Our Grantees


Photo by movement photographer Sarah-Ji 


Crossroads Fund 2018 Grantees


Crossroads Fund is proud to announce that in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) we gave out $1,068,042 in grants to 120 groups working for social change across a spectrum of issues.  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 program(s) they received funding. Programs 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 the current political moment. We also indicate if an organization received a grant through the Capacity Building Initiative (CBI), a collaborative program of the Crossroads Fund that supports organizational growth and development.


We also indicate if a grantee received funding from one of our Partner Funds (PF), which include the following pooled funds and donor advised funds: the GRAM Fund (GRAM), which supports women and girls, rights for Arab Americans, and youth projects; the Grant Fund (Grant), which supports criminal justice reform, organizing, particularly Black-led organizing, and women’s rights; the Eleuterio Fund (Eleuterio), which supports community-based arts, education, peace activism, and reproductive rights; the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative (CYSI), a funders collaborative housed at Crossroads Fund that provides storage spaces for youth experiencing homelessness; the Cathy Cohen Black Youth Fund (Cathy Cohen), which supports black-led youth organizing work around social justice issues affecting communities and families; the Vernita Gray Fund (Vernita Gray), which supports LGBTQ youth and homeless LGBTQ youth; and She100, a giving circle that pools resources to make grants to initiatives which strengthen the power and presence of all Chicago LBTQ women.


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 Awardthe Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice, and the Ron Sable Award for Activism.


In FY18, grant amounts ranged from $500 - $80,750 and, unless otherwise noted, the grants are for general operating support.


2018 Grantees





























Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Exhibit showcases the powerful work of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, whose programs include: Free Breakfast for School Children, free health clinics, transportation for families to visit loved ones in prison, and defending itself and the community from police harassment. (TA)


Chicago Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films about Palestine or by Palestinian directors that address current issues in the region and portray the daily lives of Palestinians. Their collection of films and media serves as an educational resource locally and nationally. (SF, GRAM)


Free Street Theater creates performances by and for underrepresented Chicago artists and communities focused on justice. The grant supported their Performance for Direct Action and Intervention Series, which gave participants tools to create, organize, and implement direct actions and interventions using art. (CRF)


Honey Pot Performance is a feminist, creative collaborative that uses performance to examine identity, belonging, and differences in lives and cultural membership. Ongoing projects include the Chicago Black Social Culture Map – a digital documentation of  Black social culture from the Great Migration to the early 21st century. (SF)


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


Jarochicanos is a youth-driven arts collective that uses traditional music from Veracruz, Mexico to explore identity and self-expression. They are currently creating the concept of La Escuelita del Barrio Sobre Ruedas (The Little School in the Hood on Wheels) to visit communities in the Chicago area to offer multi-generational programming around culture, language, art, and music in order to build a cultural revolution. (SF)


St. Kateri Center of Chicago provides a space for Native American students and adults to gather, preserve, and deepen their indigenous identity while participating in the larger struggles of the community: i.e. challenging offensive school and college mascots, and participating in direct actions including the Standing Rock protest against the oil pipeline. (SF)


The West Side Historical Preservation Society highlights the historical contributions made by African Americans on the West Side of Chicago from the Great Migration to the civil rights movement to current day organizing. This is accomplished through preserving historical sites and documents, aspiring to create a museum, and holding public education opportunities and festivals.  (SF)



Vigil for Incarcerated Mothers hosted by Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration at Cook County Jail (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)




Alliance of the Southeast (ASE) is a multi-issue, community organizing group composed of member institutions on Chicago’s Southeast Side. Their work includes South Side Anti-Violence Endeavor, a youth leadership Council, mentoring/restorative justice programs, tenant organizing, and a coalition effort to obtain Community Benefits Agreements for local residents via employment, training and education opportunities, affordable housing, and environmental protections. (SF, YF)


Blocks Together is a community-led, youth-focused, multi-issue, social justice organization on the West Side of Chicago that is working on challenging the over-policing of youth, preserving quality public education, affordable housing, economic development, and participatory budgeting. They are a key local leader in the national Poor People’s Campaign(SF, YF)


