Our Grantees

 "Our Movements are Interconnected, Intersectional."

credit: SoapBox Productions and Organizing



Crossroads Fund 2019 Grantees


We're excited to share that, in fiscal year 2019, Crossroads Fund granted nearly $820,000 to 101 powerful grassroots organizations. Your support made this possible! By pooling resources from nearly 1,000 donors, Crossroads Fund was able to make these grants and support Chicago’s most innovative and visionary organizing and activism.

Although the following list categorizes grantees based on one primary focus, grantees’ work is rarely limited to a single issue area. Most work across issues and prioritize the multiple needs of their diverse constituents. A notation after the grantee description indicates from which grant fund(s) they received funding. Funds include the Seed Fund (SF), Technical Assistance Fund (TA), Youth Fund for Social Change (YF), and the Critical Response Fund (CRF), which provides rapid response grants to organizations working on issues that arise due to urgent political and social moments. Organizations also received grants through the Capacity Building Initiative (CBI), a collaborative program that supports organizational growth and development.

Grantees also received funding from one of our Partner Funds (PF), which include the following pooled and donor advised funds:

Cathy Cohen Black Youth Leadership Award (Cathy Cohen), which supports black-led youth organizing

Eleuterio Fund (Eleuterio), which supports community-based arts, education, peace activism, and reproductive rights

Monica George and Kyle Johnson Fund (MK Fund), which supports community organizing in Chicago

GRAM Fund (GRAM), which supports women and girls, rights for Arab Americans, and youth projects

Vernita Gray Fund (Vernita Gray), which supports LGBTQ youth

Policy Fund (Policy), an anonymous fund to support an urgent policy change or policy implementation

South Side Not Steve Fund, a one-time initiative by alums of University of Chicago that supported organizations working on the Southside of Chicago.

We also list each of the awards we grant at our annual gala, Seeds of Change, by name. They are the Donald F. Erickson Synapses Awardthe Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice, and the Ron Sable Award for Activism.


In FY19, grant amounts ranged from $684 to $31,685 and, unless otherwise noted, the grants are for general operating support.

2019 Grantees





























AlMosaic provides support, access, and exposure for artists in immigrant and Arab Muslim communities. They challenge social misconceptions in the creative field, promote equal access to the arts, and strengthen movement work using models of community building such as art collectives, youth programs, and workshops. (SF)

Bronzeville Black Chicagoan Historical Society preserves and protects Chicago Black history and culture by providing historical presentations, exhibits, and seminars in schools, churches, libraries, and park districts. (South Side Not Steve)

Chicago Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films about Palestine or by Palestinian directors that address current issues in the region and portray the daily lives of Palestinians. Their collection of films and media serves as an educational resource locally and nation-ally. (SF)

Illinois Humanities Council programs broaden public involvement in civic dialogue, deepen the quality of community conversation and reflection, increase public access to the humanities by lowering barriers to participation, and bring humanities activities to unexpected places. (Eleuterio)

First Nation Film and Video Festival, Inc. advocates for and celebrates the works of Native American filmmakers. They showcase films and host educational programs to break racial stereotypes and promote awareness of Native American resistance and resilience. (GRAM)

Full Spectrum Features NFP increases diversity in the independent film industry by producing, exhibiting, and supporting the work of women, LGBTQ, and minority filmmakers. The TA grant was to enhance their financial management software. (TA)

SoapBox Productions and Organizing is a film and social activism organization specializing in multimedia projects centered on education, entertainment, and social change. They combine filmmaking with grassroots organizing efforts to document and sustain social movements while promoting art and action. (SF)

St. Kateri Center of Chicago provides a space for Native American youth and adults to gather, preserve, and deepen Indigenous identities while participating in larger Indigenous causes: challenging offensive school and college mascots, and participating in direct actions. (SF)

The West Side Historical Preservation Society highlights the historical contributions made by African Americans on the West Side of Chicago from the Great Migration to the civil rights movement to  current day organizing. This is accomplished by preserving historical sites and documents, aspiring to create a museum, and holding public education opportunities and festivals. (SF)






