Denise Ferguson, Monthly Sustainer
North Lawndale, Chicago
“When people start a project in the community, they transfer those skills to others, and the work continues. Crossroads Fund’s work is not centered on an individual but on the community and the issues. And that’s what I appreciate about the giving of the money, is that I know that it will live beyond me, and that’s important to me”
My name is Denise Ferguson. I live in Lawndale. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
What is something that you love about Chicago?
I love Chicago. I especially love the people. I love that most things are done inter-generationally. And I love the fact that people are so incredibly helpful. I’m a sustainer at Crossroads Fund, primarily because of the staff. They do what they say they will do and they are serving the community in a way that I find to be really affirming.
Why are you a monthly sustainer at Crossroads Fund?
And I know that the money is going to go for community change. If I had any doubt that the contribution was being used in a way that was not appropriate, I would not give. I think that any time someone gives, no matter how small or how grand the gift, they really want to know that when they come back in two weeks, things are going to be a little bit different and it really does help people do the work.
Specifically, I care about building leadership and leaving a legacy. I think that when people start a project in the community, they transfer those skills to other people in the community and the work continues. Crossroads Fund’s work is not centered on an individual, it’s centered around the community and around the issues. And that’s what I really appreciate about the giving of the money, is that I know that it’s going to live beyond me and that’s really important to me.
And then the other part is I don’t have to do the work – everybody else is doing the work. I’ve just given a little bit of money so that’s important to me, that I help. I want to do my part and I really wish I could do more, you know, financially, but I figured out where I could give without it hurting all the other places where I give.
And I’m satisfied that Crossroads Fund is making sure that the money goes to the grantees and to the work that they’ve identified. I also appreciate that they’re not telling people what to do or what to fund. They tell us what they’re doing, and then they ask us so we can support it. Crossroads Fund doesn’t have that kind of criteria where they’re demanding things that people are not, that’s not really a part of what they need to focus on.
Transcript has been edited for clarity.