Our Grantees


Photo by movement photographer Sarah-Ji 


Crossroads Fund 2017 Grantees


Crossroads Fund is proud to announce that in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) we gave out $683,105 in grants to 92 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 Emergency Fund (EF). This year, we also added a new fund called 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 a grantee received funding from one of our Partner Funds (PF), which include pooled funds and donor advised funds.  We specify if grants came from one of the following named Partner Funds: the GRAM Fund (GRAM) which supports women and girls, rights for Arab Americans, and youth projects; the Eleuterio Fund (Eleuterio) which supports community-based arts, education, peace activism, 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 Grey Fund (Vernita Gray), which supports LGBTQ youth and homeless LGBTQ youth; Bending the Arc: The Robert Howard Annual Symposium (Bending the Arc), an annual event or project in honor of Robert Howard, a civil rights attorney and activist; the Gail Smith Advocacy Fund (Gail Smith), which supports policy and advocacy concerning justice for incarcerated women and girls in Illinois; 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 FY17, grant amounts ranged from $1,000 - $24,000, and the average grant was $7,300. Unless otherwise noted, the grants are for general operating support.



























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. They are a critical educational resource. (SF, GRAM)



First Nations Film and Video Festival, Inc. is the only film and video festival in Chicago dedicated to providing a venue to the overlooked and under-represented Native American movie makers of all skill levels. They advocate for and celebrate the works of Native American filmmakers, and films that break racial stereotypes and promote awareness of Native American issues. All films screened are written and/or produced and directed by Native American artists from the United States, Canada, Central and South America and Mexico. (SF)



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. (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.This year, Crossroads Fund partnered with the Illinois Humanities Council on two events around education justice as part of the Bending the Arc Annual Symposium. (Eleuterio, Bending the Arc)



Jarochicanos is a youth-driven arts collective that engages in traditional music from Veracruz-Mexico. Participants explore identity and self-expression and use performance to support local social change movements. (SF)






Alliance of the Southeast (ASE) is a multi-issue, power-based community organizing group composed of member institutions on Chicago’s southeast side. Their campaigns focus on anti-violence, community safety, housing, community benefit agreements, youth leadership and education.The technical assistance grant they received helped them provide restorative justice training for their youth organizers. (SF, TA, YF)



Autonomous Tenants Union (ATU) is a tenant-led, all-volunteer organization that is deeply committed to organizing alongside tenants to halt evictions, leverage the power of tenant unions to keep rent affordable, and preserve its community. (SF)



Blocks Together is a multi-issue social justice organization on the West Side of Chicago addressing affordable housing, public education, economic development, participatory budgeting and other community issues. The Critical Response Fund grant they received is supporting them in launching the Poor People’s Campaign, which aims to build a broad and deep national moral movement rooted in the leadership of poor people to unite our country “from the bottom up”. (SF, YF, CRF)



Chicago ADAPT is a grassroots disability justice organization fighting to end institutional bias against people with disabilities. This technical assistance grant supported them in upgrading financial management practices. (TA)



The Chicago Disability Activism Coalition (CDAC) aims to build a powerbase in Chicago across disability groups to form disability justice campaigns and fight structures that impact all people with disabilities. The technical assistance grant they received supported them in hosting their first annual summit to advance cross-disability justice. (SF, TA)



Garfield Park Community Council organizes residents of Garfield Park to bring about changes in housing policies while addressing issues related to lack of city services and resources. They also organize around issues of food access and economic development. (SF)



IL Women’s March on Springfield was funded by the Critical Response Fund, and brought together 2000 individuals representing over 100 organizations in Springfield to educate and agitate for progressive legislation being proposed in the spring session of the Illinois Legislature. (CRF)



The March to Springfield was an action supported by the Critical Response Fund. Led by Fair Economy Illinois, people marched from Chicago to Springfield to advocate for a People and Planet First Budget. The coalition of organizations involved included Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Chicago Student Action, ONE Northside, National Nurses United, the People’s Lobby and Illinois People’s Action.  (CRF)


Neighbors for Affordable Housing in Jefferson Park is a new organization that emerged from the Chicago Housing Initiative's (CHI) work to support a new affordable housing development in Jefferson Park. This development has faced a racist backlash and there has been recorded alt-right basebuilding in the community. This Critical Response Fund grant supported CHI in building an anti-racist opposition and pushing forward this affordable housing project. (CRF)


