Crossroads Fund moved $260,000 to 29 organizations through the Youth Fund for Social Change! Thank you to the Youth Fund for Social Change grantmaking committee members –  Alicia Brown (The Final 5 Campaign), Aliemah Bradley (Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation), Destiny Harris (Dissenters), Devonta Boston (TGi Movement), Maru Pintu (Cannabis Equity Coalition of IL), and Nikia Watkins (Liberation Library)!

A Long Walk Home (ALWH) uses art to advocate for racial and gender equity calling for an end to violence against Black women, girls, and gender-expansive youth in Chicago. A Critical Response Fund grant helped provide easily accessible options for emergency housing specifically to help Black girls, trans, and gender non-conforming youth. (CRF)

About Face Theatre (AFT) creates innovative theater productions and educational programming to foster awareness, under- standing, and celebration of all sexual and gender expressions. A Youth Fund grant supported AFT’s Outreach and Education initiatives within schools and communities, as well as their Youth Task Force. Together, these programs increase the safety and leadership capacity of LGBTQI+ youth. (YF)

Al-Huda Academy develops Islamic values through Divine guidance, with an intricate balance of academic excellence and Islamic Studies; enabling students to achieve their maximum educational ability and prepare them for future roles in a global and diverse society. With the help of a Youth Fund grant, they will be holding their first fundraiser, which will showcase the global diversity of Muslims and Islamic values to community and government while sharing student testimonials and discussions on injustices towards Muslims. (YF)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago (AAAJC) strengthens the voice and power of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community through collective action, advocacy, and organizing to achieve racial equity. Their KINETIC youth program advances the civic leadership and visibility of Chicago high school youth. (YF)

Cannabis Equity IL Coalition (CEIC) works to shape the legalization of cannabis in Illinois to repair and reinvest in communities most impacted by the War on Drugs. Through organizing, community programming, and advocacy they fight for change that prioritizes people over cannabis profits. A Youth Fund grant supported a youth convening centered around advocacy, political education, and record expungement to develop young leaders for change. (SF, YF, TA)

Chicago Youth Labor Organizing Program is a summer organizing program training young people on workplace organizing while providing them opportunities to apply their skills on union campaigns as a rank and file worker. High school and college students learn the nuts and bolts of labor organizing along with political education on capitalism and the importance of worker power/ unions. (CRF)

Chicago Youth Trip to Palestine is a collective of youth organizers connecting Palestinians and Arabs to their roots in Palestine through education, activism, and first-hand experiences. The aim is to connect students to the land while working at the intersection of struggle and international solidarity. They host storytelling events and create zines that preserve historical contexts, Palestinian ruins, and structures while also working on issues of political prisoners and student movements. (SF, GRAM)

Dissenters is an anti-militarism organization of young people re- claiming resources from the war industry through education and direct action. The Chicago-based campaign is working to divest Illinois from Boeing weapons production. A Critical Response Fund grant supported an assessment of their Chicago campaigns. (CRF, TA)

Eternal Youth is an intergenerational coalition built across religion, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and more. Their mission is to provide resources and educational initiatives that help those in need of mental health support, afford basic necessities, have a safe place to go, access educational resources, and address issues important to youth through participatory action research. A Youth Fund grants is helping them establish a number of public-facing programs and initiatives over the coming year, including restorative justice training, peace circles, and a monthly ESL table. (YF)

Free Root Operation (FRO) intercepts poverty-induced gun violence and combats economic injustice by investing in the healing and power of Black and Brown communities with community-based programming, dialogues, and mutual aid. The Youth Fund supports their BLOOM program, a 6 month wellness cohort developed to equip Black women and single mothers to be leaders in their families and communities through mental wellness support, nutrition, conversation, leisure, and diverse experiences. (YF)

Free Street Theater creates original, joyful, and thought-provoking theater by, for, about, with, and in Chicago’s diverse communities. Recently, their Youth Ensembles created 57 Blocks, an immersive and interactive performance connecting audiences to youth spaces by way of a bus ride to learn and change Chicago’s education system. (SF, YF)

Hana Center’s Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is a youth council that engages in civic education, creative expression, campaigns, and collective action for youth and their communities. FYSH develops leaders and centers efforts on citizenship, education, health, and justice for all, particularly organizing around the decriminalization of immigrants and youth of color and the redistribution of funds toward equitable schools, communities, and cities. (YF)

Illinois Workers in Action organizes factory and temporary workers in Chicago to ensure all workers, regardless of employment, have safe and dignified working conditions. Their work includes education, organizing, and policy to unite workers and address COVID safety, wage theft, and discrimination in the workplace. A Youth Fund aids the creation of “Youth in Action,” programming specfically for immigrant youth, which will develop youth leaders as well as provide support and resources to young DACA recipients. (YF)

Invisible Institute is an innovative, nonprofit journalism production company based on the South Side of Chicago working to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable through investigative reporting, multimedia storytelling, human rights documentation, the curation of public information, and the orchestration of difficult public conversations. They are building on their Youth/Police Project (y/pp), bringing a group of twenty high school students and young adults together to learn and explore the life and work of Margaret Burroughs and her decades-long volunteer work as an educator at Cook County Jail and Stateville Prison. (YF)

