Crossroads Fund Awards More Than $1 Million In Grants


Crossroads Fund is excited to announce that we made more than $1 million in grants to 120 powerful grassroots organizations in our recently completed fiscal year, ending June 30th.

It's the most we've given in a single year - ever!

By pooling resources from over 1,000 donors and engaging in a community-driven grantmaking process, Crossroads Fund was able to deliver more resources to the organizers and activists who are imagining and realizing the just Chicago that we deserve.

Chicago's organizing ecosystem is thriving, and we want to celebrate this with you. Thank you for helping to make $1 million in grants possible. 

Follow us on social media with the links at the bottom of the page to stay up to date with future Crossroads Fund news, events, and grant opportunities. #1Mil4Change

  Crossroads Fund Staff   


Since 1981, Crossroads Fund has served as an anchor organization for movement building across the city by moving money for grassroots organizers working at the intersections of racial, social, and economic justice in Chicago. Since day one, we have been committed to using a community grantmaking model to fund bold organizing led by people directly impacted by injustice.

Crossroads Fund is proud to announce that in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) we gave out $1,068,042 in grants to 120 groups working for social change across a spectrum of issues.  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 program(s) they received funding. Programs 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 the current political moment. We also indicate if an organization received a grant through the Capacity Building Initiative (CBI), a collaborative program of the Crossroads Fund that supports organizational growth and development.


We also indicate if a grantee received funding from one of our Partner Funds (PF), which include the following pooled funds and donor advised funds: the GRAM Fund (GRAM), which supports women and girls, rights for Arab Americans, and youth projects; the Grant Fund (Grant), which supports criminal justice reform, organizing, particularly Black-led organizing, and women’s rights; the Eleuterio Fund (Eleuterio), which supports community-based arts, education, peace activism, and reproductive rights; the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative (CYSI), a funders collaborative housed at Crossroads Fund that provides storage spaces for youth experiencing homelessness; the Cathy Cohen Black Youth Leadership Award (Cathy Cohen), which supports black-led youth organizing work around social justice issues affecting communities and families; the Vernita Gray Fund (Vernita Gray), which supports LGBTQ youth and homeless LGBTQ youth; and She100, a giving circle that pools resources to make grants to initiatives which strengthen the power and presence of all Chicago LBTQ women.


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 Award, the Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice, and the Ron Sable Award for Activism.


In FY18, grant amounts ranged from $500 - $80,750 and, unless otherwise noted, the grants are for general operating support.


2018 Grantees



























Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Exhibit showcases the powerful work of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, which, despite its relatively brief existence between November 1968 and December 1969, had 11 branches that operated multiple programs including: Free Breakfast for Children, free health clinics, transportation for families to visit loved ones in prison, and defending itself and the community from police harassment. This grant provided support for their art exhibition. (TA)


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.  Over the years, they have amassed a huge collection of films and media which serves as a critical educational resource locally and nationally. (SF, GRAM)


Free Street Theater creates and incubates performances by and for underrepresented Chicago artists and communities focused on justice. The Critical Response Fund grant supported them in offering the Performance for Direct Action and Intervention series, which provided participants with tools to create, organize, and implement direct actions and interventions that use performance as a key tactic in a larger strategy for social change. (CRF)


Honey Pot Performance is a feminist, creative collaborative that has cultivated an approach to performance that examines identity, belonging and differences in lives and cultural membership through a social justice lens.  Ongoing projects include the Chicago Black Social Culture Map, which provides interactive digital documentation of the Black social culture from the Great Migration to the early 21st century. (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)


Jarochicanos is a youth-driven arts collective that engages in traditional music from Veracruz, Mexico to explore identity and self-expression. They are currently creating the concept of La Escuelita del Barrio Sobre Ruedas (The Little School in the Hood on Wheels) to visit different communities in the Chicagoland area to offer multi-generational programming around culture, language, art, and music in order to build a cultural revolution. (SF)


St. Kateri Center of Chicago provides a space for Native American students and adults to gather, preserve and deepen their indigenous identity while participating in the larger struggles of the community, ie challenging offensive school and college mascots, participating in direct actions including the Standing Rock protest against the oil pipeline that threatens sacred sites. (SF)


The West Side Historical Preservation Society seeks to highlight 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 through preserving historical sites and documents, aspiring to create a museum, and holding public education opportunities and festivals.  (SF)



Vigil for Incarcerated Mothers hosted by Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration at Cook County Jail (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)