Northside Action for Justice is a multi-issue membership based organization working in Uptown and Rogers Park on living wage, job creation, affordable housing, preservation of quality public education, public safety and economic justice issues. (SF)



Residents Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE) is a resident-led organization working to mobilize people and resources to force a change in the community by breaking down barriers in communication and promoting positivity through solutions-based approaches. Their work is focused on community development and neighborhood safety. (SF)



South Side Together Organizing for Power (STOP) organizes primarily African American tenants, youth, and consumers of mental health services in the Hyde Park-Woodlawn neighborhood to address housing, gentrification, healthcare and criminalization of youth. (SF, YF)






Ixchel Families for Equitable Education and Environmental Justice is a community-based organization in Cicero that is working on environmental justice, education and immigration justice issues in their community through leadership development, research and organizing. The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported them in organizing for passage of a Welcoming City Ordinance in Cicero. (SF, CRF)



People for Community Recovery, a community-based environmental justice organization, addresses environmental pollution, the adverse impact of Chicago Housing Authority public housing policies, and social justice issues in the Riverdale community. (SF)





Alliance for Community Services is an alliance between people that depend on Medicaid, disability services and other human services organizing with front-line human services employees to resist an austerity agenda that leads to privatization of public needs. The technical assistance grant they received supported them in upgrading their technology around online activism and communications. (SF, TA)



Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce includes classroom teachers, parents, educators, students and community activists from across Chicago. They produce resources and alternative curriculum based in social justice movements that addresses the inadequacy of current curriculum used in most urban schools. (SF)



Lifted Voices is an action-oriented organizing collective whose femme and non-binary membership provide tactical education in the city of Chicago. This Critical Response grant supported direct action trainings throughout the winter and spring. (CRF)



Parents 4 Teachers is an all-volunteer organization that brings together teachers and parents to fight for quality schools for all children by organizing against underlying causes of inequality i.e. institutional racism, social and economic inequity and corporate privatization of public resources.  (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, and advance the right and ability of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices. (Eleuterio)






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



Black on Both Sides highlights the voices and experiences of Black/African-American foster youth, while launching direct action organizing campaigns to address root causes of the foster-care-to-prison pipeline. They believe in centering the lives and stories of those most directly impacted, and use story sharing, laughter and direct action organizing together to bring long-term sustainable change to both the foster care system and the prison system. (SF)



Cabrini Green Legal Aid provides free legal services to low-income residents of Chicago. This grant supports their ongoing advocacy work. (Gail Smith)


The Chicago Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression (CAARPR) campaigns against police crimes committed primarily against the poor and people of color, and continues to fight for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council in the city of Chicago. (SF)



Chicago Books to Women in Prison is an all-volunteer organization that has been providing paperback books to incarcerated women in the US since 2002. The main mission is to reach women behind bars but CBWP is also invested in educating those who are not imprisoned about the harsh realities of mass incarceration. The technical assistance grant they received supported them in holding a series of focus groups at Logan Correctional Center to improve their services of providing books to women in prison.  (TA, GRAM)



Chicago Community Bond Fund operates a revolving fund that pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County and provides education on the role of bond in the criminal legal system while advocating for the abolition of money bond and other forms of pretrial punishment. (SF)



The Chicago Torture Justice Center (CTJC) is being established to address the traumas of institutionalized racism through the implementation of the historic reparations package for the torture survivors of former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Burge. (SF, TA, GRAM)



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 government more accountable, accessible and transparent.The technical assistance grant they received will help them purchase specialized software solutions that will enhance organizational capabilities around fundraising and communications. (SF, TA)



First Defense Legal Aid provides free legal counsel to individuals in neighborhoods with high police interaction while they are in police custody. In addition, they provide a Hotline Program, “Know Your Rights” trainings, education, and advocacy for a fair criminal justice system. The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported them in organizing a series of teach-ins on “What’s at Stake” for particular demographics when they come in contact with police. Teach-in focuses include children and youth, immigrants, people with mental illness, the LGBTQ community and survivors of police violence. (SF, CRF, YF)