Equiticity advocates for racial equity, particularly around increased mobility, to make lives better for Black, Brown and Indigenous people of color across Chicago. The CRF supported their work to challenge the increased role of policing in the Vision Zero Chicago plan. (SF, CRF)


Lugenia Burns Hope Center develops the civic engagement of residents in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood through education, leadership development, and community organizing. Their work focuses on ending the displacement of low-income and working Black families by implementing rent control, empowering Local School Councils, and building police accountability. (SF)


Northside Action for Justice is a multi-issue organization in Uptown and Rogers Park working on campaigns for living wages, affordable housing, and quality public education. Their education campaign includes a Sustainable Community Schools Village concept in which area schools partner to create a unified vision for themselves and the surrounding community. (SF)


Residents Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE) is a resident-led organization that mobilizes people and resources, breaks down barriers in communication, and promotes positivity through solutions-based approaches to force a change in the community. Their work focuses on community development and neighborhood safety. (SF)


Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) is a community organization that focuses on stopping the displacement of low-income and working-class black residents, monitoring human rights violations at Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, preserving mental health clinics, and healthcare provision especially through the trauma center on the South Side. (SF, YF)


Ixchel Families for Equitable Education and Environmental Justice is a community-based organization in Cicero working to dismantle the educational inequity that profoundly disadvantages Brown and Black students in local public schools. Their environmental justice work focuses on noxious odors from the water reclamation plant, proposed waste relocation from Chicago to neighboring Stickney, and the presence of lead in drinking water. (SF)


People for Community Recovery is a community-based environmental justice organization that addresses pollution, the adverse impact of Chicago Housing Authority policies, and other social justice issues in the Riverdale community. Their current focus is on the development of a “solar farm” to provide alternative energy sources and create career opportunities for local residents. (SF)


   A performance at The Visibility Project hosted by A Long Walk Home, Inc. (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



Alternatives to Calling Police During Mental Health Crises is a community-based effort to train people in de-escalation techniques to protect psychiatrically disabled and mentally ill community members from police violence and the criminal justice system. The grant supported expanding their workshop series and technology updates. (TA)


Black and Pink Chicago is a collaboration of LGBTQ prisoners and their allies working to stem the violence experienced by prisoners and end the use of solitary confinement through advocacy, public education, direct services, and organizing. (SF)


Black Lives Matter Chicago works to end state violence and the criminalization of Black communities through supporting impacted families, Our Story a community-centered project to lift up young people’s voices and experiences, a campaign to destigmatize mental health issues and build an alternative mental health care system, and organizing with the national Poor People’s Campaign. The CRF supported their Justice for RonnieMan campaign. (SF, CRF)


Black Youth Project 100 is a national member-based organization of young activists and organizers creating freedom 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. (Grant)


Chicago Books to Women in Prison is an all-volunteer organization that provides paperback books to incarcerated women and educates the public on the harsh realities of mass incarceration. The grant supported their attending the 15th International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference, where they presented on Books-to-Prison Pipeline: Critical Support and Advocacy for Incarcerated Women. (TA)


Chicago Community Bond Fund operates a revolving fund that pays bond for 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 TA grant supported their strategic planning process. (SF, TA, Grant)


The Chicago Torture Justice Center (CTJC) seeks to address the traumas 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 an historic reparations package for the torture survivors of former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Burge. (SF, CBI, GRAM, Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award)


Citizen Advocacy Center utilizes community lawyers to engage residents in DuPage County and beyond in building democracy through community organizing, coalition building, legal advocacy, civic education, and litigation to make local government more accountable, accessible and transparent. The TA grant supported the purchase of financial management software. (SF, TA)


Live Free Chicago believes that the Black church — a cornerstone in the Black community when it comes to resources, justice, healing, and restoration — is uniquely positioned to be a source of peace and systemic change. They are organizing congregations on the South and West Sides of Chicago as part of their broader campaign to create a citywide strategy to address gun violence in Chicago. (SF)


