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Reading Change

Crossroads Fund invites you to celebrate 30 years of seeding change, growing leaders and building movements with our Reading Change book series.

This year, Crossroads Fund is celebrating our 30th anniversary. We’re taking this opportunity to think critically about some of the social justice movements that Crossroads Fund has supported over the last three decades. Over the next nine months, we will be reading books addressing some of the issues our grantees are organizing around, hosting public gatherings to discuss these books and movements, and publishing reflections and analysis on the Crossroads Fund blog about the series.

Our first book in the series will be We Are Wisconsin, edited by Erica Sagrans. We’ll be discussing the book and new organizing strategies for 21st century workers on October 26th at 6pm at Jane Addams Hull House Museum, 800 South Halsted Street. Learn more. 

We hope you’ll join us in a variety of activities over the next year, as we read and discuss the following books, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events from Crossroads Fund, our grantees and partners.

Reading Change 2011-2012

  • Democracy Remixed – Cathy Cohen: Cathy Cohen’s groundbreaking work analyzes the state of black youth and their engagement in the American political system.
  • My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History – John D’Emilio: This accessible collection of essays by Allan Bérubé spans the history of GBLT communities in the US, probing the evolution of gay identity and its intersection with issues of race, class and gender.  
  • The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy – Raj Patel: Amidst a deepening economic crisis and growing inequality, Raj Patel argues that the root causes of the crisis are linked to the way that the market assigns value to goods, labor and the environment. 
  • We Are Wisconsin – Erica Sagrans: This new collection explores the grassroots defense of workers’ rights in Wisconsin through the writings of organizers, journalists, bloggers and tweeters.
  • Red Missed Aches – Jennifer Tamayo: Through poetry and artwork Jennifer Tamayo unpacks her identity as an immigrant and a woman, playing with language and questions of status in new and surprising ways.

Reading Change is brought to you by Crossroads Fund, with support from Public Square, the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, Women & Children First Bookstore and Jane Addams Hull House Museum.

Buy the Books: All five Reading Change titles will be available in October at Women & Children First in Andersonville, with additional locations to be announced soon. Buy all five and receive a free Reading Change tote bag! Get started reading today!

Come to the Events: Come discuss We Are Wisconsin and hear from Chicago organizations engaged in new worker rights organizing strategies at "Are We Wisconsin? Labor Organizing in the Obama Era" October 26, 2011 at 6pm, at Jane Addams Hull House Museum, 800 South Halsted Street. Co-sponsored by Chicago Jobs with Justice.

Get Involved: Want to organize a discussion of any of these books? Want to blog about reading and social justice? Contact

Read More: It was nearly impossible to choose just five books about social movements! Check out these other books we considered for the series for additional reading options.

Thu, Sep 22, 2011

Crossroads Fund Logo and Groupon Logo


Great news! (OK, maybe not as exciting as the “Buffet Rule”)!

Crossroads Fund will be the featured cause for three days on Groupon!  I know - we are excited too!

Crossroads Fund and G-Team, the philanthropic arm of Groupon, are teaming up so that we can continue to be an awesome social justice grantmaking organization.  As a small public foundation we rely on creative ways to raise money and highlight our grantees.

Being featured on Groupon’s daily email for three days will gives us the opportunity to connect to Chicagoans who may have never heard of Crossroads Fund.  SO HELP US REACH OUT!

Our 15 minutes of fame on Groupon will run for three days (Sept. 27-29), but we won’t be successful without your support.

There is a catch (Duh!) and here is where we really need your help.

100% of the proceeds raised through Groupon will go to Crossroads Fund – provided that the “deal” gets “tipped”. That means, when at least 50 people donate from September 27 through September 29 we get more grantmaking funds! Can you say, “Si se puede!”

While you won’t get a discount on a bullhorn, you may get that warm fuzzy feeling inside. 

Here is how you can help us maximize our fundraising campaign on Groupon:

How do I donate through Groupon?

  1. Go to:
  2. Click “Buy” and select quantity, e.g., 1 = $10, 2 = $20, etc.

Share this message so more people can participate!

1. Copy & Paste this tweet and spread the message: Support Crossroads Fund via Groupon Sept 27-29! Let’s support racial, social & economic justice orgs!

