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Community Safety & Peace: The Chicago Fund for Safe & Peaceful Communities

Summer in Chicago tends to be the most violent season, with roughly half of every year’s homicides occurring between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the City of Chicago.

PSPC created the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities to support community-based groups on the South and West Sides whose summer and fall events, programs and services bring neighbors together, provide rich experiences for youth, and build bridges between police and community. In 2020, PSPC provided 164 grants of $1,000 to $10,000 — totaling $1 million — for summer and fall activities that create the conditions necessary for peace.

From April to early May, the Chicago Fund reviews hundreds of community-led proposals and chooses about 100 to 180 hyperlocal organizations — which have operating budgets of less than $500,000 — to provide grants to community organizations to ensure their events, programs and services successful.

In 2019, nearly 40,000 Chicago residents attended events, participated in programming or received services as a result of the funded projects.

Among the 2019 projects:

  • A Humboldt Park Truth and Reconciliation Summit gave community leaders — including law enforcement — a forum to publicly apologize for causing harm, work through guided meditation sessions and then pledge to help implement change.
  • The South Side Jazz Coalition and the 3rd District of the Chicago Police Department presented a free, live jazz concert on the police station’s lawn, in the Grand Crossing neighborhood. The event included musicians ages 12 to 17 as well as established Chicago performers.
  • Up to 30 young people learned beekeeping skills and how to run a real-world beekeeping business at hives set up in the Englewood, West Woodlawn and West Garfield Park neighborhoods. Afterward, they demonstrated what they learned during a Cops & Bees event, cosponsored by the Chicago Police Department’s 7th and 11th Districts as well as with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Residents and law enforcement chatted, mingled and sampled fresh, raw honey.
  • From June to September, the Healing Through Art and Nature project in Little Village brought together artists and residents to complete art- and nature-related projects in a community garden. Events also included community planting days, a summer solstice observance, and a back-to-school celebration.

Since its inception in 2016, the Chicago Fund has provided $3.3 million support for 505 projects in Chicago. It has grown each year.