Love and Protect supports women and gender non-conforming people of color who are criminalized and/or harmed by state and interpersonal violence. They provide immediate support to criminalized survivors, hold education and awareness-raising events, and work to develop a community-wide analysis of why survivors of violence are targeted by the system. (SF)


March to the Polls: Women’s March Chicago was the second annual Women’s March in Chicago. It provided an opportunity for people to come together to build power and community solidarity for the 2018 primary and general elections. The grant supported logistical dimensions of the march and targeted outreach to communities of color. (CRF)


Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration is a mutual-support organizing group that builds on the collective strength and power of mothers directly impacted by state and interpersonal violence, particularly those who have been harmed by incarceration. They do this through participatory community defense campaigns as well as advocacy and organizing towards an abolitionist agenda. (SF)


No Cop Academy Campaign is a youth-led effort, supported by community organizations across Chicago, that wants to see $95 million invested in communities rather than in a new police training academy. Funding enabled them to send a cohort of young people to the Highlander Center for Research and Education for training focused on social movement’s history, political education, and community organizing. (CRF, Cathy Cohen)


Restore Justice Foundation advocates for fairness, humanity, and compassion throughout the Illinois criminal justice system, with a primary focus on youth serving extreme sentences. They create and support policies that allow youth to go home and ensure that those incarcerated, their families, and the families of victims have opportunities for healing and justice. The TA grant supported an overhaul of their database system.  (SF, TA)


Sister Survivor promotes the civic voice and celebrates the resilience of Black women and girls who have been harmed by America’s prison policies. The grant supported the Underground Rounds discussion series that spotlights the ways in which institutional structures of domination shape Black women's public and private realities. (SF)


Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) is led by low-income people of color working on criminal justice reform and racial equity campaigns. They are members of a coalition working on new legislation to address the needs of formerly incarcerated job seekers and enact meaningful criminal justice reform in Illinois — the Jobs Not Jail bill. (SF, Convening Grant)


Westside Justice Center is a community-centered organization that promotes a holistic approach to justice by facilitating legal literacy, providing legal assistance to individuals, and nurturing community trust through restorative justice practices. The grant supports their Community Advocates program, which trains community members in accessing the justice system and advocating for their rights. (SF)


Women’s All Points Bulletin is composed of women survivors of police violence and their families. They advocate for more civilian oversight of law enforcement, amplify the voices of victims and survivors of police assault, provide testimony to local, national, and international bodies, and engage in building public awareness of police violence. (SF)


   Protesters at a march and rally to Abolish ICE and End Family Detention (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



Alliance for Community Services unites people with disabilities, front-line workers, community activists, and others to promote the accessibility of Medicaid, food stamps, disability services, collective bargaining, and community resources, which are all under attack due to the state’s privatization of public needs. (SF)


Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers works to expand mental health services to poor and underserved communities by empowering them to create Expanded Mental Health Services Programs. These programs, pioneered by the Coalition, empower local communities in Chicago to envision and build their own community-initiated, funded, and overseen mental health centers. (SF)


Chicago Women’s Health Center empowers women and trans-identified individuals by providing access to both high-quality and accessible health care and health education in a respectful and affordable environment. (Grant)


Illinois Birth Justice is dedicated to supporting incarcerated pregnant women and new mothers before, during, and after birth to build positive futures for themselves and their families. In addition, they are organizing for extended doula services to women in Cook County. (SF)


Local School Councils for All Coalition is comprised of education justice organizations who have banded together to empower and expand Local School Councils (LSCs) in Chicago. Their goal is to institute LSCs at all schools that receive public funds, including charter/military/contract schools. (PF)


Parents 4 Teachers is an all-volunteer organization that brings together teachers and parents to advocate for quality schools for all. They organize against the underlying causes of inequality, i.e. institutional racism, social and economic inequity, and corporate privatization of public resources. The CRF supported their special education advocacy work and enabled them to provide resources to Spanish-speaking CPS parents. (SF, CRF, TA)


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, and advance the rights and abilities of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices. (Eleuterio)


Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education informs and empowers parents to advocate for strong, quality public education for all children in Chicago and Illinois. The CRF supported their Special Education Parent Advocacy Initiative, which trained and mobilized parents/guardians to fight for — and eventually win — interventions and changes to CPS’ special education provision policy. (SF, CRF, GRAM)


Reading Between the Lines uses a discussion of literature to build critical thinking and communication skills with formerly and currently incarcerated people. This intellectual exchange nurtures self-confidence and collaboration, offering participants a chance for a better future. (Eleuterio)


Ujimaa Medics is a collective of Black people and people of color who are committed to training residents in communities with high incidents of shootings on Urban Emergency First Response. Training focuses on crucial, immediate patient stabilization care prior to the arrival of paramedics for gunshot victims, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, and mental health incidents. (SF)


The Women’s Voices Fund is a project of independent, feminist bookstore Women & Children First. The fund seeks to support, sustain, and develop an ongoing program series focused on women’s lives, ideas, and work. (PF)



Autonomous Tenants Union (ATU) is a tenant-led, all-volunteer organization building a movement of empowered tenants in Albany Park. Their goal is to secure the neighborhood as a No-Displacement Zone through organizing, advocacy, and education. (SF)


Chicago Housing Initiative is a coalition of ten community organizations who organize the power of low-income Chicago residents to preserve, improve, and expand subsidized rental housing and stabilize communities against displacement. (SF)


Lift the Ban Coalition consists of organizations leading a campaign to lift the statewide ban on rent control policies and establish rent control for Chicago residents. They hope to protect affordable housing, slow gentrification, and prevent unjust evictions. (PF)


Pilsen Alliance is committed to creating grassroots leadership and community-directed development in Pilsen and neighboring working-class immigrant communities. They are leading campaigns for quality public education, preservation of affordable housing, and Community Benefits Agreements for new neighborhood development. (SF, YF)


Pilsen Housing Co-Op is working to build a scattered-site, limited-equity, housing cooperative to counteract the aggressive gentrification and displacement of working-class families and Latinx artists in Pilsen. The grant supported their initial research on housing cooperatives and strategic planning for the organization(TA)


   #NoCopAcademy demonstrators lead a chant at City Hall (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) places trained violence-reduction teams in crisis situations and militarized areas around the world to build partnerships with local peacebuilders 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) works for a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through public education, civic participation, direct action, and advocacy. The YF supported a second annual convening to bring together youth organizers and activists from around the city to learn from each other and share best practices. (SF, Convening - YF)


National Boricua Human Rights Network raises awareness of human rights/civil liberty issues faced by the Puerto Rican community — political prisoners, the effects of colonization, international economic sanctions, displacement — and the ways in which gentrification is affecting the Chicago Puerto Rican community. They received a CRF grant for their advocacy work on behalf of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. (SF, CRF)



Albany Park Defense Network is a community-based, rapid-response network designed to protect neighbors from ICE raids. The grant supported expanding three areas of work: a local rapid response system, block-by-block organizing, and individual immigration defense cases. (CRF)


Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) is a grassroots community organization that builds the capacity of Filipino/a/xs to organize undocumented immigrants, domestic workers, seniors, and youth directly and through their legal clinic. (SF, YF)


The Chicago Law and Education Foundation (CLEF) provides access to legal representation and information on legal rights and responsibilities for low-income persons by utilizing schools and libraries as community centers. CLEF operates legal clinics in 20 Chicago public high schools. (SF)


Chicago Religious Leadership Network (CRLN) organizes congregations and people of faith to respond to injustices experienced by undocumented immigrants through the use of public witness, education, and political advocacy. Their Expanding Sanctuary framework advocates for a stronger Welcoming City Ordinance in Chicago, ending the use of the gang database, and cutting the flow of federal funding to immigration enforcement. (SF)


Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative consists of 12 local funders and foundations working together to support issues facing the immigrant community. Funding priorities include legal assistance, community defense, and capacity building to help organizations to both serve clients and mobilize for change. (TA)


