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PHOTO: Organized Communities Against Deportations holds a press conference announcing a community-led class-action lawsuit against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department for the use of the Gang Database that violates people's constitutional rights. 

“We need to be talking about Jeff Sessions and his role criminalizing parents, and the role of ICE in putting people in detention to begin with. People need to shift from saying keep families together to talking about dismantling ICE.” - Tania Unzueta, an organizer with the immigrant justice group Mijente.


Like you, we're indignant about the human rights violations the current administration is enforcing along the southern border. This week we’ve seen families with children as young as a few months old being separated, detained, and prosecuted in mass trials and heard the rhetoric that they don't deserve to be treated with humanity or concern. 

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the beginning of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. The policy calls for the prosecution of anyone who enters the United States illegally, including asylum seekers who do not come in through the designated ports of entry. This resulted in parents and children being separated at the border and detained in separate facilities, sometimes in different states. Some parents have already been deported without any information about when or if they will see their children again. After political pressure from around the world, the President called a press conference where he boasted about a new executive order to end the separation of families at the border. What we know is that within the executive order there are no plans to release migrants from detention centers. In fact, the order further criminalizes immigrants, holding them indefinitely, separating families, and causing irreparable generational trauma. The “zero tolerance” policy is still in effect and over 2,500 children that have already been separated from their parents may never be reunited.

The inhumane practices by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) didn’t start with this policy change. In May, Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, a 20-year old immigrant from Guatemala was shot and killed by a Texas Border patrol agent when she crossed into Texas. Roxana Hernández, a trans woman from Honduras, died from HIV-related complications after being put in what is known as an “ICE box;” a holding area with freezing temperatures. This enforcement isn’t isolated along the southern border.

In Illinois there have been escalating operations of mass raids. PASO - West Suburban Action Project has received calls from families trying to locate people in any of the seven detention centers around Chicago. Organized Communities Against Deportations are managing an increase in calls from their Family Support Hotline 1-855-435-7693.

Now is not the time to be complacent. We need to continue to fight against these horrible policies. At Crossroads Fund we support groups who are fighting against deportations, detention, criminalization, and the incarceration of Black, brown, and immigrant communities. Here are some organizations to whom you can make a gift and actions you can take.



The Fronterizo Fianza Fund is a community bond (fianza) fund run by the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, based in El Paso-Ciudad Juárez. Donate here.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides free and low-cost legal services to under-served immigrant children, families and refugees. Donate here.

Families Belong Together Chicago March: A coalition of organizations are organizing a mass march on Saturday, June 30th. More info here.

Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is hosting a teach-in about the Chicago Gang-Database and how it is used as a loophole by the Chicago Police Department to collaborate with ICE. Register here.

Mijente, a national Latinx organization invites people interested in taking direct action, becoming a social media ambassador, fundraising or lending organizational resources to answer their call to action. Info here.

PASO - West Suburban Action Project urges residents to call the governor's office at (217) 782-7355 and ask him to sign all  immigrant protection bills coming to his desk in the next couple of weeks, especially Immigration Safe Zones Act (SB35), a bill that directly begins to address this issue in IL.

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights promotes the best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children with due regard to the child’s expressed wishes, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and state and federal law. Sign up to volunteer here.







As a public foundation, Crossroads Fund raises the funds for the grants we make. Crossroads Fund relies on support of individuals to fund movement organizing in Chicago. Build stronger movements for racial, social, and economic justice by making a gift today.

Thu, Jun 21, 2018


My name is Teresa Garcia and I’m a sustaining donor at Crossroads Fund. Sustainers give a fixed amount monthly, quarterly or annually. I want to share why I support Crossroads Fund and invite you to join me.   

In the world we live in today, there are so many things that seem to be falling apart. Sadly, one of those things is Chicago Public Schools. Being a parent, I see day-to-day how much CPS teachers give to our kids. But I also see the city of Chicago taking from our teachers and our schools – closed schools, dirty schools, insufficient funding, inadequate resources…the list goes on and on. It is terrible to witness. Thankfully, I also see Crossroads Fund actively supporting organizations that are fighting the powers that be and taking them to task so that our youth have a fair playing field.

By giving to Crossroads Fund you get more bang for your buck, because you are not just supporting one thing; you are supporting a multitude of movements, organizations and ideas that, when they come together, have a powerful impact on our community. If you give to Crossroads Fund you are also giving to youth, you are giving to schools, and you are giving to teachers.