Alliance of the Southeast (ASE) is a multi-issue, power-based, community organizing group composed of member institutions on Chicago’s Southeast side. Their work includes: South Side Anti-Violence Endeavor, a youth leadership Council, mentoring/restorative justice programs, tenant organizing, and a coalition effort to obtain Community Benefits Agreements to ensure benefits for local residents via employment, training and education opportunities, affordable housing, and environmental protections. (SF, YF)


Blocks Together is a community-led and youth-focused, multi-issue, social justice organization on the West Side of Chicago that is working on challenging the over-policing of youth, preservation of quality public education, affordable housing, economic development, and participatory budgeting. They also serve as a key local leader in the national Poor People’s Campaign. (SF, YF)


Equiticity advocates for racial equity, particularly around increased mobility, to make lives better for Black, Brown and Indigenous people of color across Chicago. The Critical Response Fund grant supported their work to challenge the increased role of policing in the Vision Zero Chicago Plan. They are advocating for comprehensive, community-building strategies that do not increase community criminalization. (SF, CRF)


Lugenia Burns Hope Center works to develop the civic engagement of residents in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood through education, leadership development, and community organizing. Their work focuses on ending the displacement of low-income and working Black families by implementing rent control, empowering Local School Councils, and building police accountability at the city level. (SF)


Northside Action for Justice is a multi-issue, membership-based organization in Uptown and Rogers Park working on campaigns for living wages, affordable housing, and quality public education. Their education campaign includes a Sustainable Community Schools Village in which local area schools would partner to create a unified vision for themselves and the surrounding community. On a citywide level, the “village” would support vital education justice efforts such as an elected school board, an end to school closings, and a progressive revenue stream to support schools. (SF)


Residents Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE) is a resident-led organization that mobilizes people and resources, breaks down barriers in communication, and promotes positivity through solutions-based approaches to, ultimately, force a change in the community. Their work is focused on community development and neighborhood safety. (SF)


Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) is a community-based organization in the Hyde Park-Woodlawn neighborhood. Recent accomplishments include stopping the displacement of low-income and working-class black residents; compensation for human rights violations occurring in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center; halting the closure of four mental health clinics; and winning a commitment to build the only medical trauma center on the Southside. STOP addresses injustice through tenant and youth organizing, action research and education, and alliance-building between tenants, homeowners, youth, students, labor unions, and others. (SF, YF)


Ixchel Families for Equitable Education and Environmental Justice is a community-based organization in Cicero. Their objectives include working to dismantle the educational inequity that profoundly disadvantages Brown and Black students in local public schools, and taking on local environmental injustices such as noxious odors from the water reclamation plant, proposed waste removal from Chicago to be dumped in Stickney, and the presence of lead in drinking water.  (SF)


People for Community Recovery is a community-based environmental justice organization that addresses environmental pollution, the adverse impact of Chicago Housing Authority public housing policies, and other social justice issues in the Riverdale community. Their current focus is on the development of a “solar farm” that would provide alternative energy resources and create career opportunities for local residents. (SF)


   A performance at The Visibility Project hosted by A Long Walk Home, Inc. (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



Alternatives to Calling Police During Mental Health Crises is a community-based effort to train people in de-escalation techniques and ways to protect psychiatrically disabled and mentally ill community members from police violence and the criminal justice system. The Technical Assistance Grant supported them in expanding their workshop series and technology updates. (TA)


Black and Pink Chicago is a collaboration of LGBTQ prisoners and their allies working together to stem the violence experienced by prisoners, especially LGBTQ prisoners, and to end the use of solitary confinement. This is accomplished through advocacy, public education, direct services, and organizing. (SF)


Black Lives Matter Chicago is working to end state violence and the criminalization of Black communities through: supporting families impacted by state violence; Our Story, a community-centered project to lift up young people’s voices and experiences; a campaign to both destigmatize mental health care and to build an alternative mental health care system, and organizing with the national Poor People’s Campaign. The Critical Response Fund grant supported their Justice for RonnieMan campaign. (SF, CRF)


Black Youth Project 100 is a national, member-based organization of 18-35-year-old 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, and research and political education. (Grant)


Chicago Books to Women in Prison is an all-volunteer organization that provides paperback books to incarcerated women and educates the public on the harsh realities of mass incarceration. The Technical Assistance grant supported them in attending the 15th International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference, where they presented on Books-to-Prison Pipeline: Critical Support and Advocacy for Incarcerated Women. (TA)