The Prison Liberation Collective is a group of people who have experience with solitary confinement who are working to end the use of solitary confinement in Illinois prisons. This technical assistance grant supported them with organizational start-up expenses and fundraising. (TA)



Project NIA is a prison abolition organization that offers a new way of thinking about crime and violence. They use the principles of participatory community justice to reduce the reliance on arrest, detention, and incarceration of youth by promoting the use of restorative and transformative practices. (Ron Sable Award for Activism)



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 those who are rehabilitated to go home, and ensure that those incarcerated, their families, and victim families have opportunities for healing and justice. (SF)



Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) is led by low-income people of color in the Chicago southland who are working to build power, and then subsequently leverage that power to fight for their own interest and liberation. They focus on criminal justice reform work and racial equity campaigns, including specific policy work. (SF)


Stop Solitary Coalition is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to end the punitive practice of solitary confinement throughout Illinois. This Critical Response Fund grant supports them in their work to move legislation through the IL State Legislature to end solitary confinement, and also host teach-ins on the issue to raise awareness and build public pressure for change. (CRF)



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






Christian Peacemaker Teams trains and places violence reduction teams in crisis situations and militarized areas around the world, and reports to the larger world community on these atrocities. These teams also support local peacemaking efforts through non-violent direct action and public witness. (SF)



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


The Illinois Coalition Against Torture is an association of individuals and community-based organizations whose goal is to end U.S. torture by state actors at all levels of government at home and abroad. These grants supported an event with Albert Woodfox, a member of the Angola Three who was held in solitary confinement for 43 years and recently released. (TA, PF)



National Boricua Human Rights Network raises awareness of human rights issues faced by the Puerto Rican community, including political prisoners and the preservation of civil liberties, while also focusing more broadly on the effects of colonization, international economic sanctions, and the ways gentrification is affecting the Chicago Puerto Rican community. This year, they were successful in winning the release of long-standing Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera, after 35 years of incarceration. (SF)






Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) is a grassrootscommunity 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. Their organizing was key to the passage of the Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights last year. (SF)



The Arab American Action Network (AAAN) strives to strengthen the Arab community in the Chicago area by building its capacity to be an active agent for positive social change. The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported rapid response organizing after the Muslim Ban was implemented. (CRF, YF, Donald F. Erickson Synapses Award)



The Chicago Law and Education Foundation (CLEF) provides direct access to legal services, resources, and education using a community based model that uses schools and libraries as community centers. The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported them in doing know-your-rights and legal support work with families facing deportation and experiencing fear around the increase in ICE raids. (SF, CRF)



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. They have been leading the work in Chicago around using the concept of “sanctuary” in congregations, neighborhoods, and other institutions.  (SF, TA)



Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA) brings together lawyers and community activists to increase the capacity and the use of the law toward achieving systematic changes. These partnerships include organizations working on immigration reform, street economies, and with day laborers. (SF)



The Hana Center works to empower Korean Americans, immigrants and multi-racial communities through social services, community organizing, culture and education to advance human rights. They are the hosts and fiscal sponsors of Beyond our Boundaries: the National Asian American Youth Organizing Summit, which brought together young people around the country to talk about Asian American youth organizing, and was supported by a Critical Response Fund grant. (CRF)



Immigrant Solidarity DuPage is a volunteer-driven organization in DuPage County working on issues related to immigration, bilingual education, police accountability, workers struggles and community health issues.(SF)



No More Deaths is a humanitarian organization based in southern Arizona that works to reduce the number of deaths of migrants in the desert crossing the border, and also fights for immigration reform. (PF)



Northern Illinois Justice for our Neighbors (NIJFON) provides free, high quality immigration legal service, education and advocacy in Aurora, Chicago and Rockford. The technical assistance grant they received supported them in improving their financial procedures at the staff and board level. (SF, TA)



Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD) works with individuals and families to fight harmful immigration enforcement practices through organizing, advocacy and direct action.  This is done through education, providing resources for immigrants facing deportation, reporting on immigration raids and working with elected officials to call for an end to raids on immigrant communities. The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported them in hosting a series of know-your-rights trainings to prepare the community for the increase in ICE raids and deportations, as well as other emergency work. (SF, CRF, GRAM, Lynda J. Tipton Award)