 Photo by Sarah-Ji





Alliance of the Southeast (ASE) is a multi-issue, membership organization addressing issues of Chicago’s Southeast Side. Their current work includes organizing a coalition to obtain a community benefits agreement, thus ensuring local developments benefit area residents with employment, training, education opportunities, affordable housing, and environmental protections. (SF, YF, South Side Not Steve)

Equity and Transformation (EAT) is a community-led organiza-tion shaping social and economic equity with Black Chicagoans engaged in the street economy. EAT advances the interests of workers and engages in public decision-making to bridge the informal economy into the formal sector through policies and advocacy efforts, particularly with marijuana decriminalization. The grant expanded their research of What is Preventing Black Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry as “legalization” in Illinois develops. (TA)

Grassroots Collaborative unites eleven membership-based organizations in Illinois to create policy change on local and statewide levels. Their coalition builds the power of working families of color through strategic community-labor organizing, grassroots leadership development, civic engagement, and training. The grant supported the #ReimagineChicago platform, which included a 2019 Chicago Mayoral Forum to demand investment in public services from elected officials. (TA)

Northside Action for Justice is a multi-issue organization in Uptown and Rogers Park working on campaigns for living wages, affordable housing, and quality public education. Their education campaign, the Sustainable Community Schools Village, builds a movement where area schools partner to create a unified vision for themselves and the surrounding community. (SF)

Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) is a community organization on the Southside of Chicago addressing issues of housing, healthcare, incarceration, and the criminalization of young people of color. Recent work includes working in coalition for an Obama Presidential Center Community Benefits Agreement, and Teens on 53rd, a program making space for teens of color in Hyde Park in the face of police surveillance, gentrification, and access to public space. (CRF, MK Fund, South Side Not Steve, SF, TA)

The Co-op Ed Center (CEC) is using the worker cooperative model to create quality jobs, collective wealth and ownership, and build grass-roots leadership to combat the racial wealth divide in Chicago. CEC’s purpose is to guide, train, incubate, and launch worker cooperatives in communities of color. As a result of a recent state legislative win that recognizes cooperatives, they are piloting trainings with aspiring cooperatives in the Little Village and Bronzeville neighborhoods. (SF)




Ixchel Families for Equitable Education and Environmental Justice is a community-based organization uniting Cicero and Berwyn residents to dismantle structural racism. Their environmental justice work focuses on toxic odors from the water reclamation plant, proposed waste relocation from Chicago to neighboring Stickney, and the presence of lead in drinking water. The TA grant supported research and consultation support. (SF, TA)

People for Community Recovery is a community-based environmental justice organization that addresses pollution, the harsh impact of Chicago Housing Authority policies, and other social justice issues in the Riverdale community. Their current focus is on the development of a “solar farm” to provide alternative energy resources and create career opportunities for local residents. (South Side Not Steve)






 Photo by Alexis Sanchez-Boyzo





Black Lives Matter Chicago works to end state violence and the criminalization of Black communities by supporting impacted families. They examine unjust policies and interrupt state violence by leading advocacy efforts, trainings, direct actions, and campaigns such as Justice for Ronnie Johnson and Pierre Loury, individuals lost to police violence. (SF)

Black Youth Project 100 is a national member-based organization of young activists and organizers creating freedom and justice for all Black people using a Black queer feminist lens. Their focus is on transformative leadership development, direct-action organizing, advocacy, research, and political education. (PF)

Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is a member-driven branch of The National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression mobilizing communities against the unjust treatment of individuals due to race or political beliefs. The TA grant supported their book production, which compiled stories of those incarcerated due to Chicago Police torture as part of the Campaign to Free Incarcerated Survivors of Police Torture. (TA)

Chicago Books to Women in Prison is an all-volunteer organization that provides books to incarcerated women and educates the public on the harsh realities of mass incarceration. The TA grant supported their attendance at the Books to Prisoners National Conference and the International Human Trafficking & Social Justice Conference. (TA)

Chicago Community Bond Fund operates a revolving fund that pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County, educates on the role of bond in the criminal legal system, and advocates for the abolition of money bond and other forms of pretrial punishment. The TA grant supported staff trainings and retreat facilitation. (SF, TA, PF, Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award)

