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Crossroads Fund Staff with the 2012 Youth Fund Grantmaking Team.

Five years into our Youth Fund for Social Change, we remain humbled and inspired by the many young people who are taking a stand and transforming systems that harm them and their peers. Over the past five years, we have seen young people advocate for a trauma center in their neighborhood, engage their elders to break cycles of violence, come out as “undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic,” and work to empower homeless LGBT youth, among other issues.

One of the aspects that makes the Youth Fund so powerful is that grantmaking decisions are made by a committee of young people who are themselves involved in social justice work. This year's Youth Fund Grantmaking Committee brought together four impressive activists from different communities and movements:

  • Cindy Ibarra has worked with the Southwest Youth Collaborative and the Young Women's Empowerment Project, and shared her passion for restorative justice and creating safe spaces, especially for youth of color;
  • David Fischer brought a critical eye towards gender and sexuality from his work with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance;
  • Veronica Morris-Moore has organized with Fearless Leading by the Youth to demand critical health services in her South Side community, and is dedicated to supporting young women organizers;
  • and Razan Abu-Hashish brought her multiple identities, as well as an emphasis on how theory meets practice.

Thanks to the hard work and input of our grantmaking committee, the Board of the Crossroads Fund has chosen 21 outstanding projects and organizations to receive grants from the Youth Fund for Social Change this year.

As we look toward our next 30 years as a resource for grassroots social change groups in the Chicago area, Crossroads Fund rededicates itself to supporting the development of youth leaders, through our many youth oriented initiatives: Through our Youth Fund for Social Change; the Lisa Fittko Internship, which immerses one young person each year in all aspects of our work; our Youth Fund grantmaking committee; technical assistance trainings; and movement-building convenings all designed to meet the needs of youth organizations.

Around the world, youth-led movements are rising up to secure youth a voice in the decisions that directly affect them. We are proud to help partner in this work.


A Long Walk Home's Girl/Friends Leadership Institute is an art-based, youth-led program in the North Lawndale neighborhood that allows young women to address dating, domestic and sexual violence in their communities and schools. $1,500

Affinity Community Services Leadership Institute’s Youth Summit, organized by a cohort of young LGBT African American women, builds community across Chicago and addresses issues of internalized oppression and violence. $1,500

Benton House is a direct service provider in the Bridgeport community that is launching a food justice initiative with young people to look at issues of food insecurity and encourage civic engagement. $1,500

Blocks Together's Peace Ambassadors Leadership Program trains young people to use restorative justice circles in West Humboldt Park schools as an alternative to the school to prison pipeline. $2,000

The Peer Advocate Project is a leadership development group at the Broadway Youth Center, a drop-in space for LGBT homeless and street-based youth, who are primarily youth of color. $2,000

Chicago Area Friends of SNCC This grant supported youth involvement in an intergenerational public event to celebrate the opening of the “Tell the Story” exhibit, which collects the stories of the Chicago area chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. $1,000

Chicago-New Orleans Collaboration is a group of young people from four Chicago area schools (Julian, Little Village Social Justice, Kelly and Gage Park) making their sixth annual trip to New Orleans to assist in rebuilding efforts, create relationships and learn about issues that affect both cities, like housing, gentrification, racism and the privatization of education. $1,500

Circles and Ciphers is a hip hop leadership development program for young men located in the Rogers Park neighborhood, which advocates restorative justice alternatives to incarceration. Their “Time Lords” program generates intergenerational dialogue for community healing. $1,500

Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) is an organizing project at Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), which is working to get a trauma center reopened at the University of Chicago hospital. $2,000

Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is the youth organizing program at Korean American Resource and Cultural Center. This grant supports a pan-Asian youth cultural celebration launching a get-out-the-vote campaign for the 2012 presidential election. $1,500

Foundation for Community Change is comprised of youth leaders across three Southside, predominately African American Chicago communities. They utilize visual and performing arts to elevate youth voices about issues of violence, and to create an alternative to zero tolerance policies that silence youth. $1,500

Free Street Theater's DISTRACTED #internalrevolution play links issues affecting local youth to national and global issues like the Arab spring and youth-led revolutions around the world. $1,500

Imagine Englewood If… is organizing a youth-led campaign to create a community center in the Englewood neighborhood to counteract violence. $1,500

Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) is organizing a series of discussions and workshops to encourage mental health professionals and institutions to address the needs of undocumented young people. $3,000

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization's youth led programs educate area youth about environmental justice issues, as well as advocating for community gardening at schools. $2,500

Nuestra Voz organizes around local and national immigration policies, while empowering undocumented students in the Western Suburbs to pursue their college education regardless of immigration status. $2,000

Ollin's Nonviolence Leadership Institute and the Little Village Youth Groups Nonviolence Network promote nonviolent resistance techniques and community-building within the Little Village neighborhood. $3,500

Pilsen Youth Equalizer Corps is a youth project at Centro Sin Fronteras that organizes around healthcare access, immigration and community violence. They publish “The Liberator” magazine which addresses these and other issues affecting youth. $2,000

The Chicago Wisdom Project creates youth-driven creative projects in various media to respond to issues of trauma experienced by youth and promote social justice. $1,500

Young Women’s Empowerment Project's Street Youth Rise Up campaign is organizing around a Bill of Rights drafted by street youth and young people affected by the sex trade and other street economies, outlining what kind of treatment they have a right to expect from institutions in their communities, including healthcare providers, social service agencies, and the police. $3,000

Youth Outlook organizes LGBTQ youth in the Western Suburbs (Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb and others) to provide community education workshops to counteract heterosexism and homophobia to promote inclusivity. $2,000


Tue, Apr 17, 2012

On October 26th, 2011 Crossroads Fund was honored to host author and activist Erica Sagrans, editor of the book "We Are Wisconsin," for a Reading Change discussion of new strategies in labor organizing. She was joined by Leah Raffanti of Chicago ACTS, Elvis Mendez of Warehouse Workers for Justice, and Linda Haluska of OUR Walmart.

Their conversation was broadcast by CAN-TV, and you can watch the video below.

Check out more info about Reading Change, and upcoming Reading Change events!

Part One

Are We Wisconsin? Labor Organizing in the Obama Era. Part 1 from Crossroads Fund on Vimeo.

Part 2

Are We Wisconsin? Labor Organizing in the Obama Era Part 2 from Crossroads Fund on Vimeo.

Wed, Apr 11, 2012

Mata Traders

Enjoy an evening of local, sustainable and fair trade food, drink and fashion!

Crossroads Fund and Mata Traders invite you to enjoy an evening of local, sustainable and fair trade food, drink and fashion at the Mata Traders Trunk Show!

Weds. May 2nd from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
5215 N Ravenswood Ave., Suite 112., Chicago IL
Free and open to the public!

Explore fair trade and sustainable clothing, accessories and home goods from Mata Traders in their Ravenswood warehouse.

Sample delicious food and drink from local and sustainable producers including:

  • Koval Distillery: Established in 2008, Koval is the first craft distillery within Chicago's city limits since Prohibition. Koval’s organic certified spirits are made from grains, fruits, herbs, and flowers sourced from the surrounding Midwest region.
  • Café Chicago: Café Chicago is a worker-made, worker-run cooperative that roasts, packages, and distributes great tasting, fair trade, organic coffee in the Chicago area. Proceeds from Café Chicago support the work of the Latino Union.
  • Chicago Honey Co-Op: The Chicago Honey Co-Op produces local, naturally produced honey while providing job training and community education.
  • And more!

Fifteen percent of the sales from the evening will be donated to Crossroads Fund, a public foundation which supports grassroots groups working for racial, social and economic justice in the Chicago area.

Mata Traders is an independent women’s clothing label located in Chicago that wholesales and retails a high fashion line of fairly traded apparel and accessories. The company works directly with women’s cooperatives and artisan groups throughout India and Nepal that pay a fair wage and provide training, benefits and safe working conditions.  For more info see

Mon, Apr 09, 2012

Crossroads Fund's 30th Anniversary Celebration was a fantastic night of music, food and social justice. More than 500 people came out and raised over $100,000 to support grassroots groups working for racial, social and economic justice in the Chicago area, and we celebrated some of the incredible organizations, movements and individuals who are organizing for justice in our city.

Follow the links below to see photos of our event, or to watch the short videos that preceded each of our honorees.