Will you join me in supporting the necessary work of Crossroads Fund by making an end of fiscal year gift? Please consider a one-time gift of any amount or sign up to join a community of sustaining donors.

Donate Now

Thank you for your attention.

In Solidarity,

Teresa Garcia


Crossroads Fund grantees are fighting on the frontlines for a just education system. Here is one recent example.

Raise Your Hand, a group that advocates for quality public education, was part of the special education advocates coalition that called for a public inquiry into CPS special education practices by the Illinois State Board of Education. They fought to hold CPS accountable for their actions by organizing and interviewing parents, educators, and students. Their efforts ultimately revealed a series of violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In May the Illinois State Board of Education concluded that CPS violated federal law and recommended a three-year monitoring process. Crossroads Fund has supported Raise Your Hand for many years and also provided a Critical Response Fund grant for their special education work. The Critical Response Fund is rapid response money to protect, empower and support community members in this time of heightened racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and xenophobia.

With only 3 weeks left to the end our fiscal year, your support ensures that we end the year strong to continue to support grantees making transformational change in our city all year round.

Make a Gift Today!

Wed, Jun 13, 2018

On behalf of Crossroads Fund board members and staff, thank you to our attendees, host committee, and sponsors for making our annual fundraiser a success!

Seeds of Change was a night of rejuvenation, community, and resistance. The Crossroads Fund annual benefit, held on Friday, April 6, convened a record number of supporters at the landmark Chicago Cultural Center. The event included a silent auction with over 150 items, Mediterranean-inspired food by Big Delicious Planet, and beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Big Change Endowment Campaign Update. Crossroads Fund Executive Director Jeanne Kracher reported that the Big Change Endowment campaign surpassed its goal of $2 million and has raised $2.25 million. Kracher said, "This campaign was made possible by you, Chicago's activists and organizers. Thank you. Crossroads Fund will now be able to give more grants to more organizations and support more movement building across Chicago." The campaign is now complete but you can still contribute to the endowment.

$1,000,000 in Grants. Emmanuel Garcia, Development and Communications Manager, announced that for the first time in Crossroads Fund's history, the organization is projected to grant over $1,000,000. Jane Kimondo, Program Director, said, "This exciting moment for Crossroads Fund would not be possible without the generosity of the more than 1,000 people who donate annually to support movements for racial, social, and economic justice. Thank you." Please stay in touch with Crossroads Fund for future announcements on this unprecedented achievement.

Protecting Immigrants. PASO – West Suburban Action Project roused the crowd with their chants, “Si se puede!” The suburban immigrant rights group was honored with the Ron Sable Award for Activism for their strategic and sophisticated work in the policy arena and their compassionate and loving approach to building movements.

Preserving History. Sylvia Fischer and Fannie Rushing, PhD, accepted the Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice on behalf of the Chicago Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) History Project. The ninety-nine year old Sylvia Fischer inspired and delighted the audience by taking the stage to thank Crossroads Fund for their continued support in making SNCC's work possible. The equally electrifying Fannie Rushing spoke of the legacy of SNCC but also to the parallel struggles of the 1960s and now. Dr. Rushing powerfully reminded the crowd that the symbol for the freedom struggle is a raised fist and not Hollywood's capitalistic symbols from mythical superheroes.

Holding Police Accountable for Violence.  The Chicago Torture Justice Campaign accepted the Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award for their organizing over 30-year struggle to obtain justice and redress for the 120 African-American men and women subjected to racially-motivated torture from 1972 to 1991. Survivor Anthony Holmes and attorney Joey Mogul accepted the award on behalf of the many survivors, family members, activists, and organizers who successfully won a Reparations Ordinance from the City of Chicago in 2015.

Thanks to our 2018 Seeds of Change Event Sponsors.

See the full list of supporters here.


Chicago SNCC History Project 

Chicago Torture Justice Campaign


(credit: Sarah-Ji)


Wed, Apr 11, 2018

Photo from Young Cultural Stewards Fellowship program

Crossroads Fund is committed to supporting youth-led organizing and we are excited to award $84,500 in grants to twenty-four organizations through our Youth Fund for Social Change (Youth Fund). The 2018 Youth Fund cycle marks the 10th anniversary of the fund and the most money awarded in a single cycle since its inception in 2008.

Right now, the strongest voices for change across the country are young people who are leading movements for gun control, immigrant rights, education justice, and an end to police brutality. These visionary young people are part of a long legacy of resistance movements throughout history who refuse to be silent when facing injustice.