Immigrant Solidarity DuPage maintains a Workers Center that provides both direct and legal services to mostly low-wage workers, publishes a newsletter that features the diverse voices of the immigrant community, and serves as a community organizing axis for Latinos in DuPage County. (SF)


No More Deaths is a humanitarian organization based in southern Arizona that works to end death and suffering in the US-Mexico borderlands while fighting for immigration reform. The organization provides direct aid to migrants crossing the border and documents their abuse, neglect, and mistreatment at the hands of border patrol and detention center officials. (PF)


Northern Illinois Justice for our Neighbors (NIJFON) provides free or low-cost expert immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Aurora, Chicago, and Rockford. They provide education on immigration issues to members of their faith communities and the general public while also engaging in advocacy/organizing for immigrant justice. (SF)


Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD) works with individuals and families to organize against deportations, detention, criminalization, and incarceration of Black, Brown, and immigrant communities in and around Chicago. This is done through organizing, advocacy, education, direct action, civil disobedience, and cross-movement building. The CRF supported their response to the dramatic increase in ICE raids in the Western Suburbs, as well as other emergency work. (CRF, GRAM, YF, SF)


Protect Rogers Park is comprised of neighbors who come together to protect each other, especially those who are targeted because of their nation of origin, legal status, faith, gender expression, or race. The grant supported the development of their rapid response network, as well as longer-term strategic planning. (CRF)


Proyecto de Accion de Los Suburbios del Oeste (PASO) serves the Western Suburbs with a focus on leadership development, education, community organizing, civic engagement, policy, and legal services to effect change led and directed by community members. The CRF supported a response to ICE raids in the Western Suburbs. (CRF, Eleuterio, Ron Sable Award for Activism)


The Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project (SSIP) organizes immigrants and their families in the Southwest Suburbs to protect their rights, fight for local and national pro-immigrant policies, and hold municipal leaders accountable to the growing immigrant community. This is accomplished through youth organizing, civic engagement, and voter education. (SF)


Telpochcalli Community Education Project (TCEP) challenges the lack of community resources available to families in the Little Village neighborhood and engages in youth organizing using a non-violence and mindfulness framework. The grant supported their Know Your Rights! training program in the wake of increased ICE presence. (CRF)


UNION Impact Center provides opportunities for youth and families of the Back of the Yards neighborhood and surrounding communities to create meaningful change by integrating organizing into its ongoing programs of youth safety, immigration, education, and policing reform. (SF)



About Face Youth Theatre is a theatre, activism, and leadership development program offered free of charge to LGBTQI+ and allied youth. They are committed to exploring and expanding the boxes used to define our intricate intersections of race, nationality, gender, and sexuality. (YF)


Affinity Community Services serves African-American lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in Chicago. They combine direct services with advocacy/activism, focused on coalition building, civic engagement, health and wellness, and leadership development. (SF)


Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center located on the South Side of Chicago that centers the self-determination of Black trans-identified individuals. Their work focuses on safety, health and wellness, leadership development, and visibility. (SF, CYSI)


Changing Worlds provides academic and art skills for students by integrating cultural, family, and community histories with writing and the arts. This grant supported planning and implementation of The Adelitas: Women of Courage project celebrating the queer, cis, and trans women in the world who work for peace and social justice. (She100)


Masjid al-Rabia is a women-centered, LGBTQIA+ affirming, anti-racist, accessible, pluralist Muslim organization providing spiritual care for marginalized Muslims. (She100)


Quare Square Collective is a network of queer artists of color who work for greater inclusion of marginalized artists in mainstream publications, performances, and media. They produce community arts programs featuring queer artists of color. (She100)


Transformative Justice Law Project is a collective of lawyers, activists, and organizers committed to gender self-determination, transformative justice, and prison abolition. They provide direct legal services for transgender/genderqueer individuals in and outside of prison, resources and training curriculum for lawyers and social workers, and organize for policy change. The TA grant supported their strategic planning process. (SF, TA)


