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LtoR: Cindy Ibarra, Jeanne Kracher, Karen Lewis, and Veronica Morris-Moore. Photo credit: Sarah-Ji


Karen Lewis came up through the rank and file, from her experience as an educator in the classroom to her leadership as President of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). Karen taught us to be bold, courageous, and unapologetic about fighting for the issues that affect Chicagoans every day - poverty, race, inequality, discrimination, violence. She reminded us to center youth, parents, families, and the communities where we all live. 


Former Crossroads Fund Executive Director Jeanne Kracher and Karen Lewis. Photo credit: Sarah-Ji


Crossroads Fund honored Karen and the CTU in 2013 with the Ron Sable Award for Activism at our annual benefit, Seeds of Change.  While her loss saddens us, we remember her mandate to fight for that which is just, as she implored us to in her acceptance speech;


Activism means something, it means that you don’t sit down when you see injustice, it means that you don’t turn an eye to issues that are problematic, and it means that you do take a stand.- Karen Lewis, Seeds of Change 2013

 Karen Lewis makes remarks with CTU leadership on stage. Photo credit: Sarah-Ji

Go well, Karen, rest easy, and may the ancestors welcome you.

Tue, Feb 09, 2021

Crossroads Fund log and tagline featuring activists at a protest in Pilsen

Amidst a global pandemic, a time in which we oscillate between being completely and fully hopeful to moments of anxiety, we welcome our 40th Anniversary with awe, joy, optimism, and gratitude for the community we have created along the way. 

In 1981, the founders of Crossroads Fund formed a public foundation that believed in deconstructing systems at their root by supporting grassroots organizing, sharing decision-making power with informed community grantmaking, joyfully redistributing their wealth, funding rapid responses to community needs, and championing change, not charity. These guiding principles continue to be our north star.


In 2021 we will have a year-long celebration of what we have collectively accomplished, the many organizing wins that have been achieved, and the communities and individuals that have been part of our history with a keen eye to the 40 years ahead.


We welcome you to join us in celebrating 40 years rooted in radical change and in recommitting ourselves to sustain liberation movements. Be on the lookout for all the events and opportunities we have lined up in 2021.


Throughout the year, we will be featuring videos by friends of Crossroads Fund saluting our milestone. Here is a short compilation to kick us off! 



We invite you to join the celebration of our 40th Anniversary by submitting a video too. Submit here.


In celebration and gratitude,

Jane Kimondo

Executive Director

Wed, Jan 27, 2021


Crossroads Fund Community,

The events of 2020 have made it abundantly clear that the world as we know it is no longer sustainable, and that our institutions are not serving the many. Author and political activist Arundhati Roy described the pandemic as a portal, and that is indeed a fitting metaphor for 2020. On one side lies the failures of essential systems to provide for people and the inevitable results: millions of deaths due to mishandled public health efforts; social uprisings against generations of state sanctioned violence; devastating fires and floods from climate change and environmental degradation; and national elections that simultaneously repudiated harmful policies while also endorsing centrist beliefs that will not get us to the collective liberation that this moment demands. We acknowledge these widespread harms while inviting you to step through the portal to explore the other side and discover what else is possible.

Crossroads Fund and our grantee partners are committed to building a just world. Each year we are honored to collaborate with these grantees who are already working toward a new future. Every day they inch closer to a generative, supportive, and sustainable society that works for all people. They organize, build power, and cultivate joy while also mitigating the harms caused by extraction and violence. This work includes: 

  • Reimagining economic systems that prioritize people over profits by establishing and educating communities on cooperative economic models
  • Ensuring housing is a right by halting evictions, demanding rent control, preventing gentrification, organizing to utilize vacant public housing, and demanding community benefits agreements that prioritize long time-residents alongside new development
  • Addressing the carceral systems head on by removing police from schools, demanding the reallocation of resources from the police to communities, ending money bond, and cutting ties between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and city government to stop deportations
  • Creating culture through film festivals, performance, photography, video, and music
  • Caring for people and cultivating solidarity through mutual aid, food, and cash assistance

We are proud of all the 136 strong, committed, courageous and unapologetic grantees; for all that they do in the spotlight and behind the scenes. They are all essential in the work of movement building and paving the way toward a future world that we all deserve.


Jane Kimondo

Executive Director

Mon, Dec 07, 2020

Photo by Alexis Sanchez-Boyzo (June 2020)


After a historic voter turnout, the presidency of Donald J. Trump is coming to an end. In January, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris will be Vice President, a historic first for women, Black, and Asian American communities. All across the country, people voted in record numbers. Still, it was the overwhelming support of Black, brown, and indigenous voters that got the electoral votes needed to win. We take time to pause and exhale.


However, we cannot negate the terror and violence against marginalized communities during the past four years. Instead of looking away, we have to face the painful truth that our country is broken and that the cracks made visible under Trump were made long before he took office. 


