The Chicago Community Trust’s Unity Fund is a testament to the community spirit of the Chicago region and the power of collective giving. Since its founding in 2008, the fund has made more than $18 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofits that provide Chicagoans with emergency food, clothing, housing, legal services, support for arriving migrants and refugees, and more.
Contributions from donors like you enable Unity Fund to pool resources and support frontline organizations that are meeting the most critical needs. Through Unity Fund, contributions are strategically directed to maximize impact across metropolitan Chicago.
This past year alone, Unity Fund granted $2 million to more than 40 organizations. When prices for food and basic necessities soared, Unity Fund was prepared to help our neighbors put food on their tables. As immigrant and refugee-serving organizations ramped up efforts to welcome arriving Afghans and Ukrainians, Unity Fund supported ten local organizations supporting individuals and families fleeing global conflicts.
We are grateful to the donors who entrust us to support organizations serving Chicagoans most in need. With your help, we can meet our goal of distributing $5 million in the coming year. Visitcct.org/give/.
During a time of economic uncertainty, grant recipients say Unity Fund support has bolstered their ability to fulfill a growing demand for their services.
“Unity Fund has proven that our region is made up of people who are incredibly generous and always ready to respond to fellow residents’ immediate needs. Every dollar we raise is used to support nonprofit organizations, large and small, that are relentless in making sure community members have what they need to get through the toughest of times.”
Joanne Otte Program Manager, Community Impact The Chicago Community Trust
Housing & Shelter
The mission of BEDS Plus Care is to help vulnerable individuals stabilize their lives through housing and supportive services. By working with families and individuals facing housing insecurity, eviction, and homelessness, the organization helps them regain and sustain housing.
Primarily serving Southwest Suburban Cook County, program recipients include transition-aged youth, domestic violence survivors, people with disabilities, and veterans. Because of systemic housing inequities, a disproportionate number of people BEDS Plus works with are Black.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness was already ticking upwards in Cook County. Since the pandemic, BEDS Plus CEO Tina Rounds says the economic aftermath has led to the organization seeing an increase in people experiencing housing insecurity, homelessness, and chronic homelessness. General operating grant funding from Unity has helped to ensure it has the capacity to meet the moment.
“Unity Fund support helped us sustain and grow our services to meet rising needs,” Rounds said.
An estimated 33% of Humboldt Park residents live in poverty. Nearly 30% of residents do not have health insurance, while 46% of households experience food insecurity. Additionally, 27% of adults in Humboldt Park experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and 18% have symptoms of depression.
Recognizing these challenges, Association House has designed its wraparound services to address compounding community issues in Humboldt Park. The organization does this by providing five collaborative service areas: Association House High School, Child Welfare, Behavioral Health, Community Health, and Workforce Development. Annually, Association House serves 3,000 individuals, with 53% of program recipients identifying as Latinx and 32% identifying as Black.
Because many of Association House’s programs rely solely on private funding from foundations and individual donors, general operating grant dollars from Unity Fund have helped to fill funding gaps. According to President and CEO Juan Carlos Linares, this support is important to addressing both immediate and long-term needs for the individuals and families that come through Association House’s doors.
“Behind every youth who will reach graduation this year, every child in a safe home thanks to child welfare, and every adult starting a new career, is a Unity Fund donor.”
Juan Carlos Linares President & CEO Association House