Our Portfolio Organizations

Our incredible portfolio provides Chicago’s youth with the education, skills, and opportunities to succeed and break the cycle of poverty.

Catalyst Fund

Supporting community-embedded leaders with innovative approaches to serving youth across the South and West sides of the city

Investment to date $218K
Students Served 170

A House in Austin is an early childhood service provider with a particular focus on strengthening parent-child interactions and home environments.

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Investment to date $495K
Students Served TBA

Austin Childcare Providers Network is an organization focused on elevating childcare provider quality and developing a collaborative pilot focused on ensuring that children leave early childcare providers ready for kindergarten by creating continuity of learning and practice among childcare (pre-K) providers and elementary schools.

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Investment to date $100K
Students Served 118

Dream On Education unites the best and brightest 6-8th graders from low-income communities with business and community leaders through cultural experiences aimed at fostering students’ academic preparedness and social development.

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Investment to date $335K
Students Served 143

The Firehouse Community Art Center’s VIP (Very Important Process) Program is focused on the prevention and interruption of violence by providing young adult men with mentorship, leadership development and access to skills training and job opportunities.

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Investment to date $665K
Students Served 196

Lion's Pride's mission is to empower youth leaders to guide incoming freshmen to reach their fullest potential. Ultimately, Lion's Pride seeks to change Chicago's educational landscape by helping more students graduate from high school and attend the college of their choice.

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Investment to date $170K
Students Served 406

Lost Boyz helps Chicago's youth by working to decrease violence, improve social and emotional conditions, and provide financial opportunities among the youth in Chicago's most needy communities.

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Investment to date $464K
Students Served 671

Along with learning the sport of boxing, which serves as a meaningful physical outlet for youth, The Bloc provides youth from the West Side of Chicago with academic coaching and mentorship.

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Investment to date $473K
Students Served 453

MAAFA’s mission is to repair and rebuild West Garfield Park by improving the quality of life of emerging adult, Black and Brown men and their families. MAAFA focuses on creating a holistic “oasis of opportunity” for these young men to equip and empower their movement from “at risk” to thriving.

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Venture Fund

Seed investments in promising organizational models that are ready to scale

Investment to date $815K
Students Served 1,472

The BARR Center (BARR) is a strengths-based model applied to middle and high schools that provides them with a comprehensive approach to meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of all students.

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Investment to date $1.5M
Students Served 986

Braven partners with large public universities to empower underrepresented young people with cutting-edge career education and valuable networking opportunities that help them transition successfully into the workforce after graduation.

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Investment to date $906K
Students Served 225

Chicago HOPES for Kids provides educational support for children living in Chicago's homeless shelters. It is our mission to provide our students with the resources and encouragement needed to succeed academically, despite the challenges of homelessness.

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Investment to date $1.3M
Students Served 2,895

iMentor partners with high schools in low-income communities to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in college.

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Investment to date $1.4M
Students Served 3,923

Intrinsic Schools works to create a revolutionary new school model in order to prepare all students for postsecondary success and world-changing endeavors and to provide the education community with a roadmap to sustainable implementation.

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Investment to date $428K
Students Served 5,969

Leading Educators partners with school systems to build and sustain the conditions, teaching, and leadership to ensure that the students furthest from opportunity succeed in school and in life.

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Investment to date $2.4M
Students Served 4,554

Pathways at NLU seeks to address the most critical barriers inhibiting bachelor’s degree attainment for low-income students. Operating as a program within National Louis University, Pathways provides an innovative, student-centered, technology-enhanced bachelor’s degree model at an affordable cost.

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Investment to date $890K
Students Served 269

The Wood Family Foundation’s Pitch In program (Pitch In) partners with middle schools to equip students in fourth through eighth grade with the skillsets and mindsets necessary to successfully transition to high school.

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Investment to date $1.3M
Students Served 1,430

Recognizing that difference broadens perspectives, Roosevelt University seeks and serves a diverse, promising student body from metropolitan Chicago and around the world.

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Investment to date $870K
Students Served 1,650

VOCEL's mission is to help ensure every child has the foundation to learn, grow, and lead. VOCEL continues to set a new standard for how to capitalize on the earliest, and, arguably, most important, years of a child’s life.

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Growth Fund

Significant investments to grow successful organizations with strong track records

Investment to date $635K
Students Served 4,927

Alternatives supports and empowers Chicago youth to build safer and more vibrant communities through a combination of restorative justice and behavioral health services.

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Investment to date $3.8M
Students Served 2,759

Bottom Line is a national education organization that is addressing the degree divide by providing academic, personal and financial counselling to empower low-income, first-generation students to attend and succeed in college. The organization is committed to building strong connections with students by providing them with individualized support.

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Investment to date $4.5M
Students Served 5,405

Chicago Scholars selects, trains, and mentors academically ambitious students from under-resourced communities to enroll in, persist and graduate from college.

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Investment to date $2M
Students Served 1,693

College Possible provides intensive coaching and support to low-income students to help them get into and graduate from college.

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Investment to date $1.2M
Students Served 3,700

JPAbelieve that our children, especially those living in severe conditions, need access to programs and services that will enable them to learn, grow, and lead productive lives. By providing therapeutic services to children in challenged neighborhoods, JPA helps them repair the connections broken by violence, instability, alienation.

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Investment to date $4.6M
Students Served 3,467

One Million Degrees accelerates community college students’ progress on career pathways to economic mobility by providing academic, professional, personal, and financial supports to highly motivated, low-income students pursuing associate’s degrees or post-secondary certificates.

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Apply To Join Our Portfolio

We invest in nonprofit organizations and initiatives at different stages of development that are focused on creating opportunity for Black and Latinx youth from low-income backgrounds. Our core investment areas currently include education (early childhood through post-secondary), career (through middle skill and high school diploma pathways), social-emotional development, trauma-informed mental health, and essential needs. Note: Currently, we are not soliciting applications; however, you can submit an interest form to share information about your organization or initiative. Given our team’s limited capacity, interest forms will be reviewed on a rolling basis.   For general questions about our application process, please email grants@abetterchicago.org