CHICAGO (August 18, 2021) – Ten efforts working toward Chicago’s equitable recovery will receive $2.8 million as part of Polk Bros. Foundation’s increased FY21 grantmaking. Another 79 organizations will receive $8.955 million in the Foundation’s ongoing grantmaking toward efforts to strengthen Chicago communities and families, increase access to quality education and the arts, improve health, and strengthen organizations and the sectors in which they work.
This is the fourth set of grants made from the Foundation’s significantly increased FY21 grantmaking announced in August 2020, focused on helping Chicago recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that addresses persistent and significant racial inequities. These grants, approved during the August 2021 meeting of Polk Bros. Foundation’s Board of Trustees, bring the total of the Foundation’s increased FY21 grantmaking to $8.23 million in support of 26 efforts, and the total of the Foundation’s regular FY21 grantmaking to $25.3 million. Read more news about our increased grantmaking for Chicago’s equitable recovery.
In its August meeting, the Polk Bros. Foundation’s Board also decided the Foundation’s increased grantmaking for Chicago’s equitable recovery will continue for a second year, adding $8.5 million to the foundation’s FY22 grantmaking, and bringing the total of its increased grantmaking across both years to $17 million.
$300,000 total ($100,000 each) to HIRE360, Chicago Women in Trades, and Revolution Workshop for workforce development programs, including through the We Can Build It Consortium, designed to help residents of Chicago’s south and west sides get trained in and enter the construction trades.
“By working with its We Can Build It Coalition partners to build a pipeline to help local residents access union jobs in the construction industry, a field notoriously inaccessible to BIPOC jobseekers, the Obama Presidential Center will extend its impact beyond its own construction to other major developments in Chicago.”
Gillian Darlow, CEO, Polk Bros. Foundation
“Housing stability and employment success are interdependent. This pilot has the potential to move the homeless response sector from a workforce approach reliant on individual relationships to systems-level coordination with workforce providers. The goal is to ensure that people who are experiencing homelessness have the supports they need to get the jobs they want.”
Debbie Reznick, Senior Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation
“North Lawndale has suffered decades of intentional disinvestment and wealth extraction due to a history of racial discrimination in both public policies and institutional practices, including contract buying, a predatory scheme that stripped Black homeowners of wealth. This condition has created an environment where violence flourishes. There is growing recognition that even proven violence-reduction strategies are insufficient to create sustainable change in communities if spread too thin. Scaled and coordinated violence-reduction strategies, combined with complementary neighborhood investments guided by a community-driven public safety plan, have the potential to bring about neighborhood transformation.”
Deborah Bennett, Senior Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation
“It is important not to let post-COVID, post-civil unrest events drive the criminal legal system back to its prior unjust inertia. Justice 20/20 presents the opportunity to rally collective power and build on the momentum created by the pandemic and protests to effectively implement the SAFE-T Act and identify additional policies and practices that will address the inequities in the criminal legal system.”
Deborah Bennett, Senior Program Officer, and Kim Nguyen, Program Assistant, Polk Bros. Foundation
“CPS teaching assistants who already support student learning can increase their effectiveness through training for one-on-one tutoring, which can lead to important academic gains. UChicago Impact’s initiative will position teaching assistants to work directly with students in early grades to ensure they acquire the building blocks they will need to be successful readers as they progress in school.”
Suzanne Doornbos Kerbow, Program Director for Education, Polk Bros. Foundation
“Coming out of the pandemic, the arts education sector has an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a more equitable and effective arts education system in Chicago. Nonprofit partners are a critical component of the arts education ecosystem in Chicago, and the last two years have been immensely difficult for arts nonprofits. This is an important opportunity to engage this critical constituency in order to understand how artlook and other sector resources can serve them best.”
JC Aevaliotis, Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation
“While the United States boasts the latest in medical technology, the fastest acquisition of vaccines, and large investments in some health facilities, the disparities in access and quality of care are impossible to ignore. The Health First Collaborative’s pilots have great potential to change components of the healthcare system that perpetuate inequity.”
Divya Mohan Little, Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation
“The overwhelming majority of Americans remain unaware of how and why racial segregation happened and its present-day implications. Without such knowledge, people have embraced timeworn racial tropes handed down over generations — such as that African Americans chose to segregate themselves and that they created the troubling conditions that exist in disinvested communities today. In the wake of last year’s historic protests surrounding police brutality and the racial health disparities exposed by the pandemic, Americans everywhere have been jolted into recognizing the persistence of racial disparities and have demonstrated a desire to understand systemic racism and how it can be dismantled. Shame of Chicago will help people better understand that because inequitable, racist policies created the present, anti-racist polices are needed to create a more equitable future.”
Deborah Bennett, Senior Program Officer, Polk Bros. Foundation
“The groups involved in CYMA are committed to centering the needs and agency of Black and Brown youth in Chicago as they navigate trauma and survival before, during and after this current pandemic. They have a deep understanding of the importance of designing the work around relationships, harm reduction and low barrier services. CYMA brings in new ways of working together on how to meet immediate needs while also building up the infrastructure and capacity for long-term survival and networks of care.”
Debbie Reznick, Senior Program Officer, and Kim Nguyen, Program Assistant, Polk Bros. Foundation
“Forefront’s Racial Equity Collective will provide a strong backbone that can help coordinate and sustainably advance racial equity across our region’s large nonprofit sector.”
Evette M. Cardona, Vice President of Programs, Polk Bros. Foundation
Learn More about our Increased FY21 Equitable Recovery Grantmaking