Crossroads Fund Supporters
Click for a full gallery

Crossroads Fund Supporters

  Program and Honorees
Click for a full gallery

Program and Honorees

 Multi Media from the Awards Celebration:

Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award - Occupy Chicago

Ron Sable Award for Activism - Chicago Freedom School 

Ron Sabel Award for Activism - Dr. Barbara Ransby


Special thanks to the 30th Anniversary Sponsors, Silent Auction Donors, and Host Committee for their support of this event:

(as of February 29, 2012)

Alderman Pat Dowell
Barbara Flynn Currie
Congressman Danny Davis
Representative Robyn Gabel
Representative Constance A. Howard
Honorable  Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Alderman Roberto Maldonado
County Clerk David Orr
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

(as of February 29, 2012)

Gaylon B. Alcaraz
Gary M. Arnold
Claudette G. Baker & Rev. Linnell Baker, Jr.
Kaberi Banerjee Murthy *
Becky Belcore & Chris Williams
James L. Bennett
Kay Berkson & Sidney Hollander
Rebecca Burwell & Chirag Mehta
Evette M. Cardona & Mona Noriega
Salome Chasnoff
Inhe Choi
Ann Christophersen
Cathy J. Cohen & Beth E. Richie
Leslie Corbett Chenoweth & Aaron Chenoweth
Alice Cottingham & David Beard
Jenny Dale
Amina J. Dickerson
Mollie Dowling
Karen & Michael Gallagher
Maggie Gibbs
Clare G. Golla
Norman & Linda Groetzinger
Tracie Hall
Linda Harlan*
John Hassey
Neena Hemmady & Joy Wright
Robert J. Horton*
Kevin Irvine
Alejandra Ibañez *
Stephanie Kanter
Barbara Kemmis & Gina Medalle
Laura Leon
Rebekah Levin & Sophie Kaluziak
Christopher Long*
Nancy A. Matthews & Lisa Frohmann
Laura McAlpine
Omar McRoberts & Shelley Davis
Mary F. Morten & Willa J. Taylor
R. Susan Motley
Susan R. Nussbaum
Heather D. Parish
Tony Phillips*
Lisa Marie Pickens* & Rima Malhotra
Christine Kim-Tai Plautz*
M. Carmen Prieto
Jennifer L. Rakstad*
Robert L. Rice II & Thomas P. Rutherford
Mark A. Rodriguez*
Jane M. Saks
Kyle Schafer
Margie Schaps & Jack Doppelt
Dick Simpson
Mairita A. Smiltars
Layla P. Suleiman Gonzalez*
Shannon & Lauren Sullivan
Kandace Thomas
Julie Walther* & Dennis Huston
Bob Weissbourd
Tom Wilson
Daryl D. Woods* and Kent B. Utsey
Jaquelyn C. Zevin*

*Also a Crossroads Fund Board Member






























































Changemakers: $5000 and above

The Boeing Company
The Pierce Family Charitable Foundation

Catalysts: $2500 - $4999

The Irving Harris Foundation
Jeanne Kracher & Laura McAlpine
University of Illinois at Chicago
Daryl D. Woods

Visionaries: $1000 - $2499

James L. Bennett & Terry L. Vanden Hoek
Kay Berkson & Sidney Hollander
Mr. & Mrs. Henry T. Chandler, Sr.
Cathy J. Cohen & Beth E. Richie
John A. D'Emilio
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
Sarah J. Duncan & Thomas F. McDougal
Steven Feuerstein & Veva Silva
Jean Hardisty
Janine L. Hoft & Linda Wagner
Dana E. Jones & Joseph E. Agne
Catherine Kallal & Maurice Lemon
Barbara Kemmis & Gina Medalle
Lisa Yun Lee
Nancy Meyer & Marc Weiss
Nancy Fleck Myers
Robin Wold
Urban Partnership Bank

Movers & Shakers: $575 - $999

Inhe Choi & Guy Ward
Karen S. & Michael J. Gallagher
McAlpine Consulting for Growth
Omar McRoberts & Shelley Davis
Jennifer L. Rakstad & Michael W. Wallace
Jim Strait & Yonny Levy
Uptown Bikes
Woke Up Black