Chicago Community Bond Fund operates a revolving fund that pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County, provides education 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 Technical Assistance grant supported their strategic planning process. (SF, TA, Grant)


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. The Center is part of and supports a movement to end all forms of police violence. CTJC received the Donald Erickson Synapses Award on behalf of the coalition that fought and won a historic reparations package for the torture survivors of former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Burge. (SF, CBI, GRAM, Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award)


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 Technical Assistance grant supported the purchase of financial management software. (SF, TA)


Live Free Chicago believes that the Black church - historically a cornerstone in the Black community when it comes to resources, justice, healing, and restoration - is uniquely positioned to be a source of peace and systemic change. They are currently organizing congregations on the south and west sides of Chicago as part of their broader direct action campaign to create an adequately funded citywide strategy to address gun violence in Chicago. (SF)


Love and Protect supports women and gender non-conforming people of color who are criminalized and/or harmed by state and interpersonal violence. They provide direct, immediate support to criminalized survivors and through education and awareness-raising events, work to develop a community-wide analysis of why survivors of violence are targeted by the system. (SF)


March to the Polls: Women’s March Chicago was the second annual Women’s March in Chicago, attended by 300,000 people. It provided an opportunity for people to come together to build power and community solidarity for the 2018 March primary and November general election. The Critical Response Fund grant supported logistical dimensions of the march and targeted outreach to communities of color. (CRF)


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 towards an abolitionist agenda. (SF)


No Cop Academy Campaign is a youth-led effort, supported by community organizations across Chicago, that wants to see $95 million invested in communities rather than in a new police training academy. The grants they received supported them in the early stages of the campaign and allowed them to send a cohort of young people to the Highlander Center for Research and Education for training focused on social movements, history, and community organizing. (CRF, Cathy Cohen Black Youth Fund)


Restore Justice Foundation advocates for fairness, humanity, and compassion throughout the Illinois criminal justice system, with a primary focus on youth serving extreme sentences. They create and support policies that allow youth to go home, and ensure that those incarcerated, their families, and the families of victims have opportunities for healing and justice. The Technical Assistance grant supported an overhaul of their database system.  (SF, TA)


Sister Survivor promotes the civic voice and celebrates the resilience of Black women and girls who have been harmed by America’s prison policies by working to eradicate the stigma around the topic of bondage and amplifying the collateral consequences of America's addiction to incarceration and violence. The Seed Fund grant supported the Underground Rounds discussion series that spotlights the ways in which institutional structures of domination shape Black women's public and private realities. (SF)


Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) is led by low-income people of color in the Chicago southland working on criminal justice reform and racial equity campaigns. They are members of a coalition working to introduce and pass new legislation that aims to address the needs of formerly incarcerated job seekers and enact meaningful criminal justice reform in Illinois - the Jobs Not Jail bill. (SF, Convening Grant)


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 establishing and nurturing community trust through restorative justice practices. The Seed Fund grant supports their Community Advocates program, which trains community members in accessing the justice system and advocating for their rights. (SF)


Women’s All Points Bulletin is composed of women survivors of police violence and their families. They advocate for more civilian oversight of law enforcement, amplify the voices of victims and survivors of police assault, provide testimony to local, national and international bodies, and engage in building public awareness of police violence. (SF)


   Protesters at a march and rally to Abolish ICE and End Family Detention (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



Alliance for Community Services brings together people with disabilities, front-line workers, community activists, and others to promote the accessibility of  Medicaid, food stamps, disability services, collective bargaining, and community resources, which are under attack due to the State’s “austerity” approach that leads to privatization of public needs. (SF)


Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers works to expand mental health services to poor and underserved communities by empowering communities to create Expanded Mental Health Services Programs. These programs, pioneered by the Coalition, empower local communities in Chicago to envision and build their own community initiated, funded, and overseen mental health centers. These centers provide services tailored to the needs of local community residents. After successful campaigns in Albany Park and on the West Side, they are now organizing to win a new center to serve the Logan Square/Avondale/Hermosa neighborhoods. (SF)


Chicago Women’s Health Center facilitates the empowerment of women and trans-identified individuals by providing access to both high-quality and accessible health care and health education in a respectful and affordable environment. (Grant)


Illinois Birth Justice is dedicated to supporting incarcerated pregnant women and new mothers before, during, and after birth to build positive futures for themselves and their families. In addition to these direct services, they are currently organizing for extended doula services to justice-involved women in Cook County. (SF)


