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Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and A Better Chicago Announce Next Investment Round of ‘One West Side’ Partnership

Written by Chicago Blackhawks Foundation on Mar 21, 2022

The Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and A Better Chicago, alongside generous support partner United Airlines, today announced the expansion of their One West Side partnership to two additional grant recipients in the second year of the initiative, joining the cohort of five inaugural leaders.

One West Side is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar commitment to invest in Chicago’s West Side, which includes some of the city’s most under-served and under-resourced neighborhoods. This powerful partnership pairs the platform of professional sports with A Better Chicago’s philanthropic expertise and management resources to support local organizations and leaders in efforts to create greater opportunity for youth in their own communities.

The new grantees include:

  • A House in Austin, which programs around a two-generational approach that addresses the needs of parents and children to improve outcomes for the whole family. Under the leadership of Lynette Kelly-Bell and Becky Martin, A House in Austin ensures children enter preschool with the language skills and emotional regulation tools needed to be successful in school through high-quality early learning experiences and nurturing secure bonds with parents.
  • I Am Able, which is a faith-based, trauma-informed care agency that provides services from birth to end of life. Under the leadership of Dr. Carolyn Vessel, I Am Able is working to deepen its in-school social and emotional learning program at Legacy Charter Elementary School and expand into new schools on the West Side.

“We are thrilled to welcome this new cohort of community-embedded organizations into our portfolio—their promising approaches to early childhood education, social-emotional learning, and, trauma-informed mental health supports have meaningful potential for impact and growth. Both I Am Able Center for Family Development and A House in Austin have compelling leadership at the helm and are poised to take their impact to the next level,” said Beth Swanson, Chief Executive Officer of A Better Chicago, and Sara Guderyahn, Executive Director of the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, in a joint statement.

One West Side will also continue its support of the five organizations selected in the inaugural cohort, which served more than 800 youth on the West Side last year. This includes Austin Childcare Providers Network, The Bloc, Firehouse Community Arts Center, MAAFA Redemption Project and West Side United, a group that collectively reaches Chicagoans at every stage of life – from birth to young adulthood – by supporting education, social-emotional learning, mentorship opportunities, skills training, and leadership development.

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