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A Better Chicago Emergency Relief Fund Receives Significant Support from Chicago Bears Linebacker Khalil Mack to Address Urgent Needs of Low-Income Youth and Families During COVID-19

Written by A Better Chicago on Apr 20, 2020

Media contact: Danielle Veira, 312.674.7085,

CHICAGO – A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy fund fighting poverty by investing in initiatives that serve low-income youth, recently received a $350,000 donation to its Emergency Relief Fund from Chicago Bears Linebacker Khalil Mack in partnership with the Bernfield Family. The funds will go to immediately support Chicago nonprofits providing critical support to vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current public health crisis disproportionately impacts low-income communities. More than 355,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students out of school for the at least the next month – 16,000 of which are homeless and 76 percent are receiving free or subsidized meals. A Better Chicago aims to address the urgent needs of Chicago’s low-income youth and families while also empowering nonprofits on the frontlines with fiscal stability and strategic support as they navigate these challenging times.

“Our work has always addressed the root causes around inter-generational poverty,” said A Better Chicago CEO Beth Swanson. “We hope that, through our Emergency Relief Fund, we will be able to set even more nonprofits up to sustainably support our most vulnerable communities. The COVID-19 pandemic is only highlighting the racial and socioeconomic disparities that already exist in Chicago. Now is the time for bold, decisive action to provide immediate assistance to our neighbors in need.”

Leveraging a decade of expertise in deploying financial and capacity-building support to high-impact nonprofits, A Better Chicago is applying its unique model to this unprecedented crisis. The Relief Fund has already accumulated more than $1.5 million and received more than 230 grant applications from local nonprofits requesting relief funding. A Better Chicago is prepared to distribute funding to nonprofits addressing three core areas:

  • Providing direct financial support (e.g. stipends to students who have lost work)
  • Providing essential goods and services (e.g. groceries)
  • Rapidly innovating to continue delivering high-quality programming (e.g. virtual instruction)

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis and grant decisions will be made within two weeks of submission. Grant amounts and duration will vary based on need, potential impact, and available funds. A Better Chicago’s model maximizes both impact and transparency, ensuring that 100 percent of all funds raised go directly to relief efforts and immediate community needs.

“I am blessed to be able to assist the community and excited to have others who have stepped up and partnered with me on this,” said Khalil Mack. “A Better Chicago is on the ground and satisfying the immediate needs of so many. Let’s not stop here, the effects of COVID are far from over.”

“We are so grateful to Khalil Mack and the Bernfield family for this generous contribution, and to Goldman Sachs for bringing forth the opportunity,” said Swanson. “We continue to be inspired and encouraged by the donors who recognize how critical it is for us to come together to support our most vulnerable youth and families. I’m particularly proud that our unique model ensures 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to relief efforts and empowering local nonprofits to serve low-income communities hardest hit by this crisis.”

Donors interested in giving to the Emergency Relief Fund and nonprofit organizations interested in applying for funding 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, under-served 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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