Local School Councils for All Coalition is comprised of many education justice organizations who have banded together to empower and expand Local School Councils (LSCs) in Chicago. Their goal is to institute LSCs at all schools that receive public funds, including charter/military/contract schools. Their work includes in-depth training for LSC members, citywide meet-ups, and policy advocacy. (PF)


Parents 4 Teachers is an all-volunteer organization that brings together teachers and parents to advocate for quality schools for all children. They organize against the underlying causes of inequality, i.e. institutional racism, social and economic inequity, and corporate privatization of public resources. The Critical Response Fund grant supported their special education advocacy work and enabled them to provide resources to Spanish-speaking CPS parents. (SF, CRF, TA)


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, and advance the rights and abilities of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices. (Eleuterio)


Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education works to engage, inform, and empower parents to advocate for strong, quality public education for all children in Chicago and Illinois. The Critical Response Fund grant supported their Special Education Parent Advocacy Initiative. This initiative trained and mobilized parents/guardians to fight for — and eventually win — interventions and changes to CPS’ special education provision policy. (SF, CRF, GRAM)


Reading Between the Lines uses a discussion of literature to build critical thinking and communication skills with formerly and currently incarcerated people. This intellectual exchange nurtures self-confidence and collaboration, offering participants a chance for a better future. (Eleuterio)


Ujimaa Medics is a collective of Black people and people of color who are committed to training residents in communities with high incidents of shootings on Urban Emergency First Response. The training focuses on crucial, immediate patient stabilization care prior to the arrival of paramedics for gunshot victims, and people experiencing seizures, heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, and mental health incidents. They have trained hundreds of people in Chicago and beyond. (SF)


The Women’s Voices Fund is a project of Women & Children First Bookstore, an independent feminist bookstore.  The Fund seeks to support, sustain, and develop an ongoing program series focused on women’s lives, ideas, and work.  (PF)



Autonomous Tenants Union (ATU) is a tenant-led, all-volunteer organization that is deeply committed to building a movement of empowered tenants in Albany Park. Their goal is to secure the neighborhood as a No-Displacement zone through organizing, advocacy, and education. They organize alongside tenants and leverage the power of tenant unions to halt evictions and keep rent affordable in order to preserve the community. (SF)


Chicago Housing Initiative is a coalition of ten community organizations who work together to amplify the power of low-income Chicago residents to preserve, improve, and expand subsidized rental housing and stabilize communities against displacement. Their current campaign, The Power Shift Project, aims to recruit, organize, mobilize, and sustain a housing justice base of 10,000 strong across four key wards in the City of Chicago with a goal of rebalancing power on affordable housing policy and practice. (SF)


Lift the Ban Coalition is a coalition of organizations leading a campaign to lift the statewide ban on rent control policies and then establish rent control for Chicago residents. Through this, they hope to protect affordable housing, stop gentrification, and prevent unjust evictions. (PF)


Pilsen Alliance is a social justice organization committed to developing grassroots leadership and community-directed development in Pilsen and neighboring working-class immigrant communities. They are leading campaigns for quality public education through community participation; working to preserve affordable housing by participating in the Lift the Ban Coalition, supporting housing campaigns such as the Keep the Promise Ordinance and Just Cause to Evict Ordinance; and advocating for Community Benefits Agreements. (SF, YF)


Pilsen Housing Co-Op is working to build a scattered-site, limited-equity, housing cooperative as a mechanism to counteract the aggressive gentrification and displacement of working-class families and Latino artists in Pilsen. The Technical Assistance Fund grant supported their initial research on housing cooperatives and strategic planning for the organization. (TA)


   #NoCopAcademy demonstrators lead a chant at City Hall (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



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


Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP) works for a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through public education, civic participation, direct action, and advocacy. This year they hosted a second annual convening to bring together youth organizers and activists from around the city to learn from and share best practices with each other. (SF, Convening - YF)


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, and displacement — and the ways in which gentrification is affecting the Chicago Puerto Rican community. They received a Critical Response Fund grant to support their organizing and advocacy work on behalf of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. (SF, CRF)



Albany Park Defense Network is a community-based, rapid response network designed to protect neighbors from ICE raids and immigration enforcement. The Critical Response Fund grant supported them in expanding their three areas of work: a local rapid response system, block-by-block organizing, and work on individual immigration defense cases. (CRF)


Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) is a grassroots community organization that builds the capacity of Filipino/a/xs to organize on issues of social, racial, and economic justice that affect undocumented immigrants, domestic workers, seniors, and youth. AFIRE fights for worker and immigrant rights through its community organizing and legal clinic programs. (SF, YF)


