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A Better Chicago Announces $500,000 in Relief Grants to Chicago Nonprofits Serving Low-Income Youth and Families

Written by A Better Chicago on Apr 23, 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, announced its first round of emergency relief grants to local nonprofits today. The organization recently launched an Emergency Relief Fund that already has accumulated more than $1.6 million and began accepting grant applications on April 6. Following the launch of the application process, A Better Chicago received more than 280 applications in less than two weeks. This first round of funding will provide $500,000 in grants to nine organizations providing immediate assistance to nearly 20,000 youth and families.

“This is just the beginning of our relief efforts,” said A Better Chicago CEO Beth Swanson. “We feel a responsibility to get significant dollars to nonprofits on the frontlines of this crisis as quickly as possible. The needs of the low-income communities we serve are vast and the impact of this pandemic will be long-lasting. We’re continuing to work tirelessly to raise more dollars and simultaneously make meaningful investments to bring critical support to thousands of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

A Better Chicago’s first Emergency Relief Fund investments include organizations supporting vulnerable populations ranging from families with young children to college students to undocumented immigrants. The grantees will provide direct financial assistance, essential goods and services, and innovative educational programming to low-income and Black and Latinx communities in need. The slate of grantees is a combination of current A Better Chicago portfolio members and new investments:

Chicago Scholars: Funds will go to providing direct financial assistance to low-income college students as well as adapting Chicago Scholars’ programming to serve students virtually.

Cradles to Crayons Chicago: Funds will go to providing essential supplies focused on the needs of children from birth to age 12 living in homeless or low-income situations.

Horizons for Youth: Funds will support direct financial support to low-income families primarily residing in Chicago’s south and west sides experiencing lost wages and food insecurity.

KIPP Chicago: Funds will go to purchasing devices, software and tech support so all KIPP Chicago students can access virtual learning.

Noble Network of Charter Schools: Funds will go to providing direct financial assistance to students and families, particularly to ensure Noble seniors and alumni are not limited in their ability to enroll in or persist through college.

Northwest Side Housing Center: Funds will provide direct financial support to low-income families and undocumented immigrant populations.

One Million Degrees: Funds will go towards direct financial assistance to cover wage loss and basic needs for community college students as well as adapting programming to provide virtual mentoring and counseling.

Ounce of Prevention: Funds will support direct financial support to low-income families with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are facing risk factors such as poverty, homelessness, and exposure to violence.

Pitch In: Funds will support the development and launch of a virtual version of Pitch In’s curriculum as well as providing direct financial support to students’ families.

“We received hundreds of applications for relief funding from impressive organizations across our city that are dedicated to supporting our most vulnerable communities,” said Swanson. “These decisions are never easy. However, we feel confident that we are investing this first round of funding in initiatives that will be most impactful and get services where they are most needed quickly. We will continue to review submissions and grant dollars out as efficiently as possible.”

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.

Donors interested in supporting 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, 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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