Photo by the Lift the Ban Coalition

Last week, WBEZ reported that, for the first time since 1980, the white population in Logan Square surpassed the Latino population. The area has been gentrifying for years and increasing rents, while affordable for white professionals, have pushed out many Latino families. Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon. Chicago has a long and disgraceful history of displacing residents from their neighborhoods. For decades Chicagoans — primarily families, people of color and the poor/working class — have fought against the twin specters of gentrification, which prices them out of their neighborhoods, and institutional disinvestment, which slowly makes their neighborhoods unlivable by dismantling vital necessities like schools and stores.

Thankfully, Chicago also has a long history of organizing around these issues with grassroots, neighborhood groups pushing back so that residents are not pushed out. Over the past few years several groups, including the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Lugenia Burns Hope Center, Northside Action for Justice, and Pilsen Alliance, have joined together to form this week’s featured grantee: Lift the Ban Coalition. Lift the Ban works across neighborhoods to advocate for economic well-being and stability for families through the repeal of the Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997 (no unit of local government can control the amount of rent charged for private residential or commercial property) and the establishment of rent control for Chicago residents.

The number of families living in rent burdened households (spending more than 30% of income on rent) in Chicago is growing due to rent increases that are outpacing wages. According to Lift the Ban’s website, rent control would allow, “tenants (to) stay in their neighborhood with affordable housing options, contributing to local economies, schools and community preservation, and Chicago’s overall economic well-being.” Lift the Ban has been organizing across the city in favor of rent control and they worked diligently to get a referendum on last November’s ballot to lift the 20 year-old ban. Two-thirds of voters in the wards where the referendum appeared voted “yes” to lifting the ban. While the referendum is non-binding, the results are being used to push legislators to move forward on this important housing-justice issue.

An end-of-the-year gift to Crossroads Fund will enable us to continue supporting coalitions like Lift the Ban who fight to keep Chicago neighborhoods available to and affordable for all. Please consider donating today to keep Crossroads Fund at the forefront in the fight for racial, social and economic justice!

Thu, Dec 27, 2018

Photo by Andrew Gill/WBEZ

According to the Chicago Tribune, 552 people have been killed in the city of Chicago in 2018. Gun violence has resulted in, at least, 428 of those deaths, which are concentrated largely within Black communities on the south and west sides. These statistics do not take into account the thousands of people who have been injured, but not killed, by gun violence. In the face of this horrifying reality, Ujimaa Medics, this week’s featured grantee, is taking a stand.

Ujimaa Medics (UMedics) was founded in 2014 to address the lethal combination of gun violence, long ambulance response times, and lack of accessible trauma centers that plagues the South Side. In their own words, UMedics seeks, “to address racial health disparities that are the result of centuries of oppression, terrorism, state-sanctioned violence, and generational trauma that Black people in the US are still coping with.” Toward this end, UMedics educates community members about bystander first - aid to respond to urban crisis situations. Their trainings include basic medical procedures to help stabilize the injured before the ambulance arrives, crowd-management techniques, and tips on effectively talking with paramedics and police once they arrive on the scene.

Since UMedics inception, they have held more than 100 workshops and trained 1,000+ individuals. Their incredible work has resulted in five gunshot victims receiving onsite first-aid. UMedics also prepares people to respond to asthma attacks and has plans to expand their work to include mental health and diabetes workshops. And, to affect broader systems change, their base-building focuses on health care advocacy and direct action for health justice in marginalized Black communities. Once again, in their own words:

We believe that by equipping community members with life-saving skills, accurate health information, confidence, and using every workshop to lift up the healing traditions of African-descendants and the indigenous people of this land called North America, we are creating conditions for moving our people toward self-determined health.


An end-of-the-year gift to Crossroads Fund will enable us to continue supporting Ujimaa Medics and others who courageously and creatively strive to save, lift up, and empower their communities. Please consider donating today to keep Crossroads Fund at the forefront in the fight for racial, social and economic justice!