The Chicago Law and Education Foundation (CLEF) provides access to legal representation and information on legal rights and responsibilities for low-income persons by utilizing schools and libraries as community centers. CLEF operates legal clinics in 20 Chicago public high schools. (SF)


Chicago Religious Leadership Network (CRLN) organizes congregations and people of faith to respond to injustices experienced by undocumented immigrants through the use of public witness, education, and political advocacy. Their Expanding Sanctuary framework advocates for a stronger Welcoming City Ordinance in Chicago, ending the use of the gang database, and cutting the flow of funding to immigration enforcement in the federal budget. (SF)


Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative is a collaboration of 12 local funders and 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 work together in coalitions to mobilize for change. (TA)


Immigrant Solidarity DuPage maintains a Workers Center that provides both direct and legal services to mostly low-wage workers, publishes a newsletter which features the diverse voices of the immigrant community, and serves as a community organizing axis for Latinos in DuPage County. (SF)


No More Deaths is a humanitarian organization based in southern Arizona that works to end death and suffering in the US-Mexico borderlands while fighting for immigration reform.  The organization provides direct aid to migrants crossing the border in the desert and documents their abuse, neglect, and mistreatment at the hands of border patrol and detention center officials. (PF)


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. Additionally, 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. (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 Chicago and surrounding areas. This is done through organizing, advocacy, education, direct action, civil disobedience, and cross-movement building. The Critical Response Fund grant supported their response to the dramatic increase in ICE raids in the Western Suburbs, as well as other emergency work. (CRF, GRAM, YF, SF)


Protect Rogers Park is comprised of neighbors who come together to protect each other, especially those who are targeted because of their nation of origin, legal status, faith, gender expression, or race. The Critical Response Fund grant supported the development of their rapid response network, as well as longer-term strategic planning. (CRF)


Proyecto de Accion 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. The Critical Response Fund grant supported them in responding to the dramatic increase in ICE raids in the Western Suburbs. PASO was also awarded the 2018 Ron Sable Award. (CRF, Eleuterio, Ron Sable Award for Activism)


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


Telpochcalli Community Education Project (TCEP) is committed to addressing the lack of community resources available to families in the Little Village neighborhood and engages in youth organizing using a non-violence and mindfulness framework. The Critical Response grant supported their Know Your Rights! training program in the wake of increased ICE presence in Little Village. (CRF)


UNION Impact Center provides opportunities for youth and families of the Back of the Yards neighborhood and surrounding communities to create meaningful change. UNION builds “sanctuary spaces” by integrating organizing and advocacy focused on youth safety, immigration, education, and policing reform into its ongoing programs. (SF)



About Face Youth Theatre is a theatre, activism, and leadership development program offered free of charge to LGBTQI+ and allied youth, ages 13-24. They are committed to exploring and expanding the boxes used to define our intricate intersections of race, nationality, gender, and sexuality. (YF)


Affinity Community Services serves African-American lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in Chicago. They combine direct services and community-building with advocacy/activism, with a focus on coalition building, civic engagement, health and wellness, and leadership development. (SF)


Changing Worlds improves academic and art skills for students in grades K-12 by integrating cultural, family, and community histories with writing and the arts for participants to explore their own backgrounds, promote peace, and learn about others. This grant supported the planning and implementation of The Adelitas: Women of Courage, a project celebrating the queer, cis, and trans women in the world who work for peace and social justice. (She100)


Masjid al-Rabia is a women-centered, LGBTQIA+ affirming, anti-racist, accessible, pluralist Muslim organization providing spiritual care for marginalized Muslims. (She100)


Quare Square Collective is a network of queer artists of color who work for greater inclusion of marginalized artists in mainstream publications, performances, and media. They produce community arts programs featuring queer artists of color. (She100)


Transformative Justice Law Project is a collective of lawyers, activists, and organizers committed to gender self-determination, transformative justice, and prison abolition. They provide direct legal services for transgender/genderqueer individuals in and outside of prison, resources and training curriculum for lawyers and social workers, and they organize for policy change. The Technical Assistance grant supported their strategic planning process. (SF, TA)


   A piece from For The People's exhibition, "Do Not Resist? 100 Years of Chicago Police Violence." (photo credit: 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 Critical Response Fund grant supported them in responding to increased workplace ICE raids in the south suburbs. (SF, CRF)