Stewards: $325 - $574

Bridget Arimond & Bruce Scheff
Lucy B. & Peter M. Ascoli
Martha Biondi
Bob Britt & Steve Mico
Rebecca Burwell & Chirag Mehta
Leslie C. Corbett Chenoweth & Aaron M. Chenoweth
Alice Cottingham & David Beard
Andrew D. Deppe & Stephen Weiser
Sandy & Mark Ehlert
Sunny & Paul Fischer
Clare Golla, Bernstein Global Wealth Management
Norman J. & Linda L. Groetzinger
Harris Bank
Neena Hemmady & Joy Wright
David Hiller
Alice H. Kim
Christopher Long & Dan Nehm
Nancy A. Matthews & Lisa Frohmann
Sheila O'Donnell & Nora Gallagher
Lisa Marie Pickens & Rima Malhotra
Aimee & Jackson Potter
Quitiplas Foundation
Kyle Schafer
Dr. Kimberly Smith
Shannon & Lauren Sullivan
Thomas J. Wilson
Wisconsin Community Fund, Inc.

Sponsors: $175 - $324

Sarah Bornstein
Consuella L. Brown
Ann Christophersen
Stephen R. Coats & Kimberly A. Bobo
Andy Cross
Barbara Engel & Jesse Hall
Jerome & Cynthia Ferrara
Robyn Gabel
Meg Gerken
Phaona N. Gray-Rodriguez & Carlos Rodriguez
Linda Harlan
Caroline Harney & Jim Charlton
Carlos Hernandez & Willy Montes de Oca
Judith Kenney
Myrtis Meyer & Marty Cohen
R. Susan Motley
Heather D. Parish
Denise Poloyac
Gordon M. Quinn
Mark A. Rodriguez
Service Employees International Union, Illinois Council
Dick Simpson
Stephen Tappis
Village Leadership Academy


All Star Carpet Care
Aroma Workshop
Claudette G. Baker & Rev. Linnell Baker, Jr.
Bikram Yoga Chicago
Jennifer Bing
Bistrot Zinc
Black Ensemble Theater
Juana Boksa
Chi Town Sharks
Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Bulls
Chicago Coffee Confederation
Chicago Cubs
Chicago Honey Co-op
Chicago Sinfonietta
Chicago White Sox
Chiropractic For Life LLC
Erica Clark and Jacob Karni
Community Media Workshop
Continuum Studio
CorePower Yoga
Frances A. and Jim Cox
Early to Bed
Elephant & Castle
Susan K. Eleuterio & Tom Sourlis
Facets Multi-Media
Steven Feuerstein & Veva Silva
Teresa Garcia & Nelson Gonzalez
Gro Salon
Norman J. & Linda L. Groetzinger
Hotel Ixtapan
Anne Hulslander
I-Go Car Sharing
Tanuja Jagernauth
John Hassey Resolution
Catherine Kallal & Maurice Lemon
Stephanie A. Kanter
Kartemquin Films
Jacqueline P. Kirley
Lill Street Art Center
Liz Ellis at Lumbar Lounge
Ellen J. and Donovan A. Ljung
Ann C. Logue and Rik Lantz
Mano Y Metal: Handcrafted Jewelry
Mata Traders
McAlpine Consulting for Growth
Music Box Theatre
Vreni Naess
Sheba Nemerovski
Shayna Norwood
Pam Robinson Design
Paper Source
Amisha Patel
Maryclare & John Patterson
Picture Us Galleries
Marc PoKempner
Catharine E. Quinn & John S. Straw
Jennifer L. Rakstad & Michael W. Wallace
Rebecca A. Rakstad
Ray's Bucktown Bed & Breakfast
Rebuilding Exchange
Redmoon Theater
Revival Fitness Personal Training
Riverstone Bead Company
Rose Metal Press, Inc.
Salon 10 at the Landmark
Dick Simpson
Steve Slaske
State Street Jewelers
Stella & Dot Stylist
Strawdog Theater
Terry's Toffee
The Chicago Chamber Musicians
The Chicago Ensemble
The Music of the Baroque
Toujours Spa & Salon
Trunk Club
Uptown Bikes
Lia Valero
Sara B. Varon
Rachel Wallis & Alex Rocklin
Julie Walther & Dennis Huston
Bob and Marie Weissbourd
Karla Wheeler
Tamara Wiley & Pat Malinger
Nikki Will Stein & Fred Stein
Women & Children First
Workers United for Eco Maintenance
Jaquelyn C. Zevin



Tue, Apr 03, 2012