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Aurora, Chicago, and Rockford. They also provide education on immigration issues to the general public while engaging in advocacy efforts for immigrant justice. The Technical Assistance Fund supported the organi-zation’s staff and board development and strategic plan. (TA)

 

Organized Communities Against Deportation works with individuals and families against deportations, detention, criminalization, and incarceration of Black, brown, and immigrant communities in and around Chicago. The Critical Response grant supported their response to the increase of ICE raids, mass deportations, and direct actions for Black and brown unity during the uprisings. (CRF, TA, SF)

 

PASO – West Suburban Action Project builds strong commu-nities and leaders in the Western suburbs of Chicago through organizing, education, and civic engagement to ensure all resi-dents live and thrive regardless of race, gender, sexual orienta-tion, socioeconomic status, and immigration status. A Critical Response grant supported a trip to the U.S - Mexican border to defend the rights of migrants in response to heightened border enforcement against asylum seekers. (CRF)

 

Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project (SSIP) is commit-ted to community organizing for the rights of immigrants in Chicago’s southwest suburbs through education, civic engagement, and advocacy. Their work pushes for federal, state, and local policies that protect and invest in immigrant communities. A Critical Response grant supported SSIP’s mutual aid fund to provide immigrant families with economic relief during the global pandemic. (SF, CRF)

 

United African Organization is a dynamic coalition of African community-based organizations that promotes social and economic justice, civic participation, and empowerment of African immigrants and refugees in Illinois. (CBI)

 

Working Family Solidarity unites and organizes working families for economic and racial justice. They host Know Your Rights workshops and Racial Unity Dialogues between Latinx and Black workers to increase access to quality jobs and housing. Their current campaign calls for a community ben-efits agreement for a manufacturing district near the Pilsen, Little Village, and North Lawndale neighborhoods. A Critical Response grant supported organizing for access to health care and economic security during COVID-19. (SF, TA, CRF)

 

 

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, QUEER/QUESTIONING, INTERSEX, ASEXUAL

Affinity Community Services is a Black-led, queer led organi-zation on Chicago’s South Side dedicated to social justice in the Black LGBTQ+ community. Affinity works to end the marginalization of Black LGBTQ+ people globally through activism, education, and transformative justice to build collective action, LGBTQ+ justice, healing, and Black libera-tion. (SF, CBI)

 

Brave Space Alliance (BSA) is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedi-cated to creating and providing affirming and culturally competent services for the LGBTQ community. A Critical Response grant supported BSA’s mutual-aid programming and also helped create online programming during COVID-19 to promote access, safety, health, and wellness for communities. (CRF)

 

Lighthouse Foundation is a non-sectarian, non-profit social justice organization that advances justice for Black LGBTQ+ people across Chicago through empowerment, education, and entertainment. A Critical Response grant supported virtual programming, online organizing, and anti-racism training for the public. (CRF)

 

Masjid al-Rabia is an accessible, LGBTQIA+ affirming Muslim community center. Through education, advocacy, and out-reach they strive to foster faith-justice communities through a gender and sexual diversity lens. The Critical Response Fund grant supported security staffing during heightened xenophobia. (SF, GRAM, CRF)

 

SER El Cambio supports transgender immigrant women with housing and healing once they are released from incarcera-tion and/or immigration detention. Through social services, education, organizing, and advocacy they counter anti-discrimination policies impacting transgender and immigrant lives. A Critical Response grant provided emergency relief for undocumented, trans women of color in Chicago during the pandemic. (SF, CRF)

 

Transformative Justice Law Project (TJLP) is a collective of social workers, activists, attorneys, and organizers committed to gender self-determination, transformative justice, and prison abolition. TJLP mounted a legal challenge against the State of Illinois in support of individuals with felony convictions seeking life-affirming and gender-affirming name changes. (SF, CBI)

 

WORKERS RIGHTS

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos (CTU) is a member-led organization on Chicago’s Southeast Side and south suburbs that educates workers on their rights, develops leaders within the immigrant community, and organizes to advance systemic change that increases standards around wage theft and immigration. A Critical Response grant supported their work to provide culturally appropriate meals in partnership with BIPOC-led worker-owners and farmers. (CRF)

 

The Street Vendors Association of Chicago (SVAC) fights for an inclusive economy by organizing street vendors to build political and economic power without fear of police harass-ment, excessive fines, and discrimination. SVAC recently opened a shared kitchen in the North Lawndale neighbor-hood where member vendors can cook and prepare food for sale. (SF, Lynda Tipton Award)

 

hicago Community and Workers Rights is a worker-led organization that develops tools to defend immigrant work-ers. They fight for fair working conditions, dignified wages, and just living conditions through organizing, advocacy, education, and emergency support for workers in crisis. The Critical Response grant supported remote strategies, work-place organizing efforts and immigration rights trainings during COVID-19. (SF, TA, CRF)

 