Chicago Community and Worker’s Rights (CCWR) is a worker-led organization which employs collective strategies of resistance against labor rights abuses, fights for just living conditions, and provides emergency support for workers in crisis. The Critical Response Fund grant supported them in responding to increased workplace ICE raids, and in providing additional know-your-rights trainings around raids at the workplace. (SF, CRF)


Chicago Workers Collaborative is a coalition of temporary staffing workers based in the Latino and African-American communities who collectively build community power to end gender-based violence in the workplace and at home, offer workers resistance theatre through a partnership with Looking Glass Theater Company, and fight to reform the temporary staffing industry through organizing, public education, worker trainings, and litigation. (PF)


Healing to Action advances a worker-led movement to fight gender violence in Chicago. Working with grassroots partner organizations, Healing to Action is piloting a capacity-building model to give low-wage workers a collective healing space and organizing support to ignite solutions to fight gender violence in the workplace and beyond. (SF, GRAM, CBI, Convening)


The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago supports the rights of sex workers and their communities with a focus on ending violence and stigma through education, advocacy, and peer support. The Critical Response Fund grant supported their advocacy work of highlighting the further criminalization of sex work by the passage of SESTA/FOSTA Act, a law intended to curb sex trafficking. (SF, CRF)


The Street Vendors Association organizes street vendors to ensure that they are able to sell their food without fear of police harassment. They successfully advocated for an ordinance that legalizes street vending in Chicago for food prepared in licensed commercial kitchens and have successfully launched their own kitchen. Their current campaign is focused on changing state laws to recognize worker-owned cooperatives as legal business organizations in Illinois. (SF)


United Taxi Drivers Community Council (UTCC) organizes taxi drivers to improve the working conditions of the taxi industry. Their recent campaigns include: challenging excessive police ticketing, advocating for equal industry regulations specifically to those accorded to the rideshare industry, and an end to violence experienced by taxi drivers. The Technical Assistance grant supported their technology upgrade. (SF, TA)


Warehouse Workers for Justice organizes warehouse workers to: defend their rights as temporary, full-time or contract workers, challenge abuses (wage theft, sexual harassment, racial discrimination etc.), hold employers accountable through negotiation, litigation and policy changes, and build public support for warehouse workers. (PF)


Working Family Solidarity builds interracial solidarity among low-wage workers and tenants through tenant organizing, “know your rights” training for immigrants and workers, and through racial unity dialogues between the Latinx and Black communities. They are coalition members for the Fight for $15 and Lift the Ban campaigns. (SF)



A Long Walk Home uses art to educate, mobilize, and empower young people to end violence against girls and women. Their curriculum includes: youth-led art campaigns, lesson plans on gender-based violence prevention, reproductive health, state and police brutality prevention, parent engagement, youth leadership, and self-care activities. (YF, CBI, GRAM) 


The Youth Leadership Team at the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) runs a youth-led campaign to end racial profiling of Arabs, Muslims, and other oppressed communities. The campaign’s ultimate goal is to end the use of Suspicious Activity Reports by law enforcement as well as prevent the implementation of the up-and-coming Countering Violent Extremism program. (YF)


Assata’s Daughters is a grassroots, intergenerational collective of radical Black women who use an abolitionist framework in all their work.  They provide mentoring and weekly programming for young Black girls and women around the themes of Black history and ancestry, self-care and mindfulness, the environment, grassroots organizing, resistance, and activism. (YF)


Chicago Freedom School works to create a new generation of young people engaged in social justice through leadership development, the study of past social movements, and hands-on engagement. This grant supported Project HealUs, which activated and prepared fifteen young people of color to explore, engage and expand the work of the reproductive justice movement within their communities. (YF)


Chicago Park District’s Young Cultural Stewards Program cultivates young people (ages 12-15) as caretakers of culture and agents of change within their parks and neighborhoods. Youth explore issues such as immigration, gentrification, police brutality, and the concept of decolonizing schools. (YF)


Chicago Student Action is a grassroots student power organization that recruits and trains college-based students around campaigns related to living wages, fair financial aid practices, ending racial profiling by university police, and university divestment from fossil fuels. (SF, YF)


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, GRAM)


Illinois Safe Schools Alliance works to promote safety and support for LGBTQ youth in Illinois schools and communities through advocacy, education, youth organizing, and research. The Youth Fund grant supported Action Camp, a program for LGBTQ+ middle and high school leaders, which focused on youth organizing, body positivity, anti-oppression, non-punitive conflict resolution, and trauma awareness. (Gray, TA)