The Chicago Torture Justice Center (CTJC) seeks to address the traumas of police violence and institutionalized racism through access to healing and wellness services, trauma-informed resources, and community connection. CTJC was part of the coalition that fought and won a historic reparations package for the torture survivors of the late Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Burge. (CBI, GRAM, MK Fund, South Side Not Steve)

Chicago United for Equity (CUE) connects and amplifies the power of individuals to build a just, equitable, and inclusive city. They work to build a network of racial justice advocates across Chicago’s civic infrastructure through their Equity Fellowship program. CUE also uses a Racial Equity Impact Assessment tool to weigh the benefits and burdens of new policy solutions and hold policymakers accountable to promoting racial equity. (PF)

Christianaire works to support social justice initiatives geared toward police reform, violence prevention, civic education, and community engagement. The grant supported the Laquan McDonald Contingency Plan, which mobilized those impacted by police violence in response to the murder of McDonald. Through demonstrations and community meetings, they demanded changes to law enforcement policies and mental health resources for victims of police violence. (CRF)

Citizen Advocacy Center utilizes community lawyers to engage residents in DuPage County and beyond in building democracy through community organizing, coalition building, legal advocacy, civic education, and litigation to make local government more accountable, accessible, and transparent. The TA grant supported their financial software upgrade. (SF, TA)

IL Muslim Civic Coalition is a statewide coalition that collabo-rates with and amplifies the social and civic efforts of the broader Muslim community. Their work includes education, advocacy, and mobilization to advance political access and visibility in the face of discrimination and exclusion. (SF)

Love and Protect supports women and gender non-conforming people of color who are criminalized and/or harmed by state and inter-personal violence. They provide immediate support to formerly incarcerated survivors, hold education and awareness-raising events, and work to develop a community-wide analysis of why the criminal legal system targets survivors of violence. (SF)

Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration is a mutual-support organizing group that builds on the collective strength and power of mothers directly impacted by state and interpersonal violence, particularly those who have been harmed by incarceration. They do this through participatory community defense campaigns as well as advocacy and organizing toward an abolitionist agenda. (SF)

No Cop Academy Campaign is a youth-led effort, supported by community organizations across Chicago, which demands $95 million to be invested in communities of color rather than the construction of a new police training academy. (MK Fund, Ron Sable Award)

Pedagogy of the Radical Mother is a campaign that seeks to bring the radical practice of mothering to dismantle state violence and build communities without violence. The TA grant supported research and artistic efforts to understand how state violence connects with mothering through a political lens. (TA)  

Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) is a visual arts and humanities project that connects artists, educators and organizers to men serving long-term sentences at Statesville Maximum Security Prison through classes, workshops, and guest lectures. PNAP engages Chicago communities around the crisis of criminalization, while engaging people inside prisons in the creation of visual arts, creative writing, and critical essays with specific neighborhoods in mind where this work is later shared. (SF)

Restore Justice Foundation advocates for fairness, humanity, and compassion throughout the Illinois criminal justice system, with a focus on youth serving prison sentences. They develop and support policies allowing young people to go home and ensure that those incarcerated, their families, and the families of victims have opportunities for healing and justice. (SF, MK Fund)

Sister Survivor amplifies the civic voice and celebrates the resilience of Black women and girls who have been harmed by America’s prison policies. The grant supported their participation in the state-wide Women’s Justice Task Force entitled “Redefine the Narrative,” a strategy to reduce the Illinois women’s prison population by 50% and transform institutional structures to better serve incarcerated women. (Policy)

Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) is a multi-issue organization serving Chicago’s Southside and South Suburbs. Efforts include criminal justice reform, specifically eliminating money bond and advancing the Coalition for Police Contract Accountability (CPCA). Additionally, SOUL works on interconnected issues of housing, health, environmental justice, and economic development. (SF, South Side Not Steve)

Westside Justice Center is a community-centered organization that promotes a holistic approach to justice by facilitating legal literacy, providing legal assistance to individuals, and nurturing community trust through restorative justice practices. Programs include advocacy, educational workshops, community organizing, and mobilization. The TA grant supported the purchase of a new database. (SF, TA)

Women’s All Points Bulletin is composed of women survivors of police violence and their families. They provide services, education, and training to advocate for civilian oversite of law enforcement and end all forms of police violence. They received a CRF grant to ensure the clause in the Chicago Police Consent Decree protecting women and girls against violent police acts is implemented. (SF, CRF)