Fight Now Chicago is a worker-led organization that advo-cates and organizes to end wage disparities and improve working conditions for Black workers in Chicago’s restaurant industry. They fight for just working conditions, dignified and protected wages, and workplaces free from harassment and discrimination. (SF)

 

Get to Work (GTW) supports the rights of workers on the West Side of Chicago, particularly Black workers fighting for equal access and treatment in workplaces. GTW coordinates job placements, training in workers rights, and organizes against racism and discrimination in hiring and on the job. (SF)

 

Healing to Action advances a worker-led movement to end gender-based violence in Chicago. They center healing and the leadership of survivors who are low-wage workers, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. A Critical Response grant supported Sex Ed Works, a campaign addressing racial and economic dispari-ties in the implementation of Chicago Public Schools’ sexual health education policy. (SF, CRF, CBI)

 

The Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago supports the rights of sex workers and their communities with a focus on ending violence, criminalization, and stigma through education, advocacy, and peer support. They offer legal, medical, and mental support while advocating for workers to live healthy and fulfilling lives. The Sex Workers Art Show and Redlight Chicago performance series show-cases culture and community-building. (SF)

 

The National LGBTQ Workers Center fights for economic justice and ensures all LGBTQ people understand and defend their rights through grassroots organizing and labor education. Their Chicago chapter is establishing a discrimina-tion hotline to support LGBTQ working people in reporting violations of their rights and filing claims for legal support. A Technical Assistance grant supported the LGBTQ Economic Justice Summit. (SF, TA)

 

The United Transporters Community Council (UTCC) organizes and advocates for taxi, limo, and ride-share drivers to improve working conditions, unionize drivers, and strengthen economic progress in Chicago’s transportation industry. Their newsletter, UTCC Voice, provides information and resources to transportation workers. A Technical Assistance grant supported building the organization’s communications capacity. (SF, TA)

 

Workers Center for Racial Justice is a grassroots organi-zation fighting for Black liberation and a fair and inclusive society. They organize Black workers and families to address high rates of unemployment, low-wage work, and over-criminalization of Black communities. (CBI)

 

YOUTH ORGANIZING

A Long Walk Home (ALWH) uses art to empower young artists and activists to end violence against girls and women, specifically Black girls in Chicago. Recently, ALWH’s youth leaders led a town hall and series of conversations with high school students about the #MeToo Movement in Chicago. They will be leading healing justice workshops for Black girls to facilitate healing, and advocate for racial and gender equity in schools, communities, and our country-at-large. (YF, CBI)

 

About Face Theatre (AFT) catalyzes theatre training, perfor-mance, and educational programming to foster awareness, understanding, and celebration of all sexual and gender expressions. A Youth Fund grant supports AFT’s Outreach and Education initiatives in schools and the About Face Youth Theatre’s program which explores youth-led perfor-mances as they relate to LGBTQIA youth. (YF)

 

The Arab American Action Network (AAAN) strengthens the Arab community in the Chicago area by building its capacity to be an active agent for social change. The Youth Fund grant supported their youth-led campaign to end racial profiling, stop government surveillance, and bring an end to harass-ment of their community. (CBI, YF)

 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago (AAAJC) builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. AAAJC increases the visibility of Asian American and immigrant students in Chicago through KINETIC, a civic leadership program for high school youth, strengthening bilingual education and resources in Chicago Public Schools. (YF)

 

Blocks Together is a community-led, multi-issue, social justice organizing group, on the West Side of Chicago, dedi-cated to quality public education, affordable housing, and economic development. Their youth program, Village Keepers, stands against school-to-prison pipelines and advocates for school-wide change. A Critical Response grant supported their Community Health Promoters delivering prevention, protection, and housing resources during COVID-19. (CRF, Neiman)

 

Chicago Desi Youth Rising (CDYR) is a youth-driven organization that examines racial, economic, and social inequity. CDYR connects youth to their South Asian heritage while connecting to social movements through solidarity, leadership programming, action, and advocacy. The Critical Response grant supported a mutual-aid program for residents in the West Ridge area, while mobilizing volunteers to conduct community care, offer resources, and support advocacy efforts during a global pandemic. (CRF, YF)

 

Chicago Freedom School (CFS) fosters youth leaders and elevates social movement history to build knowledge, skills, and agency for action and change. CFS offers youth pro-gramming, leadership development, trainings, organizing, and policy advocacy to dismantle oppression in all forms. The Technical Assistance Fund supported an organizational assessment to strengthen their internal structures and opera-tions. (TA, YF)

 

Chicago Student Action is a student-led organization that recruits and engages college students on campaigns across Illinois related to free college education for all, includ-ing undocumented, part-time students, and court involved students. Their work also includes expanding onsite mental health services and ending racial profiling by campus police. (SF)

 