   A piece from For The People's exhibition, "Do Not Resist? 100 Years of Chicago Police Violence." (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



Centro de Trabajadores Unidos (CTU) is an immigrant-run organization that educates workers on their rights and develops leadership within the immigrant community while participating in broader efforts for systemic reform around wage theft and immigration. The CRF supported them in responding to increased workplace ICE raids. (SF, CRF)


Chicago Community and Worker’s Rights (CCWR) is a worker-led organization that employs collective strategies of resistance against labor rights abuses, fights for just living conditions, and provides emergency support for workers in crisis. The CRF supported them in responding to and providing know-your-rights trainings around increased workplace ICE raids. (SF, CRF)


Chicago Workers Collaborative is a coalition of temporary staffing workers based in the Latino and African-American communities. They collectively build community power to end gender-based violence in the workplace and at home and fight to reform the temporary staffing industry through organizing, public education, worker trainings, and litigation. (PF)


Healing to Action advances a worker-led movement to fight gender-based violence in Chicago. Working with grassroots partner organizations, they are piloting a capacity building model that provides low-wage workers a collective healing space and organizing support to fight gender-based violence in the workplace and beyond. (SF, GRAM, CBI, Convening)


The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago supports the rights of sex workers and their communities with a focus on ending violence and stigma through education, advocacy, and peer support. The CRF supported their advocacy work highlighting the further criminalization of sex work by the passage of SESTA/FOSTA Act. (SF, CRF)


The Street Vendors Association organizes street vendors to ensure that they are able to sell food without fear of police harassment. They successfully advocated for an ordinance that legalizes street vending in Chicago for food prepared in licensed commercial kitchens and have successfully launched their own kitchen. Their current campaign is focused on changing state laws to recognize worker-owned cooperatives as legal business organizations in Illinois. (SF)


United Taxi Drivers Community Council (UTCC) organizes taxi drivers to improve the working conditions of their industry. Recent campaigns include challenging excessive police ticketing, advocating for equal industry regulations, and an end to violence experienced by taxi drivers. The TA grant supported their technology upgrade. (SF, TA)


Warehouse Workers for Justice organizes warehouse workers to defend their rights as temporary, full-time, or contract workers; challenge abuses (wage theft, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, etc.); hold employers accountable through negotiation, litigation, and policy changes; and build public support. (PF)


Working Family Solidarity builds interracial solidarity among low-wage workers and tenants through organizing Know Your Rights! trainings and racial unity dialogues between the Latinx and Black communities. They are coalition members for the Fight for $15 and Lift the Ban campaigns. (SF)



A Long Walk Home uses art to educate, mobilize, and empower young people to end violence against girls and women. Their curriculum includes youth-led art campaigns, gender-based violence prevention, reproductive health, state and police brutality prevention, parent engagement, and youth leadership. (YF, CBI, GRAM) 


The Youth Leadership Team at the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) runs a youth-led campaign to end racial profiling of Arabs, Muslims, and other oppressed communities. Their goal is to end the use of Suspicious Activity Reports by law enforcement and prevent the implementation of the Countering Violent Extremism program. (YF)


Assata’s Daughters is a grassroots, intergenerational collective of radical Black women who use an abolitionist framework in all their work. They provide mentoring and weekly programming for young Black girls and women around the themes of Black history and ancestry, self-care and mindfulness, grassroots organizing, resistance, and activism. (YF)


Chicago Freedom School fosters a new generation of young people engaged in social justice through leadership development, the study of past social movements, and hands-on engagement. The grant supported Project HealUs, which prepared 15 young people of color to explore, engage, and expand the work of the reproductive justice movement within their communities. (YF)


Chicago Park District’s Young Cultural Stewards Program cultivates young teens as caretakers of culture and agents of change within their parks and neighborhoods. Youth explore issues such as immigration, gentrification, police brutality, and the concept of decolonizing schools. (YF)


Chicago Student Action is a grassroots student organization that recruits and trains college students around campaigns related to living wages, fair financial aid practices, ending racial profiling by university police, and university divestment from fossil fuels. (SF, YF)