 Photo by Sarah-Ji





Alliance for Community Services unites people with disabilities, front-line workers, community activists, and others to improve and expand public services. They organize and mobilize around the accessibility of Medicaid, food stamps, disability services, collective bargaining, and community resources, which are all under attack due to the state’s privatization of public needs. (SF)

Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers mobilizes local residents to Expand Mental Health Services Programs (EMHSP) for low-income and underserved communities. These programs, pioneered by the Coalition, support local communities in Chicago to envision and build their own community-initiated, funded, and over-seen mental health centers. (SF)

Chicago Women’s Health Center provides women and trans- identified individuals access to high-quality health care and health education in a respectful and affordable environment. (PF)

Local School Councils for All Coalition is comprised of education justice organizations and community members who have banded together to advance and train members of Local School Councils (LSCs) in Chicago. Their goal is to institute LSCs at all schools that receive public funds, including charter/military/contract schools. The CRF grant supported their campaign to lead and shape LSCs’ policies. (CRF)

Midwest Access Coalition (MAC) provides support for individuals traveling to, from, and within the Midwest to access safe and legal abortions. The CRF grant supported their mobilization and grassroots advocacy efforts for reproductive justice at a time when this is under political attack. (CRF)

Parents 4 Teachers is an all-volunteer organization uniting teachers and parents advocating for quality schools for all Chicago children. They engage in various campaigns in favor of an elected school board, support teacher unionism, and fight racist school policies to build high-quality education and a just public-school system. (SF)

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is a sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. They work to improve women’s health and safety, prevent unintended pregnancies, offer sexual health education, and advocate for individual choice in matters of sexual health and reproductive justice. (Eleuterio)

Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education is a parent-led coalition that advocates for quality public education for all children in Illinois. Their current work with Grassroots Collaborative includes a lawsuit against the City of Chicago for the TIF subsidy for the Lincoln Yards development. The CRF grant trained and mobilized parent/guardian leaders in a series of workshops on new laws impacting schools and opportunities for improvement. (SF, CRF, TA, CBI)

The Women’s Voices Fund is a project of independent, feminist book-store Women & Children First. The fund ensures that events featuring women writers foster discussion of feminist issues and culture while also sustaining and developing an ongoing program series focused on women’s lives, ideas, and work. (PF)




Autonomous Tenants Union is a tenant-led, all-volunteer organization building a coalition of tenants in Albany Park to halt evictions, keep rent affordable, and preserve their community. They defend the rights of tenants and fight for dignified housing while securing Albany Park as a No-Displacement Zone through organizing, advocacy, and education. (SF)

Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance spearheads the Just Housing Initiative, a coalition of housing and housing advocacy organizations committed to addressing systemic barriers to stable housing for individuals with arrest and conviction records. Through research, education, and advocacy, they combat housing discrimination, support stable housing, and promote equitable place-based opportunity. (SF)

Chicago Disability Activism Collective (CDAC) is a coalition of cross-disability activists and allies using campaigns to unite and empower a broader intersectional scope of people with dis-abilities. CDAC is focusing their work to ensure the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program in Cook County advances economic stability for Chicagoans with disabilities. (SF)

Chicago Housing Initiative is a citywide coalition comprised of community organizations organizing the power of low-income Chicago residents to preserve, improve, and expand affordable housing and stabilize communities against displacement across the city. Their work includes Chicago Housing Authority reforms, rent control, and inclusionary zoning. (SF)

Pilsen Alliance is committed to creating grassroots leadership and community-directed development in Pilsen and neighboring working-class immigrant communities. They are leading campaigns against housing displacement and fighting for community benefits agreements along the El Paseo Trail. The TA grant supported staff trainings and retreat facilitation. (SF, TA)

The Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (NWSCDC) preserves affordable housing and fosters economic growth in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood and surrounding North-west Side communities of Chicago. They work with small businesses, renters, and homeowners toward property tax reforms that benefit low-to-moderate income people in Cook County and the City of Chicago. (SF)

Tenants United-Hyde Park and Woodlawn organizes Southside tenants to build collective power by organizing assemblies and public forums in Chicago. They advance housing justice and work alongside tenants to take on predatory real estate landlords, unjust evictions, and poor living conditions using direct action and influencing public policy. (SF)