Cicero Independiente is a bilingual, independent news outlet that brings together people of diverse media backgrounds to co-create local news coverage for residents of Cicero, a suburb on the West Side of Chicago. Their work aims to mobilize local residents to stay informed of important policy decisions and engage them in holding their local city council accountable. (YF, SF)

 

Circles & Ciphers is a hip-hop infused restorative justice organization led by and for young people impacted by violence. Through art-based peace circles, education, and direct action, they collectively heal and work to bring about the abolition of the prison-industrial complex. The Critical Re-sponse grant supported virtual and mutual-aid programming, and protective supplies during COVID-19. (SF, TA, CRF, YF)

 

Club Taji Ciudad Hidalgo is a volunteer-led organization that bridges Latinx youth, families, and communities through education, civic engagement, and cultural programming. Taji’s signature storytelling program, Generation Latinx, fosters leadership, develops critical consciousness, and promotes positive self-image for young people. (YF)

 

Community Justice for Youth Institute builds community capacity to resolve violence and conflict, help survivors of violence heal, and support families impacted by violent crime through restorative justice training, technical assistance, and advocacy. (Don Erickson Award)

 

Dissenters is an anti-militarism organization developing young leaders through campus-based direct action. They demand institutions divest from wars and invest in com-munities. The Technical Assistance grant supported staff attendance at advanced organizing training to deepen their skills and modify their internal training curriculum. (TA, YF)

 

The Hana Center’s Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is a youth council that engages in civic education, self-expression, campaigns, and collective action for youth and their communities. FYSH centers efforts on citizenship, education, health, and justice for all. The Critical Response grant supported an 18-day public awareness action campaign demanding justice from the Supreme Court in support of DACA and Citizenship for All. (CRF, YF)

 

InterAction Initiative Inc. is a youth-led organization harnessing the power of counter-narratives (stories from the margins) to activate and advance community members who prioritize inclusion, intersectionality, and racial equity. They strive to create communities where diversity, equity, and inclusion flourish, and the structures of racism and oppres-sion are eradicated. (SF)

 

ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenera-tional organization that builds collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organiz-ing. ONE Northside works with activated youth to address climate change and abusive over-policing campaigns such as Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability coalition. (YF, PF)

 

Solidarity Studios connects youth in Chicago, Palestine, and South Africa through art and activism. They strengthen bonds between communities by weaving racial and politi-cal histories to inspire solidarity and spark change through music, creative expression, and action. (YF)

 

The Student Coalition for Reproductive Justice (SCRJ) is a student-powered coalition fighting for reproductive health-care and sexual education at Catholic college campuses through organizing, training, sexual health products, and resources for students. Their current work with local Chicago campuses is focused on sliding scale and free STI testing to increase students’ access regardless of insurance coverage. (YF)

 

Territory supports young people in the Albany Park and Uptown communities in building voice, vision, and agency through the practice of design. Through their signature program, Territory Teens Breaking Boundaries, teens utilize public spaces and art to affirm their roles in community with-out fear or surveillance. (YF)

 

The Warehouse Project & Gallery is a space for young people in Summit who are looking for innovative and artistic ways to inspire change. Through the arts they explore issues of poverty, consent, reproductive justice, and microaggressions in order to offer solutions in their schools and communities. (YF, SF)

 

Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) creates a safe environment for LGBTQ youth experiencing home-lessness to explore and express their struggles while celebrating their strengths through theatrical performances. A Critical Response grant supported mutual aid efforts as basic necessities and lack of healthcare access continues to intensify during the pandemic. (SF, TA, CRF, YF)

 

Youth Outlook engages youth, families, and communities in Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb, and surrounding suburbs to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth and build welcoming environ-ments. Through direct services and community education, they offer advocacy tools for parents, educators, and organi-zations to counteract oppression. (SF, YF)

 

 

TECHNOLOGY FUNDERS COLLABORATIVE

The Technology Funders Collaborative (TFC) formed in the spring of 2020 when nine Chicago foundations came together to respond to technology needs that arose due to COVID-19. The TFC grants assisted Chicago-area commu-nity organizing groups that had been previously funded by the member foundations. Funds requested could be used to build organizational technology capacity or to support an organization’s technology infrastructure. Ultimately, TFC grants were awarded to 30 organizations across Chicago.

 

Action Now Institute

American Indian Center of Chicago

Arab American Action Network (AAAN)

Autonomous Tenants Union

Blocks Together

Brave Space Alliance

Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance

Chicago Freedom School

Chicago Workers Collaborative

Circles & Ciphers

Equity and Transformation (EAT)

Future Ties, NFP

Healing to Action

Immigrant Solidarity DuPage

Jane Addams Senior Caucus

Lighthouse Foundation

Live Free Chicago

Lugenia Burns Hope Center

Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere

Neighborhood Network Alliance

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD)

People for Community Recovery

People’s Lobby

Pilsen Alliance

Restore Justice

SER El Cambio

Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP)

Telpochcalli Community Education Project

United Working Families

Youth Outlook

 

Click to see past grantee lists.