Chicago Funder Coalition Announces “Rapid-Response” Grant Opportunity to Support a Safe & Peaceful Summer

The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities will Provide $1 Million to Organizations in
21 Neighborhoods

The Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC) today announced it is accepting applications for the 2021 Chicago Fund, which will provide $1 million in grants to South and West Side nonprofit organizations proactively working toward strengthening neighborhoods by reducing gun violence, particularly as it spikes during Chicago’s summer and early fall months.

Through a “rapid-response” process designed to receive and review short proposals, the Fund will quickly award grants ranging from $1,000-$10,000 to small, community-based nonprofits engaging in activities designed to build community cohesion and promote safety and peace. Applications are open through 11:59pm on March 1. Grant awards will be announced in April.

The Fund is an integral part of the overall strategy of PSPC, a coalition of more than 50 local foundations and funders aligning their grantmaking to support proven approaches to reducing gun violence. PSPC was launched in 2016 in direct response to a spike in gun violence that garnered national attention. In 2020, when COVID-19 stay-at-home orders threatened summer plans for small community groups, the Fund adapted to continue supporting organizations creating the conditions necessary for peace with safe, socially distanced summer and fall activities. The 2020 Chicago Fund supported 164 organizations serving 21 predominantly Black and Latinx communities.

“The Fund supports the ideas and actions of Chicagoans most impacted by gun violence,” said Deborah Bennett, senior program officer at Polk Bros. Foundation, a PSPC member. “It is purposely intended to provide targeted support to smaller, neighborhood organizations engaged in activities that build trust and foster cooperation among residents to crowd out violence during the summer, when there is often a spike.”

Organizations working in the following communities are invited to apply: Auburn Gresham, Austin, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, West Englewood, 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), Roseland, South Chicago, South Shore, Washington Park, West Pullman
and Woodlawn.

Qualifying nonprofits must have a valid 501(c)3 designation or a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)3 designation whose goals are consistent with those of the Fund, supporting grassroots, community-based solutions making Chicago neighborhoods safer. Organizations should have annual operating budgets no larger than $500,000 and be engaged in activities that build community cohesion and promote safety and peace. Applicants should also provide detailed plans on how proposed programming will comply with COVID-19 guidelines, including safety protocols, technical assistance or other resources needed to comply with local health and safety guidelines. Full details are in the RFP.

“Against the backdrop of COVID-19, so many organizations reimagined their programming — not only to keep communities safe, but also to spread accurate information about the virus, and to incorporate mutual aid and food distribution programs that would help address long standing disinvestment that communities have experienced,” said Anna Lee, director of community impact for The Chicago Community Trust, a PSPC member. “With the 2021 Fund, we believe we can help direct additional resources toward Chicagoans to help heal their communities.”

Applicants are also strongly encouraged, but not required, to propose activities that adhere to the renowned, late, Chicago-based psychiatrist Dr. Carl Bell’s Seven Field Principles model to build strong communities and reduce violence. Collaboration among community organizations is also strongly encouraged.

A virtual technical assistance (TA) session to help guide organizations through the application process will be held at 2PM on February 10, 2021. Attending the TA session is not a requirement to apply for funding. Register at Eventbrite.

Learn more about how to apply for the Fund.