Circles and Ciphers is a hip-hop infused restorative justice organization led by and for young people impacted by the carceral state. Through art-based peace circles, education, and direct action, they collectively heal and work to bring about the abolition of the prison-industrial complex. (SF, YF, GRAM)


Illinois Safe Schools Alliance promotes safety and support for LGBTQ youth in Illinois schools and communities through advocacy, education, youth organizing, and research. The YF grant supported Action Camp, a program for LGBTQ+ middle and high school leaders. (Gray, TA)


Imagine Englewood If engages youth and families in healthy living, environmental justice awareness, community safety, and other programs. The grant supported their Growing Citizen Leaders program, which provides youth with a deeper understanding of the connection between systemic discrimination and the current social and economic situation of Englewood. (YF)


ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that builds collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organizing. The YF grant supported ONE Northside’s youth leadership on their police accountability campaign. (YF, Grant)


Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation engages at-risk and court-involved young men who reside in Back of the Yards. They are a longtime leader in practicing and providing training in restorative justice work. (YF)


{she crew} is a multidisciplinary, journaling-to-performance empowerment program for young girls in Chicago. Youth are immersed in social justice issues through a for-youth-by-youth podcast, writing, and performances. (YF)


Solidarity Studios empowers disconnected communities facing economic and political injustices by amplifying the voices of local artists and giving them the tools to organize and mobilize their communities locally and globally via music, especially hip-hop. (YF)


Srewolf and Nitram Foundation H.E.A.R.T.S. is an initiative in the south suburbs dedicated to community development. Their restorative justice programming includes a youth diversion program, training for community members, and advocacy work to get restorative justice practices implemented in public schools. (SF)


Territory supports young people in building voice, vision, and agency through the practice of design in the Albany Park and Uptown communities. In addition to creating youth-friendly design spaces, they also provide walking tours for adults to experience Chicago as teens navigating a teen/youth-averse city. (YF)


The Warehouse Project and Gallery inspires students in Summit to share and gather stories from their peers on issues important to youth. Through various forms of art, youth seek systemic changes that put them at the center of the solutions. The TA grant supported restorative justice training. (TA, SF, YF)


Universidad Popular’s empowers youth to become change-inducing actors by helping them define peace in the Little Village neighborhood. Their three-step, youth-led campaign focuses on identifying "hotspots" of crime and violence in the community, improving these spaces with art and attention, and engaging residents in the process. (YF)


Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) cultivates a safe environment for LGBTQ youth of color experiencing homelessness to explore their history, investigate new ways to address their struggles, and celebrate their strengths through theatrical performance pieces. (SF, YF, Vernita Gray)


Youth Outlook engages LGBTQ youth in Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb, and surrounding areas by providing community education workshops to counteract heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia. The TA grant provided staff training on fundraising. (SF, YF, TA)


   Marchers at Families Belong Together rally and march in Chicago (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



The Chicago Youth Storage Initiative (CYSI) was founded in 2015 by the Pierce Family Foundation, Knight Family Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, and Windy City Times, and has been housed at the Crossroads Fund. Several additional foundations contributed to CYSI's efforts, including Prince Charitable Trust, Alvin H. Baum Family Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Owens Foundation, Paul Angell Foundation, as well as many individual donors.


CYSI’s purpose was to improve the lives of young people experiencing homelessness through the provision of physical and virtual storage access options that serve a wide range of experiences and needs. It recently concluded in July 2018, after installing 755 safe storage options (including daily/overnight secure storage access with phone charging capabilities; virtual or cloud-based storage; and more) at 22 overnight youth shelters, drop-in centers, and schools in all regions of the city. This was triple the storage of the original goal of the initiative, and has benefited thousands of young people around the city. CYSI has passed the torch for the work and future management of the project to the LYTE Collective, a grassroots program now renovating a building complex in Grand Crossing on Chicago’s South Side. They will have 200 additional storage units in addition to many other services for youth experiencing housing instability and poverty. The following organizations have operated as partners in administering CYSI's objectives through grants they received:


Arrupe College of Loyola University – Chicago is a two-year college committed to offering a rigorous liberal arts education to a diverse population. They use an innovative model that ensures affordability while providing care for the whole person as they prepare their graduates to continue on to a bachelor’s program or move into meaningful employment. (CYSI)


Association House Chicago is a nonprofit organization, located in Humboldt Park, providing comprehensive, collaborative, and effective programs in English and Spanish around health and wellness, as well as opportunities for educational and economic advancement. (CYSI)


Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center located on the South Side of Chicago, and is designed to create and provide affirming and culturally competent services for the entire LGBTQ community. Their work focuses on health and wellness, leadership development, and visibility. (SF, CYSI)


Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive community-center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the LGBTQ people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 people visit the center every day. (CYSI)


Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas that provides shelter, food, immediate crisis care, and an array of other services to homeless and runaway youth. They serve over 46,000 young people every year. (CYSI)


Howard Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by LGBTQ people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness. The agency serves more than 27,000 adults and youth every year in its diverse health and social service delivery system. (CYSI)


La Casa Norte meets youth and families experiencing homelessness where they’re at and helps them move to increased stability. They provide access to housing and deliver comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. (CYSI)


The Love, Unity and Values (LUV) Institute supports young people, ages 11-24, who face challenges with college and career readiness. They work to provide the foundational skills that young people need for successful navigation by using literacy, art, and well-being as pathways to the workforce of tomorrow. (CYSI)


The LYTE Collective is the future home of the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative and is a community center for youth experiencing poverty and homelessness. (CYSI)


Mercy Home for Boys and Girls has supported over 30,000 people through its comprehensive programming, including: a residential treatment home, after care support for former residents and their families, community-based youth mentoring, and life skills development. (CYSI)


Pathways in Education – IL is an Alternative Learning Opportunities Program in Chicago dedicated to serving the local community and supporting at-risk and underserved students in grades 9-12. (CYSI)



Crossroads Fund believes that it is vital to the health of Chicago’s organizing ecosystem to support grantees to convene with the aim of developing long-term strategies, building power collectively, and cultivating community solidarity across issues. The following are some of the convenings supported by Crossroads Fund in FY18:


The Power of Culture, Leadership and Resiliency Training convening was a collaborative effort with the Chicago Community Trust aimed at grantee leaders of color and their allies that focused on sustainability for the long haul. (Convening Grant)


For the People Artist Collective consists of Chicago artists of color who work to make the radical power of art accessible to marginalized communities and movements. The grant supported Do Not Resist? 100 Years of Chicago Police Violence, a month-long, city-wide exhibition focused on the history of police violence in Chicago. (SF, CRF)


Critical Resistance’s conference, Chicago for Abolitionfeatured five events that advanced a stronger shared understanding of the prison industrial complex and the abolitionist movement and amplified local organizing for social justice. (Convening Grant)


Challenging Electronic Monitoring in Cook County Summit convened individuals and organizations who are critically impacted by electronic monitoring in the criminal, legal, and immigration systems. The event provided political education for attendees and served as the local launch of the #NODIGITALPRISONS Campaign. (TA)


The Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria and the Crisis of Colonialism Symposium brought together scholars, organizers, filmmakers, and community members to discuss grassroots rebuilding and resistance to continued colonization and corporate exploitation in the wake of Hurricane Maria. (PF)


The Hana Center's is a youth council that engages in education, analysis building, self-expression, and collective action for youth and their communities. They received a Convening Grant to support a Chicago delegation to the Woori Ujimaa: Black +AAPI Immigrants Building Power convening, which created a space for national relationship building. They also received the CRF to support their organizing around the passage of a clean DREAM Act. (CRF, YF)


The Chicago SNCC History Project works to document the history of the Chicago SNCC chapter while engaging the current generation of youth/adult activists. The Convening Grant supported a two-day Black History Month Workshop and planning meeting for their 2019 International Conference on The Global Sixties. (Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice, Convening Grant) 



Click to see past grantee lists.