Imagine Englewood If works with the greater Englewood community youth and families on healthy living, environmental justice awareness, community safety, and other youth programs. The Youth Fund grant supported their Growing Citizen Leaders program, which provides participants with a deeper understanding of the connection between systemic discrimination and the current social and economic situation of Englewood as an impetus to work for change. (YF)


ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that builds collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organizing. The Youth Fund grant supported ONE Northside’s youth leadership on their police accountability campaign, which calls for more transparent police union contracts and community oversight of the police civilian board. (YF, Grant)


Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation engages at-risk and court-involved young men, ages 14-24, who reside in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. They are a longtime leader in practicing and providing training in restorative justice work. The Youth Fund grant provided training on restorative justice practices to youth from other neighborhoods while building a collective vision of youth safety. (YF)


{she crew} is a multidisciplinary, journaling-to-performance empowerment program for young girls in Chicago, ages 12-14. Youth are immersed in social justice issues through a for-youth-by-youth podcast, writing, and performances. (YF)


Solidarity Studios aims to empower disconnected communities facing similar economic and political injustices by amplifying the voices of local artists and giving them the tools to organize and mobilize their communities locally and globally via music, especially hip-hop. (YF)


Srewolf and Nitram Foundation H.E.A.R.T.S. is a community initiative in the south suburbs dedicated to community development. The Seed Fund grant supported their Restorative Justice programming, which includes a youth diversion program, restorative justice training for community members, and advocacy work around making restorative justice trainings and implementation mandatory in all public schools. (SF)


Territory supports young people in building voice, vision, and agency through the practice of design in the Albany Park and Uptown communities. In addition to creating youth-friendly design spaces, they also provide walking tours, called Walk in Our Shoes, for adults to experience Chicago as teens navigating a teen/youth-averse city. (YF)


The Warehouse Project and Gallery inspires students in the suburb of Summit to share and gather stories from their peers on issues important to youth. Through art (dance, music, theatre, spoken word and visual) youth seek systemic changes that put them at the center of the solutions. The Technical Assistance grant supported their receiving restorative justice training from Circles and Ciphers. (TA, SF, YF)


Universidad Popular’s youth program empowers youth to become change inducing actors in their community by helping them define peace in Little Village. Their three-step, youth-led campaign focused on identifying "hotspots" of crime and violence in the community, working to improve these spaces with art and attention, and, finally, engaging residents to visit the artwork and partake in meaningful discussions on the policy changes needed to address the root causes that propagate these "hotspots". (YF)


Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) cultivates a safe 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 performance pieces. (SF, YF, Vernita Gray)


Youth Outlook engages LGBTQ youth in the western suburbs of Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb and surrounding areas by providing community education workshops to counteract heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia. The Technical Assistance grant provided support for their staff to get trained on the Benevon Fundraising model. (SF, YF, TA)


   Marchers at Families Belong Together rally and march in Chicago (photo credit: Sarah-Ji)  



The Chicago Youth Storage Initiative (CYSI) was founded in 2015 by the Pierce Family Foundation, Knight Family Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, and Windy City Times, and has been housed at the Crossroads Fund. Several additional foundations contributed to CYSI's efforts, including Prince Charitable Trust, Alvin H. Baum Family Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Owens Foundation, Paul Angell Foundation, as well as many individual donors.


CYSI’s purpose was to improve the lives of young people experiencing homelessness through the provision of physical and virtual storage access options that serve a wide range of experiences and needs. It recently concluded in July 2018, after installing 755 safe storage options (including daily/overnight secure storage access with phone charging capabilities; virtual or cloud-based storage; and more) at 22 overnight youth shelters, drop-in centers, and schools in all regions of the city. This was triple the storage of the original goal of the initiative, and has benefited thousands of young people around the city. CYSI has passed the torch for the work and future management of the project to the LYTE Collective, a grassroots program now renovating a building complex in Grand Crossing on Chicago’s South Side. They will have 200 additional storage units in addition to many other services for youth experiencing housing instability and poverty. The following organizations have operated as partners in administering CYSI's objectives through grants they received:


Arrupe College of Loyola University – Chicago is a two-year college committed to offering a rigorous liberal arts education to a diverse population. They use an innovative model that ensures affordability while providing care for the whole person as they prepare their graduates to continue on to a bachelor’s program or move into meaningful employment. (CYSI)