In Chicago, there is a vibrant history of youth-led movements, such as the Chicago Freedom Day Public School Boycott in October 1963, the Coalition for Positive Sexuality's support of LGBTQ young people and campaigns for honest and comprehensive sex education and condom distribution in the 1990s, the community-rooted youth-organizing of the Southwest Youth Collaborative in the 1990s and 2000s, the 2010 launch of the Immigrant Youth Justice League's "Coming Out of the Shadows" as undocumented and unafraid campaign, and the Fearless Leading by the Youth's (FLY) organizing victory to open a trauma center on Chicago's Southside in 2015. Today, young people continue to lead complex and intersectional movements for racial, social, and economic justice.

Thank you for supporting the first ten years of the Youth Fund for Social Change! Let's continue to support youth leaders in our communities.


About the Youth Fund for Social Change

The Youth Fund for Social Change supports youth activists who are leading efforts to change and challenge existing policies and/or organized structures that prevent their communities from achieving justice.

The Youth Fund provides funding for youth-led activism and gives grantmaking power to youth leaders. Crossroads Fund believes that the people who best understand the issues at hand should participate in our funding decisions, which is why Youth Fund grant decisions are made by a committee of current and former Youth Fund grantees who convene, review grant proposals, conduct site visits, and make the formal funding recommendation to Crossroads Fund’s Board of Directors.

Since 2008, Crossroads Fund has given over $500,000 to support over 80 organizations through the Youth Fund. These grants are made possible by donors and foundations who have pooled their resources to build vibrant youth-directed movements for racial, social, and economic justice in Chicago. These donors and foundations include Girl’s Best Friends Foundation (initial seed money to establish the Youth Fund), the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation, Cathy Cohen Black Youth Fund, the Cricket Island Foundation, donors to the Vernita Gray Fund, a gift from the estate of Jean Hardisty, a generous anonymous donor, and hundreds of individual donors.

 2018 Youth Fund for Social Change Grantees

A Long Walk Home uses art to educate, mobilize, and empower young people to end violence against girls and women. The grant will support the development of an art-based curriculum that includes youth-led art campaigns development, lesson plans on gender based violence prevention, reproductive health, state and police brutality prevention, parent engagement, youth leadership, and self-care activities.


About Face Youth Theatre is a theatre, activism, and leadership development program offered free of charge to LGBTQI+ and allied youth, ages 13-24. The grant will provide general operating support for their 2018 Education and Outreach activities, which include a full youth-led artistic performance, and education in schools and other institutions throughout the city. 


Alliance of the Southeast brings together youth from schools, churches, and after-school programs on the Southeast side of Chicago to address issues they have identified around reducing neighborhood violence. This year, their Youth Team will host a community event focused on peace and will also partner with other youth organizing campaigns around the city, while building their own leadership skills.


The Youth Leadership Team at the Arab American Action Network runs a youth-led campaign to end racial profiling as it affects the Arab and Muslim communities. The ultimate goal is to end the use of Suspicious Activity Reports by law enforcement as well as  prevent the implementation of the up-and-coming Countering Violent Extremism program. 


Assata’s Daughters’ programming works with girls aged 4-12, and is inspired by Assata Shakur and her revolutionary politics and love of Black people. Youth participate in workshops that teach them about power and oppression, and help them understand their role in a long history of Black freedom fighting.  The grant will support them in building a similar program for young men and boys.


Blocks Together serves the West Humboldt Park community on Chicago's Westside. The grant supports their Village Keepers program which provides trauma informed restorative justice training and mentoring for youth and adults in the community. After the training, these leaders become first responders and restorative justice practitioners in local schools and in the community.


Chicago Freedom School provides training and education for young people and adult allies to create a just world. The grant will support their youth-led action projects, their Freedom Fellows program and Project HealUs where youth explore, engage, and expand the work of the reproductive justice movement within their communities. 


The Young Cultural Steward Fellowship is a youth arts program operated by the Chicago Park District. This youth-led initiative cultivates young people (ages 12-15) as caretakers of culture and agents of change within their parks and neighborhoods. Youth explore the meaning of culture and community in relation to issues impacting their communities such as immigration, gentrification, police brutality, and decolonizing schools.


Circles & 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 actions, they collectively heal and work to bring about the abolition of the prison-industrial complex. The grant will support their Morse Avenue Young Men’s Group, which meets weekly to provide a space for young men to grow fluent in the practices and principles of restorative justice.  


