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$1.5 Million in Emergency Relief Grants Awarded for Chicago Nonprofits Serving Low-Income Youth and Families

Written by A Better Chicago on Jun 5, 2020

Media Contact: Danielle Veira, 312.674.7085,

As Chicago enters phase three of its coronavirus recovery effort and Chicago Public Schools heads into its final few weeks of school, A Better Chicago today announced a fourth round of emergency relief grants totaling $325,000 for ten low-income youth- and family-serving organizations. The grants are part of A Better Chicago’s recently launched Emergency Relief Fund, through which the organization has distributed $1.5 million to support Chicago-area organizations since early April.

To date, the fund has accumulated nearly $2 million and received hundreds of grant applications from local nonprofits since it began accepting applications on April 6. Applicants represent organizations supporting vulnerable populations across the city, including families with young children, college students, Chicagoans experiencing homelessness and undocumented immigrants. In late April, the fund received a $350,000 donation from Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack and the Bernfield Family.

“Because of these grants, fewer Chicago families will go to bed hungry tonight, more of our graduating high school students will go to college, and more families will have the basic necessities they need to care for their children,” said A Better Chicago CEO Beth Swanson. “Responding quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, A Better Chicago has released $1,500,000 in just two months directly to organizations serving our most vulnerable communities. Even as the state moves forward on the road toward recovery, the virus and the ensuing economic fallout is deepening the systemic economic disparities across Chicago. It’s vital that we provide essential, lifesaving support to communities who will feel the impact of the pandemic for months to come.”

A Better Chicago is a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund fighting poverty by investing in initiatives that serve low-income youth. The organizations receiving money through the Emergency Relief Fund provide direct financial assistance, essential goods and services, and innovative educational programming for low-income and Black and Latinx communities. The slate of grantees is a combination of current A Better Chicago portfolio members and new investments:

  • Intrinsic Schools – Funds will provide graduating seniors with computers to ensure they have access to the supports, information and tools they need to enroll in and transition to college.
  • OneGoal Chicago – Funds will provide students and alumni with direct financial support and adapting its supports to continue serving students with college access, enrollment and persistence support.
  • Children’s Home and Aid – Funds will support efforts to provide basic essentials to youth and families throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, including through an early childhood center and behavioral health and youth violence prevention programs in Greater Englewood.
  • Embarc – Funds will provide emergency financial assistance to students and alumni and support virtual programming.
  • Family Focused – Funds will provide grocery gift cards for families that have lost employment and identified food insecurity as an urgent challenge.
  • My Block My Hood My City – Funds will provide young people and their families with critical basic essentials and will support the organization’s summer employment programming.
  • New Life Centers – Funds will provide food to families living in extreme poverty.
  • New Moms – Funds will provide cash assistance to cover lost wages and provision of basic necessities to support young moms and their children.
  • Share our Spare – Funds will provide basic supplies for young children such as diapers and hygiene products.
  • VOCEL – Funds will provide families with critical early childhood development supports, as well as essential supplies and emergency financial assistance.

“The work of supporting and investing in recovery for our Black and Latinx neighbors is all the more critical now, when our city and our country are grappling with the impact systemic racism has had—and continues to have—on these communities,” said Swanson. “This is a moment for all of us to consider how we can provide relief to those who need it most. One hundred percent of all contributions will go directly to relief efforts.”

Donors interested in supporting the Emergency Relief Fund can visit

About A Better Chicago

A Better Chicago is fighting poverty by leveraging the collective power of Chicagoans who want to make our city more equitable for everyone. We raise funds through public donations and direct those resources to support low-income, underserved communities. We find high-potential, high-impact programs and leaders that serve young people from cradle to career. Then, we invest both dollars and strategic support to empower organizations to grow and make an even greater impact. We know that giving our young people the support and tools they need to thrive—a great education, a wage that can sustain a family, the ability to buy a home and live in a safe community—can lead to breaking the cycle of poverty for this generation and generations to come.

Since 2010, we have raised nearly $40 million, invested in dozens of nonprofit organizations and supported over 100 capacity-building projects—ranging from strategic planning to leadership development—to strengthen the organizational capacity of our grantees. In total, our portfolio serves over 37,000 youth annually in the Chicago area. Learn more at

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