Proyecto de Accion de Los Suburbios del Oeste (PASO) serves West Cook County.  They focus on immigration reform, immigrant integration at the municipal level, know your rights trainings, community civic participation and other local campaigns against practices that adversely impact the community. The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported them in advocating for passage of Welcoming City ordinances in the western suburbs, including Oak Park and Summit. (CRF)


The Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project’s (SSIP)'s mission is to organize immigrants and their families in the southwest suburbs into empowerment, and does so through different initiatives such as education, civic engagement, and advocacy. (SF)






About Face Youth Theatre is an identity-affirming theatre activism program that supports LGBTQIA youth and their allies ages 14-23 in exploring and expanding the boxes we use to define our intricate intersections of race, nationality, gender and sexuality. (She100)



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, immigration reform, health and wellness and leadership development. (SF)



The Broadway Youth Center is a youth leadership project and a basic needs program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability. They provide medical, social and mental health care services as well as community for youth ages 12-24. (She100)


Nothing Without a Company produces innovative, thought-provoking and quality art that encourages audiences to think outside of the box. They especially support LGBTQIA artists by providing a safe and creative space for them to explore their voices and talents. (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)



Pride Action Tank is a results-driven group that addresses challenges facing individuals and groups within LGBTQIA communities through a collaborative process of inquiry, advocacy and action. Their work focuses on six overlapping issue areas: housing, health, safety, financial security, youth and aging. (SF)


Transformative Justice Law Project is a volunteer-run 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 and resources and training curriculum for lawyers and social workers, while organizing for policy change.The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported them in organizing the 2016 Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurred a few days after the 2016 presidential election. (SF, CRF)



Upswing Advocates uses an individualized, strengths-based approach to build skills and resilience in ways that strengthen and support the LGBTQIA community in and around Chicago. They are a research-focused organization that provides goal-focused coaching services. They also offer training to help professionals who are interested in building competence in working with people who are LGBTQIA. (She100)






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 technical assistance grant they received will assist them in reviewing their mission statement, vision and values to better represent their growing African-American constituency.  (SF, TA)



Chicago Community and Worker’s Rights (CCWR) is an organization led by workers, for workers, dedicated to educating, building leadership and gathering resources for collective strategies of resistance against labor rights abuses, just living conditions, and emergency support for workers in crisis. The Critical Response Fund grant they received supported them in providing additional know-your-rights trainings to the immigrant workers that they support. (SF, CRF)



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)



The Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago is an all-volunteer organization that supports the rights of sex workers and their communities and focuses on ending violence and stigma through education, advocacy, and peer support. (SF)


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, and are now working to construct a cooperative kitchen where vendors can share resources. (SF)



United Taxi Drivers Community Council (UTCC), with a mostly immigrant membership base, organizes taxi drivers to fight against lease overcharges, excessive police ticketing and unequal industry regulation by strengthening their collective rights. They received a technical assistance grant to support them in hiring a financial management consultant. (TA)





A Long Walk Home uses art therapy, visual and performing arts to engage young girls in campaigns to end dating and sexual violence/harassment against women and girls, both in their schools and communities. (YF, Cathy Cohen) 


Assata’s Daughters is a grassroots, intergenerational collective of radical Black women who provide mentoring and weekly programming for young Black women around the themes of Black history and ancestry, self-care and mindfulness, the environment, grassroots organizing, resistance, and activism.  They also help connect members to the current Black Lives Matter movement. (YF)



Chicago Desi Youth Rising (CDYR) is a summer leadership program for youth who trace their heritage to South Asia and the Diaspora that focuses on history, arts, and movement building for community resilience and youth empowerment. (TA)



Chicago Freedom School works to create a new generation of young people engaged in social justice through leadership development, study of past social movements and hands on engagement.This grant supported in particular Project HealUs, which activates and prepares fifteen young people of color to explore, engage and expand the work of the reproductive justice movement within their communities. (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. This grant supported their annual conference, “From Civil Rights to Black Power”. (YF)



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



Circles and Ciphers is a youth-led group that fuses restorative justice practices and principles with hip-hop arts and culture. They are engaged in school-based peacekeeping work and city-wide campaigns on issues of systemic violence affecting youth of color.The Critical Response Fund grant they received will help them connect community members to legal services, employment services, and spaces to heal, process and build solidarity. (SF, CRF, YF, GRAM)