Association House Chicago is a nonprofit organization, located in Humboldt Park, providing comprehensive, collaborative, and effective programs in English and Spanish around health and wellness, as well as opportunities for educational and economic advancement. (CYSI)


Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center located on the South Side of Chicago, and is designed to create and provide affirming and culturally competent services for the entire LGBTQ community. Their work focuses on health and wellness, leadership development, and visibility. (SF, CYSI)


Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive community-center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the LGBTQ people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 people visit the center every day. (CYSI)


Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas that provides shelter, food, immediate crisis care, and an array of other services to homeless and runaway youth. They serve over 46,000 young people every year. (CYSI)


Howard Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by LGBTQ people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness. The agency serves more than 27,000 adults and youth every year in its diverse health and social service delivery system. (CYSI)


La Casa Norte meets youth and families experiencing homelessness where they’re at and helps them move to increased stability. They provide access to housing and deliver comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. (CYSI)


The Love, Unity and Values (LUV) Institute supports young people, ages 11-24, who face challenges with college and career readiness. They work to provide the foundational skills that young people need for successful navigation by using literacy, art, and well-being as pathways to the workforce of tomorrow. (CYSI)


The LYTE Collective is the future home of the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative and is a community center for youth experiencing poverty and homelessness. (CYSI)


Mercy Home for Boys and Girls has supported over 30,000 people through its comprehensive programming, including: a residential treatment home, aftercare support for former residents and their families, community-based youth mentoring, and life skills development. (CYSI)


Pathways in Education – IL is an Alternative Learning Opportunities Program in Chicago dedicated to serving the local community and supporting at-risk and underserved students in grades 9-12. (CYSI)



Crossroads Fund believes that it is vital to the health of Chicago’s organizing ecosystem that support is offered for groups to convene to develop a long-term strategy, build power collectively, promote healing, and to cultivate community solidarity across issues. By providing grants which allow groups to create intentional space to delve deeper into issues of injustice, Crossroads Fund believes that organizers will be better equipped to envision the more just Chicago we all deserve. The following are convenings that Crossroads Fund supported:


The Power of Culture, Leadership and Resiliency Training, led by Dr. Juana Bordas, was a collaborative effort with the Chicago Community Trust. The program was designed to provide grantees leaders of color and their allies with practical training and guiding principles to sustain their work for the long haul. (Convening Grant)


For the People Artist Collective is a collective of artists of color in Chicago who exist to make the radical power of art accessible to marginalized communities and movements. The Convening Grant supported Do Not Resist? 100 Years of Chicago Police Violence, a month-long, city-wide exhibition focused on the history of police violence in Chicago featuring 40 artists from over 25 Chicago neighborhoods. The exhibition was paired with teach-ins, workshops, performances, and panels on topics of policing, challenging state violence, exploring abolition practices, and community healing. (SF, CRF)


Critical Resistance’s conference, Chicago for Abolition, featured five events that advanced a stronger shared understanding of the prison industrial complex and the abolitionist movement, amplified local organizing for social justice and abolition, and built a stronger movement for liberation. (Convening Grant)


Challenging Electronic Monitoring in Cook County Summit convened individuals and organizations who are critically impacted by electronic monitoring in the criminal legal and immigration systems, including people on parole, pretrial release, those who are juvenile justice-involved, and people released from immigration detention. The event provided political education for attendees, and served as the local launch of the #NODIGITALPRISONS Campaign. (TA)


The Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria and the Crisis of Colonialism Symposium brought together scholars, organizers, filmmakers, and community members to discuss what can be done to promote grassroots rebuilding and resistance to continued colonization and corporate exploitation in the wake of Hurricane Maria. (PF)


The Hana Center's Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is a youth council that engages in education, analysis building, self-expression, and collective action towards change for youth and their communities. They received a Convening Grant to support a Chicago delegation to the Woori Ujimaa: Black +AAPI Immigrants Building Power convening, which created a space for national relationship building and strategy set for the coming year. They also received a Critical Response Fund grant to support their organizing around the passage of a clean DREAM Act in Washington DC. (CRF, YF)


The Chicago SNCC History Project works to document the history of the Chicago SNCC chapter and convene civil rights leaders to connect to the current generation of youth/adult activists. The Convening Grant supported a two-day Black History Month Workshop and planning meeting for their 2019 International Conference on The Global Sixties. They also received the 2018 Lynda J. Tipton Award. (Lynda J. Tipton Memorial Award for Social Justice, Convening Grant)


Click to see past grantee lists.