 Photo by Sarah-Ji





Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) places trained violence-reduction teams in crisis situations and militarized areas around the world to build partnerships with local peacebuilders to confront violence and oppression through nonviolent direct action. CPT reports to the world community on areas of conflict and human rights violations. (SF)

Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP) uses interfaith, intercultural, and cross-issue advocacy for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CJPIP uses public education, civic participation, direct action, and advocacy to raise awareness of human rights issues in the area. (SF)

National Boricua Human Rights Network raises awareness of human rights/civil liberty issues faced by the Puerto Rican community —  political prisoners, the effects of colonization, international economic sanctions, displacement — and the ways in which gentrification is affecting the Chicago Puerto Rican community. They received a CRF grant for their organizing efforts around cultural and community preservation in the Humboldt Park area. (CRF, MK Fund) 


Albany Park Defense Network is a community-based, rapid-response network designed to protect neighbors from deportations and displacement, including evictions and rental discrimination, through local rapid response systems, block-by-block organizing, and anti- deportation public campaigns. (CRF, PF)

Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) is a grassroots community organization that builds the capacity of Filipino/a/xs to organize undocumented immigrants, domestic workers, seniors, and youth directly through legal clinics, workshops, mobilizations, and leadership trainings. AFIRE is working on a healing justice campaign to erase the stigma of mental health in the Filipinx community. (SF)

Chicago Religious Leadership Network organizes congregations and people of faith, through the use of direct action, education and public policy advocacy, to respond to injustices experienced by undocumented immigrants. They advocate for stronger sanctuary for all immigrants and the dismantling of systems and institutions that separate, detain, and criminalize immigrants. (SF)

Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative consists of local funders and national foundations working together to support issues facing the immigrant community. Funding priorities include legal assistance, community defense, and capacity building to help organizations to both serve clients and mobilize for change. (TA)

Immigrant Solidarity DuPage organizes immigrants and laborers in DuPage County through workshops, direct actions, and cultural programming. They provide both direct and legal services to workers, amplify the diverse voices of the Latinx community, and serve as a community organizing axis for advocates. The CRF grant facilitated a trip to the US-Mexico border to support asylum seekers. (CRF)

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors (NIJFON) provides free or low-cost expert immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Aurora, Chicago, and Rockford. They provide education on immigration issues to members of their faith communities and the general public while also engaging in advocacy/organizing for immigrant justice. The TA grant supported board development training. (TA, SF)

Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD) works with individuals and families to organize against deportations, detention, criminalization, and incarceration of Black, brown, and immigrant communities in and around Chicago. Through organizing, advocacy, direct action, civil disobedience, and cross-movement building, they defend communities. The CRF supported their response to the increase of ICE raids and mass deportations. (CRF, MK Fund, SF)

Proyecto de Acción de los Suburbios del Oeste (PASO) serves the western suburbs with a focus on leadership development, education, community organizing, civic engagement, policy, and legal services to effect change led and directed by community members. (MK Fund)

The Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project organizes immigrants and their families in the southwest suburbs to protect their rights, fight for local and national pro-immigrant policies, and hold municipal leaders accountable to the growing immigrant community. This is accomplished through civic engagement, advocacy, and education. (SF)




About Face Youth Theatre is a theatre, activism, and leadership development program offered free of charge to LGBTQI+ and allied youth. They are committed to exploring and expanding on the dynamics of race, nationality, gender, and sexuality while using theatre as a catalyst for civic engagement and action. (YF)

Affinity Community Services serves Black lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in Chicago. They combine direct services with advocacy/activism, focusing on coalition building, civic engagement, health and wellness, and leadership development. (CBI, SF)

Lighthouse Foundation is the non-sectarian branch of Lighthouse Church of Chicago creating inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people of all backgrounds, particularly Black queer individuals. The grant supported organizing efforts in Chicago’s Boystown community as a response to exclusion and harassment of Black, LGBTQ+ patrons from local businesses. (CRF)

Transformative Justice Law Project (TJLP) is a collective of social workers, activists, and organizers committed to gender self-determination, transformative justice, and prison abolition. They provide legal services for transgender/genderqueer individuals in and out-side of prison, resources, a training curriculum for lawyers and social workers, and organize for policy change. (SF)