This Youth Fund Convening Grant supported the Martin Luther King Day Youth Gathering, "Setting Our Own Mountaintops", provided a safe space for youth organizers to build relationships and shared work. The gathering included relationship-building activities; small group discussions; multiple workshops (including restorative justice peace circles, tools and strategies for activism, youth experience of homelessness, anti-oppression, wellness and healing, youth detention in Palestine and Chicago, the experience of undocumented youth, and using theater to ignite action), and a final presentation by youth participants. 


The HANA Center's youth council, Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH), is conducting the second phase of its Decolonize CPS Curriculum campaign. The focus is on trainings to strengthen organizing to increase the number of schools implementing the new syllabi and educate key policymakers in the CPS system to increase the number schools that are implementing the new syllabi. 


The Illinois Safe School Alliance works to promote safety, support and healthy development for LGBTQ youth in Illinois schools and communities, through advocacy, education, youth organizing and research. The grant will support Action Camp, a five full days sleep away camp for both current and prospective LGBTQ+ middle and high school leaders focused on youth organizing, body positivity, anti-oppression, non-punitive conflict resolution, and trauma awareness. 


Imagine Englewood If's "The Growing Citizen Leaders" program in the Greater Englewood community fosters an environment where youth analyze the connection between systemic discrimination and current situations in their own neighborhood. This unique youth leadership program empowers teens through trainings, activities, and workshops to become change agents in the community. 


In the upcoming year ONE Northside's youth will participate in the fight for more transparent police union contracts, and the passage and implementation of an ordinance instituting community oversight of the police.  The youth who lead these efforts play active roles in determining goals and strategy for citywide police accountability coalitions and ensure that those most impacted by police violence are building a Chicago police department accountable to the community.



The Pilsen Alliance Youth Committee gives young people in the Pilsen community the space to devise, build and implement their own initiatives in Pilsen. The youth committee enables young people to have a voice in the current struggles and organizing efforts being carried out by Pilsen Alliance, including the campaign to lift the ban on rent control and the fight to keep schools open. The grant will support them in hiring a part-time organizer to expand and support this work. 


Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation engages at-risk and court-involved young men, aged 14-24, who reside in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago. They are a longtime leader in practicing and providing training in restorative justice work. The grant will support trained youth leaders in coordinating restorative justice trainings for youth from other neighborhoods with a collective visioned geared to youth safety.


{she crew} is a multidisciplinary journaling/performance empowerment program for girls in Chicago ages 12-18. Their year-round, free leadership development programs focus on social justice, writing, collaborative skills, and empowerment. The grant will support them in: expanding SHE CAST, Chicago’s for-youth-by youth podcast tackling issues that affect youth, and their summer programing.


Solidarity Studios aims to empower disconnected communities facing similar 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. This year, they are expanding their programming by opening a new site at the Arab American Action Network, and commissioning a Solidarity Studios alum who is a youth organizer and practicing musician as an Artist in Residence. 


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


The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) is partnering with the Export Quality Collective, a group of 12 young Filipinx creatives, to create a series of videos illustrating some of the intricacies of identity resulting from the Philippines’ history of colonization and immigration. The series will engage the Chicago Filipinx community in critical dialogues on topics such as gender identity, queerness, immigration, and mental healh.


The Warehouse Project and Gallery is based in Summit, Illinois, an area with limited youth activism. They use various forms of arts to enable youth to find their voice and demand changes to policies that discriminate the largely immigrant population. The grant will support them in creating a traveling performance piece on youth homelessness, gender identity issues, mental health supports, and combatting racism and oppression within their schools. 


Universidad Popular’s youth program empowers youth to become change inducing actors in their community by helping them define peace in Little Village. The youth-led campaign will identify "hotspots" of crime and violence in the community, then work to improve these spaces with art and attention, and finally engage residents to visit the artwork and engage in meaningful discussions on the policy changes needed to address the root causes that propagate these "hotspots".


YEPP seeks a safe environment for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness to explore their history, investigate new ways to address their struggles, and celebrate their strengths through the process of developing a theatrical performance piece. They use harm reduction, trauma-informed practices, transformative and restorative justice, popular education, and Theater of the Oppressed throughout their process. 


Youth Outlook supports LGBTQ youth in west suburbs  of DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb and the surrounding areas by providing youth organizing training, drop in centers, parents engagement and community education workshops that counteract heterosexism and homophobia in the region.

