Priorities – Advocating for Policy Change
Supporting and advancing policy and advocacy efforts to effect systemic change.
Build Public Knowledge and Will
An informed and ready public is essential to making policy change, especially at the local level. The Trust supports and produces public events, publications, digital content, and other engagement opportunities that raise the profile of policy issues and generate momentum toward solutions.
The Trust Policy Brief
A bimonthly e-newsletter with the latest info on the Trust’s policy initiatives—sign up below.
Secure Vacant and Underutilized Properties
The Trust is collaborating with partners to improve systems that secure vacant, abandoned, and underutilized properties as community assets in Black and Latinx communities.
- Research by the Center for Municipal Finance on the Cook County Scavenger Sale that highlights challenges with the process
- Cityscape’s Cook County Scavenger Sale Portal—a first-of-its-kind tool that helps buyers find and evaluate available properties
- A forthcoming additional study from the Center for Municipal Finance on the Scavenger Sale process, as well as navigation guides developed by the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul
Bolster the Public Policy Landscape
Effective advocacy requires a strong bench of people and organizations with the knowledge, skills, and capacity for making change. The Trust provides organizational support to create a fertile ecosystem of leaders and advocates focused on policy and systems change.
Public Sector Leadership Development
- Recent funding: Civic Leadership Academy
- Recent funding: Coalitions for Equity in Wealth Policy
Advance Policy and Systems Change
The Trust has prioritized three policy areas aligned with our mission and strategic objectives. In addition, we have identified other areas of focus where we can lay the necessary groundwork to advance meaningful change. We expect our priorities will evolve over time as progress is made and new opportunities emerge.
Equitable Economic Recovery
The Trust is committed to advocating for communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, be it from high infection rates, job losses, wage decreases, or business closures. As more government aid reaches our region, we will continue monitoring its dissemination and advocating for local budgets and interventions that support an equitable recovery. Learn more about the Trust’s initiative We Rise Together: For a Just and Equitable Recovery.
Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of most proven federal programs for keeping working families out of poverty. That’s why the Trust has made EITC expansion at the federal and state levels one of our top policy priorities.
Donor Advised Funds and Other Charitable Policies
Donor advised funds (DAFs) are important charitable vehicles that streamline the giving process for donors and nonprofits. The Trust is tracking proposed regulatory and legislative changes and engaging in ongoing dialogues with our donors, fellow community foundations, policymakers, and grant recipients on how to best encourage giving and respond to the enormous needs of our communities.
Additional Policy Areas of Focus
Improve Access to Affordable Home Lending
We’re examining how policy reforms can improve lending opportunities that build wealth in Black and Latinx communities, including strengthening the Community Reinvestment Act, appraisal reform, and other issues. Read the Trust’s recent comment letter submitted with other funders on proposed rules regarding the CRA here.
Reduce Predatory Lending Practices
Building on prior accomplishments in this area, we’re working to preserve predatory lending legislation and exploring solutions for increasing the availability of affordable small-dollar loan products for Black and Latinx communities.
Advance Community Safety
The Trust and our partners are investigating how to enhance public safety through policing and criminal justice reforms.
- Recent funding: Support to the Illinois Justice Project for policy and advocacy focused on returning citizens