Photo by Sarah-Ji




Centro de Trabajadores Unidos (CTU) is an immigrant-run organization on the Southeast Side of Chicago that educates workers on their rights and develops leadership within the immigrant community while participating in broader efforts for systemic reform around wage theft and immigration. The CRF supported their response to increased ICE raids and immigrant safety efforts. (CRF)

Chicago Community and Worker’s Rights (CCWR) is a worker-led organization that develops tools to defend immigrant workers. They fight for fair working conditions, dignified wages, and just living conditions through organizing, advocacy, education, and emergency support for workers in crisis. (SF)

Healing to Action advances a worker-led movement to end gender-based violence in Chicago. Working with grassroots partner organizations, they advanced the Coalition Against Workplace Sexual Violence campaign, which provides low-wage workers a collective healing space and organizing support to fight gender-based violence in the workplace and beyond. (SF, CBI, Lynda J. Tipton Award)

The Little Village Solidarity Network is a mutual support organization of workers, tenants, and neighbors based in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. They jointly address interconnected issues of housing, labor, and immigration through a rapid-response network and neighborhood assemblies to defend neighbors from deportation, displacement, and wage theft. (SF)

The Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago supports the rights of sex workers and their communities with a focus on ending violence, criminalization, and stigma through education, advocacy, and peer support. They offer legal, medical, and mental support while advocating for workers to live healthy and fulfilling lives. (SF)

The Street Vendors Association organizes street vendors to build a strong and inclusive economy without fear of police harassment. They helped to successfully pass the Limited Worker Cooperative Association Act, which enables worker-owned cooperatives to register as business organizations in Illinois. The TA grant supported training and coaching on food preparation and presentation. (SF. TA)

United Taxi Drivers Community Council (UTCC) organizes taxi drivers to improve the working conditions of their industry. Recent campaigns include challenging excessive police ticketing, advocating for increased earnings from fares, equal industry regulations, and an end to violence experienced by taxi drivers. (SF)

Working Family Solidarity strives to unify and amplify the voices of low-wage workers fighting for workers’ rights, housing, and inter- racial solidarity. They provide workshops and trainings while intertwining racial unity dialogues between Latinx and Black communities. The TA grant was for a technology software upgrade. (TA)




A Long Walk Home uses art to educate, mobilize, and empower young people to end violence against girls and women. Their art-based programs include youth-led campaigns to end dating violence, sexual assault, and police and street violence. They also make recommendations for policies and practices for Chicago’s schools, communities, and beyond. (YF, GRAM)

The Youth Leadership Team at the Arab American Action Network runs a youth-led campaign to end racial profiling of Arabs, Muslims, and other oppressed communities through education, community outreach, and direct action. Their goal is to end the use of Suspicious Activity Reports by law enforcement and prevent the implementation of the Countering Violent Extremism program. A CRF grant supported the Take On Hate campaign to draw attention to the harmful rhetoric the Muslim / Arab community faces, specifically in the Palos Township of Illinois. (CRF, YF, Convening Grant)

Assata’s Daughters is a grassroots, intergenerational collective of radical Black women who use an abolitionist framework in all their work. They provide political education, mentoring, and leadership programming for young Black girls and women around the themes of Black history and ancestry, self-care and mindfulness, grassroots organizing, resistance, and activism. (South Side Not Steve)

Blocks Together is a community-led, youth-focused, multi-issue, social justice organization on the Westside of Chicago that is working on challenging the over-policing of youth, preserving quality public education, affordable housing, economic development, and participatory budgeting. Their youth program, Village Keepers, centers healing, organizing, and advocating for community and school-wide change. (YF)

Chicago Freedom School fosters a new generation of young people engaged in social justice through leadership development, social movements’ history, and hands-on engagement. The grant supported their Youth Leadership Ladder, a training cohort for youth to strengthen facilitation skills in the fields of anti-oppression practices, healing justice, and youth organizing. (YF)

Chicago Student Action is a grassroots student organization that recruits and engages college students on campaigns related to a free college education for all, improving onsite mental health services, and ending racial profiling by campus police. (SF)