Thu, Dec 13, 2018

A protester at the Families Belong Together March in Chicago. Photo by Sarah-Ji

Throughout the month of December, we are sending a series of emails featuring grantee profiles. In our most recent grant cycle, we funded 120 amazing grantees doing truly important work. This week the spotlight is on Northern Illinois Justice for our Neighbors (NIJFON), a Rockford-based organization that advocates for immigration laws that are just, humane and righteous.

Crossing the border is not a choice for migrants but a necessity as they are forced to leave their countries due to violence, persecution, human rights violations, and extreme poverty (the role that the US has played in the destabilization of Central and South America cannot be overlooked). The trip itself is dangerous and there is no guarantee of entry into the US. The situation has worsened under President Trump, whose anti-immigration stance has resulted in the implementation of truly horrifying policy: separating and detaining families at the border; putting migrant children in detention camps; limiting the number of asylum seekers allowed to enter the US each day; increasing military presence at the border; and, most recently, firing tear gas at men, women and children who are seeking asylum.

NIJFON, whose mission is to provide free, high-quality immigration legal service, engage in education and advocacy, and build cross-cultural-communities, is vitally important in the face of the current administration’s crackdown against migrants and asylum-seekers. NIJFON’s education and advocacy occurs primarily through church and community settings with a focus on migrants’ rights. They have lobbied the governor and legislators on refugee rights and for the creation of a sanctuary state in Illinois, and organized in-district meetings with state and federal legislators. NIJFON is a necessary watchdog for a system that is run by private, for-profit detention facilities and overseen by an inhumane judicial system.


An end-of-the-year gift to Crossroads Fund will enable us to continue supporting NIJFON and others who are fighting against deportations, detention, criminalization, and the incarceration of immigrant communities. Please consider a gift of any amount today to keep Crossroads Fund at the forefront in the fight for racial, social and economic justice!

Fri, Dec 07, 2018

Crossroads Fund awarded a Critical Response Fund grant to March to the Polls: Women's March Chicago to support logistical dimensions of the march and targeted outreach to communities of color. (photo credit: Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times)

The present administration in Washington D.C. is doing all in its power to trample human rights at every level. Each day the news reports another incredible round of hate and fear mongering. There is no question that the Right has gone too far and that we need to stand firm in our efforts to dismantle systems that have only been used to subjugate people of color, native and indigenous communities, women, LGBTQ people, and the poor. We need to use every tool in our organizing toolbox to fight back against an emboldened white supremacist ideology that is destroying us.

The ballot box is one of those tools. This election cycle we have a new wave of progressive candidates that includes women of color and LGBTQ people. At the same time, voter suppression is high, and there are millions of people who are systemically disenfranchised from their rightful process.

Tuesday, November 6, there are elections in Illinois and all across the country. If you can vote, please do. And no matter the outcome, we all need to hold our elected officials accountable, regardless of party affiliation.

That is why Crossroads Fund supports activists throughout Chicago who are building organizations, coalitions, and campaigns that push our government and institutions to make our city and our nation more just and equitable for everyone. We fund people who demand change and know that elected officials serve the people. Our grantees are working day in and day out – during elections cycles and the time in-between.

No matter what the results are at the polls on Tuesday, our work isn’t done.

Last year, we granted over $1 million to movements for racial, social, and economic justice in Chicago.

Partner with us right now to help grant even more this year. It will matter today, tomorrow, and for our future.

Mon, Nov 05, 2018


Crossroads Fund is excited to announce that we made more than $1 million in grants to 120 powerful grassroots organizations in our most recently completed fiscal year, ending June 30th.

It's the most we've given in a single year - ever!

By pooling resources from over 1,000 donors and engaging in a community-driven grantmaking process, Crossroads Fund was able to deliver more resources to the organizers and activists who are reimagining and realizing the just Chicago that we deserve.

Chicago's organizing ecosystem is thriving, and we want to celebrate this with you. Thank you for helping to make $1 million in grants possible. 

  Crossroads Fund Staff  


Since 1981, Crossroads Fund has served as an anchor organization for movement building across the city by moving money for grassroots organizers working at the intersections of racial, social, and economic justice in Chicago. Since day one, we have been committed to using a community grantmaking model to fund bold organizing that is led by people directly impacted by issues of injustice.

Click here to learn about the work of our 2018 grantees.

Wed, Sep 05, 2018