Fighting Youth Shouting Out for Humanity (FYSH) is the Hana Center’s youth council that engages in education, analysis building, self-expression and collective action towards change for youth and their communities. They have been working on a “Decolonize CPS” campaign to create and implement curriculum in CPS high schools that better represents the lived experiences of youth of color. They presented on this work at this year’s Bending the Arc gathering. (YF, Bending the Arc)



Imagine Englewood If seeks to empower the greater Englewood community through teaching youth and families healthy living, environmental awareness and positive communications skills. This Youth Fund grant supported their Growing Citizen Leads (GCL) program, which gives participants a deeper understanding of the connection between systemic discrimination and the current situation in their own neighborhood and the impetus to work for change. (YF)



Mikva Challenge develops youth to be informed, empowered and active citizens and community leaders. They do this by engaging youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process build on youth voice and youth expertise. This Youth Fund grant supported the work of their Youth Councils, who were focused on increasing youth input in After School Matters programming, restorative justice and creating a mental health toolkit for young people in CPS schools. (YF)



OLLIN is the youth component of the Telpochcalli Community Education Project, and encompasses their after school programming, their youth leadership group and peer mentorship. This Youth Fund grant in particular supports their Girl Talk and Boys Circles, and the Little Village Non-Violence Summer Institute. (YF)



ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that builds collective power to eliminate injustice through bold and innovative community organizing. This Youth Fund grant supported their Youth Leadership Development and Organizing Project, whose work focuses on overpolicing and police accountability. (YF)


{she crew} is a multidisciplinary journaling-to-performance empowerment program for young girls in Chicago, ages 12-14. Their year-round, free leadership development programs focus on social justice, writing, collaborative skills and empowerment. (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)



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. (SF, YF)



Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) seeks 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 western suburbs of Naperville, Aurora, DeKalb and surrounding areas by providing community education workshops to counteract heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia. The technical assistance grant they received supported them in sending staff to the Fundraising Professionals International Conference. (SF, YF, TA)







The Chicago Youth Storage Initiative seeks 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. The Chicago Youth Storage Initiative's mission is achieved through collaboration, coordination, and technical assistance. This includes strategic partnerships, launching and/or assisting programs with the implementation of storage programs, evaluation, and educating communities about youth homelessness.  Solutions include secure storage units at overnight youth shelters, drop-in centers, and schools; daily/overnight storage access with phone charging capabilities; virtual or cloud-based storage; and more.

The Chicago Youth Storage Initiative (CYSI) was founded by the Pierce Family Foundation, Knight Family Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, and Windy City Times. The project is housed at the Crossroads Fund. Several additional foundations contribute 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.


The Broadway Youth Center is a youth leadership project and a basic needs program for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability. They provide medical, social and mental health care services as well as community for youth ages 12-24. (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)



El Rescate’s Transitional Living Program at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center is a community-based, grassroots, educational, health and cultural services organization that provides culturally appropriate, identity-affirming housing for homeless LGBTQ youth ages 18-24. (CYSI)



La Casa Norte meets youth and families experiencing homelessness where they’re at and helps them move along to increased stability. They provide access to stable housing and deliver comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities. (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. This technical assistance grant supported them in building their fundraising and development capacity. (TA)


The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that works to provide housing, health care and human connection to members of our community struggling with poverty or homelessness. Phoenix Hall is their newest housing program. (CYSI)



Northwest Compass supports neighbors in crisis in the northwest suburbs. They provide emergency services, education and empowerment to people who are vulnerable or in crisis. (CYSI)


Teen Living Programs focuses exclusively on 14-24 year olds who are experiencing homelessness on Chicago’s south side, and offers comprehensive, year-round support services to clients that address emergency needs, housing, education, job readiness and embracing a healthy lifestyle. (CYSI)


Unity Parenting & Counseling, Inc. has been providing housing and social services to Chicago's most vulnerable children, youth and adults for over 30 years. They offer a range of services in the areas of foster and kinship care, violence prevention and parenting training, housing for homeless youth and families and emergency shelter. (CYSI)


Click to see past grantee lists.