Circles and Ciphers is a hip-hop infused restorative justice organization led by and for young people impacted by the carceral state. Through art-based peace circles, education, and direct action, they collectively heal and work to bring about the abolition of the prison-industrial complex. (SF, YF)

The Hana Center’s Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is a youth council that engages in civic education, self-expression, campaigns, and collective action for youth and their communities. FYSH centers their work on citizenship, education, health, and justice for all. The YF grant built upon their Decolonize CPS campaign, which incorporated the broader Sanctuary School campaign that targets police injustice and the criminalization of students through the use of the gang database in school. (YF)

Free Street Theater creates performances by and with diverse Chicago artists and communities focused on justice. The grant supported Parched: Stories of Water, Pollution, and Theft, an interactive performance that investigates water access and justice. (YF)

Free Write Arts and Literacy engages incarcerated and court-involved youth and young adults in the performing, visual, and literary arts to become narrators of their own stories and authors of their futures. The YF grant supported their work on the Justice Archives, a project that connects organizing and creative art to reduce recidivism and share the consequences of youth incarceration. (YF)

Illinois Safe Schools Alliance promotes safety and support for LGBTQ youth in Illinois schools and communities through advocacy, education, youth organizing, and research. The YF grant supported Action Camp, a program for LGBTQ+ middle and high school leaders. (Vernita Gray)

LYTE Collective is an organization committed to social justice and helping young people experiencing poverty and homelessness. They offer youth the support they deserve to discover their own unique and remarkable place in this world. (Vernita Gray)

ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that builds collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organizing. The YF grant supported ONE Northside’s youth participation in the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability coalition. (YF, PF)

{she crew} is a multidisciplinary, journaling-to-performance program for young girls and gender nonconforming youth in Chicago. Youth are immersed in social justice issues through self-expression, art, and a youth-led podcast, She Cast. (YF)

Solidarity Studios connects youth in Chicago with Palestinian and South African youth through art and activism. They engage and mobilize the community by weaving racial and political histories to inspire solidarity and spark change through music and action. (YF)

Taking Back Our Lives (TBOL) is a community-based organization that works to end domestic and sexual violence. TBOL encourages teens to examine violence and advocate for change in their schools and communities through their signature program, Take Back the Halls. (YF)  

Territory supports young people in the Albany Park and Uptown communities in building voice, vision, and agency through the practice of design. The YF grant supported their Let Youth Voices Be Heard convening to exchange ideas on art, design, and accessing public space in Chicago. (YF)

The Warehouse Project and Gallery inspires students in Summit, IL, to gather and share stories from their peers on issues important to youth. Through various forms of art, youth seek change in their schools and community that put them at the center of the solutions. (SF, YF)

Universidad Popular Youth Program encourages youth to become change-inducing actors by helping them define peace in the Little Village neighborhood. Their youth-led campaign focuses on identifying “hotspots” of crime and violence in the community, improving these spaces with art and engaging residents in the process. (YF)

Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) creates a supportive environment for LGBTQ youth of color experiencing homelessness to explore their history, investigate new ways to address their struggles, and celebrate their strengths through theatrical performances. (SF, YF, Vernita Gray)

Youth Outlook engages LGBTQ youth in Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb, and surrounding areas by providing community education workshops to counteract heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia. (SF, YF)





 Photo by Sarah-Ji




Crossroads Fund believes that it is vital to the health of Chicago’s organizing ecosystem to support grantees to convene with the aim of developing long-term strategies, building power collectively, and cultivating community solidarity across issues. The following are some of the convenings supported by Crossroads Fund in FY18:


The Chicago SNCC History Project works to document the history of the Chicago SNCC chapter while engaging the current generation of youth and adult activists. The Convening Grant supported their 2019 International Conference on The Global Sixties: Social Movements for Civil Rights, Decolonization, and Human Rights. (Cathy Cohen Black Youth Fund, Convening Grant)

Peace and Education Coalition celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the education classic, Holler If You Hear Me. Students from the Back of the Yards neighborhood joined editor William Ayers, author Greg Michie, and artist Ryan Alexander-Tanner in marking this milestone with an art project and the creation of a graphic novel of the classic to nurture social justice and democratic values in classrooms. (Convening Grant)


Click to see past grantee lists.