Liberation Library is a Chicago-based, volunteer-led, and democratically organized prison abolition organization that provides books and youth-led quarterly magazines to incarcerated young people in Illinois. As an abolitionist group they are working to- wards a future without prisons or jails. Until they achieve this, they work to contribute to the growth and healing of youth tangled in the criminal legal system. (CRJPF)

Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE)‘s work aims to advocate for policies dismantling systemic racism in the criminal justice system and those most impacted by racism are at the forefront of transforming their lives. Youth Opposed to Violence Everywhere (Y.O.V.E) was born from there to help organize and establish youth engagement and empowerment centers in north Lawndale for youth of all ages and communities to assure that they have community and in-home programs that will minimize the growing violence in their community. (YF)

Not Me, We is a Black-led organizing group in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago fighting the injustices of racism, housing, and education. They organize working class community members for mutual aid and collective power. Campaigns include the Obama Center Community Benefits Agreement and reparations from University of Chicago. A Youth Fund supports youth led campaigns around how they are policed around South Shore, particularly within school. (YF)

Nothing Without a Company (NWaC)’s mission is to tell stories of historically marginalized voices through immersive and site-specific theatre by showcasing new and exciting plays. NWaC is analyzing individuals and cultures with deep respect and appreciation of their values while educating, studying, and portraying the mind and spirit through physical storytelling and self-care classes. Their play, Mitigating Factors, written in collaboration with Ahmed Al-Hassan, centers on those who have been impacted by incarceration from cannabis-related charges and the gap in social equity. (YF)

ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization building collective power to eliminate injustice through organizing. ONE Northside works with activated youth to address climate change and police accountability, focusing on passing the civilian oversight ordinance with the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability Coalition and removing School Resource Officers (SROs) from schools. A Technical Assistance Fund grant supported a leadership transition for a new Executive Director. (YF, TA)

Planet Chambo is an artist collective that aims to eliminate the barriers to inclusive, just, and sustainable access to green spaces across Chicago through transformative artistic performances, featuring BIPOC artists, that promote the preservation of the environment and our collective health. Green spaces include parks, forests, urban farms, grocery stores, clean air, clean water, and more. A Youth Fund grant supports their “Wild Spirit” project, an audio-visual project that will serve as a sonic journey, guiding urban youth on a transformative exploration of their environment and inner selves. (YF)

Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League (ROYAL) is a youth-led, abolitionist organization taking action to regain agency and heal from racialized trauma and oppression while creating change in their schools and communities through education and organizing. Ongoing work includes a rigorous curriculum that consists of social justice organizing workshops, reading circles, mutual aid events, climate justice actions, and a youth hip-hop artist incubator project. (YF, CRJPF)

Solidarity Studios connects youth in Chicago, Palestine, and South Africa through art and activism. They strengthen bonds between global communities by weaving racial and political histories in cross-cultural programs to inspire solidarity and spark change through original music, creative expression, and action. A Youth Fund grant aids in the development of a department focused on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage, which will allow them to incorporate more of the pedagogy from BIPOC cultural leaders into their education model. (YF)

Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) is a multi-issue community organization addressing housing, cuts to mental health services, and the criminalization of youth of color through tenant and youth organizing, action research, education, and alliance-building. Recent victories include the passage of a Community Benefits Agreement near the Obama Center to prevent community displacement.(SF, YF, CRF, CRJPF)

Taking Back Our Lives works to end domestic and sexual violence by empowering community members with a grassroots, social justice model that supports participants to become leaders in their own communities. Take Back the Halls (TBTH), their signature program, provides youth leadership, civic engagement, and dating violence prevention programming, and gives teens the opportunity to examine issues such as domestic violence and sexual assault as well as the variety of social structures that support violence in our culture. (YF)

Tenants United-Hyde Park and Woodlawn organize renters to stay housed in the face of landlord abuse. They connect their community to end all evictions and build community control. Their solidarity extends to houseless neighbors and other vulnerable neighbors. They have been supporting refugees and asylum seekers organize, and a Youth Fund grant will support the youth-led of these groups. (YF)

Territory is a youth-led design studio on Chicago’s West Side where young people of color build better futures for themselves and their communities through the practice of architectural design, city planning, advocacy, and activism. The young people in Austin work to transform public spaces, shake off stigmas, and change the stereotypes about their community through urban design. (SF)

TGi Movement cultivates creative spaces and programming for Chicago youth. They work to end Dream Deserts a condition pushing young people to not follow their passions due to enforced austerity and governmental negligence. Their creative programs civically engage youth and their Reclaiming the Hood campaign revitalizes Black businesses in the Chicago Lawn community to tackle disinvestment and racial inequities. A Technical Assistance Fund grant helped them expand their Omega Chi Omega program to be year-round. (SF, YF ,TA, CRJPF)

Ujimaa Medics is a Black health collective working in Chicago’s Black community to address racial health disparities and immediate traumas that are the result of centuries of oppression, surveillance, state-sanctioned violence, and generational trauma. A Youth Fund is helping them coalition build with key, values aligned partners and expand their programming across the city, as well as internal training to fine tune content.

Youth Outlook engages youth, families, and communities to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth and build welcoming environments through direct services and community education. They offer advocacy tools for parents, educators, organizations, and community institutions to counteract harassment, bullying, and violence. (SF, YF)