Looking to the next four years, we resolve to continue funding grassroots groups fighting to build an equitable society that treats every person with dignity and cares for the most vulnerable. A Biden presidential win is not a reason to stop supporting resistance movements. The wins on Election Day are the direct result of people taking to the streets and organizing against every bad policy, every threat to civil liberties, and every gasoline-fueled fire of division by the outgoing administration. Organizing is how we win and there is so much at stake.


We echo the calls from organizers and activists for bold visionary policies that will bring us closer to collective liberation. The global pandemic has emphasized the need for universal health care and financial safety nets. The increasing frequency and intensity of climate catastrophes mean that we are overdue for nothing less than a Green New Deal. The stock market's resilience, while millions of people are unemployed and housing insecure, demands that we reign in the racial wealth divide. The violence that Black and brown people across the country experience at the hands of police and the carceral system calls us to shift resources and build restorative and transformative justice models. The time to act is now. 


Join us and our grantee partners in fighting for a just world; we are in it for the long haul regardless of who is in the White House today or after January 20th.


La lucha continua! The struggle continues!


What You Can Do Right Now


Electoral politics alone will not free us; organizing will. Please consider a gift to Crossroads Fund so that we can continue to fund the intersectional organizing and movements we need for liberation.


Apply to the Critical Response Fund

To meet the needs of communities hit hardest by this political moment, Crossroads Fund has re-opened our Critical Response Fund. The fund will provide organizations with resources to protect, empower and support community members in this time of crisis. In addition, we seek to support work that radically reimagines community care, expands our notion of what is possible, and orients toward building the world we need.

Deadline: November 23, 2020


Let's take a moment in community to breathe and learn about ways to support grassroots movements for thefights ahead. Please register today to join us on Wednesday, November 18th at 4:30pm for our Post Election Community Care Night. 

Mon, Nov 09, 2020


Crossroads Fund is excited to welcome five dynamic leaders to our Board of Directors! These individuals bring a wealth of experience in a variety of fields to Crossroads Fund as we continue supporting organizers and activists in this unprecedented political moment. Since our founding in 1981, Crossroads Fund has served as an anchor organization for movement building by pooling resources and moving money to support underfunded and necessary organizing for racial, social, and economic justice in Chicago.

Learn more about the movements and organizations that received a grant from Crossroads Fund.

Meet our newest Board members below.

Makkah Ali is a Director on the Managed Organizations team at Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic advisory firm that works with partners to develop, structure, and maximize the impact of charitable projects. In this role, she provides operational and management support to non-profit organizations and fiscally sponsored charitable projects. Prior to joining Arabella, Makkah served as Grants Manager at the El-Hibri Foundation where she managed all stages of the annual grants cycle and facilitated learning and collaboration opportunities between grantees. In her spare time, Makkah co-hosts the Identity Politics Podcast which features new stories and perspectives at the intersection of race, gender, and Muslim life in America. She previously served as President of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and was a proud participant in the 2019 Giving Project.
Cecile DeMello is a community organizer, community developer, and policy maker working to uplift communities on the South and West side of Chicago. Currently the Executive Director of Teamwork Englewood, previously Cecile was Co-Executive Director of Blocks Together for 10 years, a Crossroads Fund grantee. She is also currently serving as the acting Englewood Quality of Life Plan Project Manager at Teamwork Englewood. She holds a Masters in Not for Profit Management and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from UIC.

Lee Andel Dewey (they/them) provides sliding-scale-to-free accounting, bookkeeping, and consultation services under their business, LADhoc Accounting. They are an organizer, activist, and advocate for the trans/gender nonconforming, queer, and HIV+ communities, all of which they are a part, laboring in collaboration and support of those which they are not. Their activism is focused upon anti-racism, anti-bigotry, the abolition of the police, prisons, and related systems of oppression, and towards effecting positive radical change. Lee is the Lead Organizer/Facilitator for CommunityCave Chicago, the Treasurer of the Board for Upswing Advocates, and a Community Advisory Board Member for AIDS Foundation Chicago. They are a passionate, year round commuter cyclist, a fair weather artist, enamoured with the outdoors, and always in search of their next dance floor.


Brenda Hernandez is a Chicago-based Mexican educator and cultural worker. She is currently Co-Director of the Allied Media Conference and AMSeeds convenings of Allied Media Project. Brenda has curated neighborhood programming for Chicago Artist Month, Yollocalli Arts Reach, FMEL, Soul Togetherness and the Chicago Humanities Festival. She has written on the intersection of art, education and youth advocacy for A.R.E.A.  and Contratiempo Magazine. Brenda was a member of the Crossroads Fund Giving Project in 2018; and is a Board Member of the Public Media Institute.
Muhammad Sankari, the child of Arab immigrants from Lebanon, is the current Lead Organizer at the Arab American Action Network where he has worked since 2010. Currently he helps guide the youth-led campaign to End Racial Profiling which focuses on combatting specific tools that law enforcement uses to surveil, entrap, and oppress memebers of the Arab & Muslim communities of the Chicagoland area.

View our full Board of Directors here.

Mon, Sep 28, 2020