Tue, Mar 20, 2018

Cecile Carroll is the co-director of Blocks Together, a community organization dedicated to leadership development and grassroots organizing in the West Humboldt Park community. Cecile has been organizing for over a decade in low-income Chicago communities. In 2008, she was appointed to serve on the Illinois General Assembly’s Chicago Educational Facilities Taskforce to help to create legislation and to create a new process for Chicago Public Schools long term planning. She also serves as vice chair on the editorial board of Catalyst magazine. In 2013, she was awarded the Emerging Leadership Chicago Community Trust Fellowship where she was offered the opportunity to study other low income communities across the country doing community organizing around participatory planning. She has a Masters in Not Profit Management from Spertus Institute and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Blocks Together’s mission is to build a grassroots community infrastructure governed from the bottom up, which provides resources, leadership development and sustained focused efforts to achieve widespread improvements for the community and advance economic and social justice.

Blocks Together is part of the national revival of The Poor People's Campaign, leading it here in Chicago. Why did you join the campaign and why do you think it matters in this moment?

With the state budget crisis, one of the things that continues to happen across Illinois and Chicago is the elimination of human services that impact people living in poverty. I’m thinking about the budget cuts in Chicago Public Schools, the cuts in mental health care, the high unemployment, joblessness, and underemployment. We also continue to see the mismanagement of public funds and how our state is prioritizing affluent communities at the expense of lower income communities. On top of what's happening at the city and state levels, federal cuts and policies continue to impact the poor in this country.

Working to address poverty is about being able to state clearly that the biggest tax is on poor people and poor people are the ones being sacrificed when the government created a financial crisis. We are the ones who are overtaxed and under-resourced. Poor people are not the ones to blame for financial mismanagement and we shouldn’t be feeling the brunt of the cuts.

Blocks Together sees the opportunity around a people’s agenda to address poverty by connecting issues and people that usually don't connect. The campaign is creating an agenda that crosscuts around issues and can hold more elected officials accountable to how their votes are continuing to hurt poor people.

This May is the 50th anniversary of the original Poor People’s Campaign. We want to show that that we may have so much at stake and how important it is to address the policies that keep people impoverished.

You do a variety of organizing work across the city, including the Westside and Englewood, where you live. Why do you think it's important for people to organize in a community where they live and they call home?

With organizing, I think having solidarity with the community is important. With my work at Blocks Together, and the other work I do, many times I come to this point where I ask myself, do I keep going even though this doesn't look winnable? What I know is when you are intimately connected to the work and it matters to your own survival, you definitely approach the work from a place of more endurance. You are going to be more innovative, creative, and go the long-haul with a specific strategy, plan, or campaign. Not to say that organizers can’t do that in a community where they don't have a connection but I know there's just something about seeing yourself in that community that will make you go the long-haul and make you be more creative when it comes to thinking about how to create a victory.

Could you expand a little bit on what you think solidarity means?

An important aspect to solidarity is validating people's experiences and their perspective. When we are organizing around school issues, we often see people not validating personal experience. We will organize around some of the intentional policies and structures that negatively impact students and we will bump into this resistance from folks who say things like: “We don't believe that.” “Are you sure?” “There must be something else to it.” or “Where’s the personal responsibility?”  You cannot take away the authentic experience of the people from these communities just because you don't think it's realistic. An organizer has to meet people where they are, truly listen, and don’t try to challenge when people state what their experience is. You cannot minimize it, dismiss it, make it seem like it's something that they can get over, or act like that’s just the way that it is and the way that it will be. Some of the words that describe being in solidarity with community are compassion, trust, and understanding. To be in solidarity means to uplift experiences and the need to address those experiences.

How did you come into movement work and why do you think that work is important?

I started to do movement work towards the end of my college career. I really felt connected to and wanted to make changes to the world that I saw. Organizing doesn't really do social services per se but organizing is more about everyone doing their part to challenge systems. If a system or institution is biased or set-up to penalize others for race, class, or gender, then you are always going to need change to that system.

What do you think Crossroad Fund's role is in movement work? Do you think there’s a role for the organization that's more than just funding?

I’ve been connected to Crossroads Fund for about ten years. What I appreciate is how Crossroads Fund reviews how community organization’s processes work and how intentional these organizations are about engaging those who are directly impacted and creating the space for collective work. Because Crossroads Fund is so intentional about that, they have been able to elevate great campaign work that’s happening in this city by supporting it with funds, connecting groups that are leading grassroots movement work, and highlighting movements that do not receive the spotlight or are not in the political conversations in Chicago but should be.

Tue, Feb 27, 2018