Why We Exist

A Better Chicago is changing how Chicago fights poverty by investing in bold ideas that create opportunity for our youth.

1 in 4 Chicago youth are living in poverty today.

In our schools, 76 percent of Chicago Public Schools students depend on school for meals and more than 16,400 are homeless. Growing up in one of the most segregated major cities in the United States, Chicago’s low-income youth are often trapped in a cycle of intergenerational poverty that disproportionately impacts our Black and Latinx communities.

At A Better Chicago, our mission is to build a more equitable city for our young people and future generations. We know that giving our young people the tools they need to thrive—steady access to essential needs, holistic social-emotional supports, a world-class education, a family-sustaining wage—can lead to breaking the cycle of poverty for this generation and generations to come.

As a venture philanthropy fund, our model leverages the collective power of Chicagoans who share our commitment to equity. There is so much we can do together when we align our goals and our resources to invest in our communities, local leaders, and the bold ideas we know can transform the lives of millions of families and children.

Our progress to date

We have made compelling progress since opening our doors in 2010. Together, we have:

  • Raised more than $40 million from more than 2,200 donors to invest in Chicago’s most effective youth-serving nonprofits;
  • Vetted over 800 organizations to build our current portfolio of 18 high-impact grantees providing opportunity for Black and Latinx youth
  • Cultivated a community of supporters, including partnerships with world-class professional services firms who help grantees tackle their most pressing strategic and operational challenges; and
  • Launched an Emergency Relief Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has provided $2.5 million in grant dollars to 47 Chicago nonprofits addressing the urgent needs of thousands of low-income youth and families.

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