2. Share a link to our Groupon donation page on Facebook... we'll make sure you have the link!

Wed, Sep 21, 2011

Harry Chandler, with his mother Clarissa Chandler.

The Crossroads Fund community is grief-stricken at learning about the passing of Henry T. Chandler, Jr. (Harry), who passed away on Tuesday, September 13, 2011.  Chicago has lost a great friend, community member, and leader.

Harry joined the board of Crossroads Fund in May of 2000, and continued to serve until his passing.  Harry was a dedicated board member, contributing to every area of our work during his eleven years of service.  Harry loved to engage with Crossroads Fund grantees.  He generously shared his beautiful home for our annual volunteer thank you party.  He asked lots of questions and enjoyed a challenging discussion in the Board room.  He loved a good meal and a good party and was a great supporter of our annual event and all of our work.  Harry was dedicated to inclusion and access for people with disabilities – and for all people.

Harry’s life had an enormous impact across Chicago.  He served as a board member and board chair at Access Living during their successful capital campaign to build a permanent space that is a model of Universal and Green Design.  He also served on the boards of Openlands, the ACLU of Illinois, and the Chicago Transit Authority, along with participating on the Advisory Board for the Persons with Disabilities Fund of the Chicago Community Trust.  Our friends at Access Living said it best when they noted that Harry’s body of work leaves a legacy of accessibility, empowerment, and independence that will be treasured by thousands, both inside and outside the disability community.

Harry’s humor, generosity, and political conviction gave so much to the Crossroads Fund community and beyond.  Our thoughts are with his family and the many others who were touched by his life.

We will miss him very much.

Thu, Sep 15, 2011

Mikva Challenege students meet with members of the Crossroads Fund

By Emmanuel Garcia, Lisa Fittko Intern

Thirty years ago a group of young activists came together to start what is today Crossroads Fund, a public foundation committed to giving grants to social justice organizations. Even though they were a small collective, they had a big idea, to raise money to help fund other small groups so that they could empower multiple movements.

On Aug. 4 students from various Chicago high schools participating in a program of the Mikva Challenge came to the Crossroads Fund to talk about doing something similar. Their focus was to give other high school students funding for projects that promote health awareness among their peers.

Jane Kimondo, Program Director at Crossroads Fund and Henry Cervantes, Former Youth Fund grantmaking committee member, met with the youth to provide some guidance on how to create a request for proposal (RFP), but also to facilitate a group discussion about the politics of money.

Henry gave a brief summary of the many layers of the philanthropic sector.  For example, he talked about how many people with wealth give to art museums and cultural institutions, but neglect to fund grassroots organizations.

The students talked about what it means to have money, to ask for money and to give money away. It created a healthy discussion among the group about how they see their role as future potential funders. Henry asked, “How does having money make you feel?”  This moment of self introspection made the group think about their own personal relationships with money.

Jane reminded the group to remember that grant seekers are human and to not simply come to a conclusion based on how someone appears, good or bad, on paper. She encouraged them to go out and have an in-person meeting before making final decisions.

While Crossroads Fund has always prioritized the youth fund, it wasn’t until 2008 that we created our Youth Fund for Social Change. One key component is that youth are part of the decision process.  Jane asked the students to notice if grantee groups include people who are directly affected by the issue in the negotiating table. For instance, a group of students seeking funding for a project on disability should have at least one person who is affected by that issue making decisions.  For Crossroads Fund this means that every grantmaking cycle we invite young activists involved in social justice movements to join our Youth Fund committee.  In other words, someone who has a stake in the issue is now part of the committee that helps decide who to give funding to. It’s a powerful role and one that we don’t take for granted.
Before the students came to our office they were already well on their way to helping their peer groups create change. The big idea was already there. The challenge will be to implement guidelines for funding and to continue to have these important conversations as a team.    

Young people are making change across Chicago, whether it’s creating change through direct activism or by being young philanthropists. Historically we have always recognized the important role that young people play in organizing movements, not only because our organization was started by young people, but because we want to continue the tradition of fostering that social justice bug early on. And rumor has it, many of us were young once ourselves!

Wed, Aug 31, 2011

Thu, Aug 18, 2011