$1.5 Million in Grants Available for Grassroots Organizations in 24 Chicago Neighborhoods Experiencing Most Violence

The Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities’ 2022 Chicago Fund will award $1,000 to $10,000 grants to support community-led efforts that make neighborhoods safer

CHICAGO—It may be the middle of winter, but grassroots organizations in Chicago communities hardest hit by gun violence are already gearing up for summer as they continue working on ways to make their neighborhoods safer. A Chicago coalition of over 50 funders called the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC) is encouraging these groups to apply now for financial support from its 2022 Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities (Chicago Fund).

“Chicago’s South and West sides are filled with small organizations that are taking care of their neighbors, keeping neighborhoods safe and helping people feel more connected to each other,” said Deborah Bennett, senior program officer for Polk Bros. Foundation and member of PSPC. “These organizations know what it takes to strengthen their communities. They need more resources.” 

The 2022 Chicago Fund will award up to $1.5 million in rapid-response grants, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, for summer and early fall activities in 24 Chicago neighborhoods experiencing high levels of gun violence. Grants can be used to support a range of community-led programs and events that help create conditions necessary for the prevention and reduction of violence, including COVID-safe block parties, digital media initiatives, community garden events, peer mentoring projects, back-to-school supply giveaways, and more. 

“Our youth showed up every day last summer, and participated in all of our activities from hooping, gardening, mural painting, to weekly therapy sessions. They created their own events, too, and invited their peers,” said Mekazin Alexander, founder of Earl’s Garden Mae’s Kitchen which received a Chicago Fund grant in 2020 and 2021. “We know that we are building future leaders and are appreciative of the funding we receive to make that happen.”

The Chicago Fund is one of four anchor strategies supported by PSPC, a coalition of funders launched in 2016 by several Chicago-area foundations in direct response to a significant spike in gun violence. Since its founding, the collaborative has grown to more than 50 members — including many Chicago-area foundations and funders — and has committed more than $90 million in grantmaking to support community-led, evidence-based solutions to addressing gun violence.

Since 2016, PSPC’s Chicago Fund has awarded $5.2 million toward 824 projects in 21 predominantly Black and Latinx communities. This marks the seventh year PSPC’s Chicago Fund will support and amplify the efforts of people in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence to bring residents together, provide secure spaces and create the sense of connectedness needed to make communities safe. 

“We’ve heard from many grant recipients that the Chicago Fund plays a critical role in growing their ability to provide hyper-local, culturally competent interventions that disrupt violence in their communities,” said Anna Lee, senior director of community impact for The Chicago Community Trust and PSPC member.

Organizations with annual operating budgets no larger than $500,000, a valid 501(c)3 designation or a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)3 designation, and which are working in the following communities are invited to apply: Auburn Gresham, Austin, Burnside, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, West Englewood, Fuller Park, Gage Park, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side (Pilsen), New City (Back of the Yards), North Lawndale, South Lawndale (Little Village), Riverdale, Roseland, South Chicago, South Shore, Washington Park, West Pullman and/or Woodlawn.

“What we know about community presence is that when we are in an area, crime falls. So we make sure that our presence is felt,” said Lyana L. Funches, managing director of Think Outside Da Block in this video produced by Nerdy Media with support from the Chicago Fund. Since 2019, grants from the Chicago Fund have supported Think Outside Da Block’s Roll in Peace event, a critical mass bike ride in Englewood that uses cycling to address the mental health and wellness of residents of the Englewood community. 

Applicants to the 2022 Chicago Fund are strongly encouraged, but not required, to propose activities that adhere to the Seven Field Principles model, an evidence-based framework that has been successful in fostering strong communities and reducing violence. For more information, see “Dr. Carl Bell’s Keys to Reducing Violence and Re-Engaging Youth to Society.”

A virtual technical assistance session to help guide organizations through the application process will be held on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at 10am. Attending this session is not a requirement to apply for funding. Anyone interested in attending should register in advance

More details about this grant opportunity and how to apply are included in the full RFP

Applications for 2022 Chicago Fund grants are due by 11:59pm on March 11, 2022, and grant awards will be announced in April 2022 and distributed in May 2022. The application for funding is available at https://community-cct.force.com/grantcentral/s/

 

Visit the PSPC Chicago Fund website to learn more.