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Pictured from left to right: (front) Barbara Resendiz, Ruth Maciulis, Caroline Wooten, Cherie Lockett, Erica Knox, Michael Aguhar (middle) Felicia Slaton-Young, LaTierra Piphus, Robin Semer, Jessie Robinson, Gaby Wagener-Sobrero, Wendy Weinstock Brown, Jessica Barrett, Anjali Misra, Tomás Uriostegui (back) Aisha Truss-Miller, Meredith Coulter, Lena Singer, Elli Krandel, Bill Lamme, Jake Wild Crea, Jonah Krischer, Gabriel Jones, Jazmin Garcia, Erica Lynette Edwards, Lizette Garza, Jane Kimondo (not pictured: Jojo Galvan, Mike Strode)

Crossroads Fund is excited to announce that the 2020 Giving Project cohort raised $174,116 - a new record! This multi-racial, cross-class, intersectional group of 24 people faced an unprecedented challenge by raising these funds while sheltering-in-place as existing inequalities intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the group rose to the occasion and demonstrated organizing by pooling resources from 355 donors to be in solidarity with movement groups.  

“Being a part of Crossroads Fund's 2020 Giving Project cohort transformed my understanding of mutual aid. I’m thankful for the guidance that staff gave us to direct our energy around donor organizing and participatory grant-making during such a critical time for supporting our communities’ health and safety. I learned that pre-existing inequalities were only being exacerbated by the pandemic, and that solidarity efforts (such as the Giving Project) are important antidotes. It was an incredible opportunity to show up alongside fellow Chicagoans and help amplify collective liberation work through impactful giving.” 

- Anjali Misra, 2020 Giving Project participant

In the current moment where corporations and the wealthy are exploiting disaster capitalism to extract even more from Black and brown communities, the Giving Project granted these funds to 36 organizations who are in the streets challenging the very foundations of white supremacy and racial capitalism. These grantees are leading the calls to defund the police, constructing mutual aid networks to support those most impacted by the pandemic, and are galvanizing a radical imagination to cultivate communities of care.

The 2020 Giving Project listens to Jane Kimondo's instructions during an introductory activity in January 2020.

“During the pandemic and uprisings, there are/were moments when I felt powerless; crushed that my experiences and that of my people would never matter in a nation that took so much from us, and has done nothing to reconcile its moral and financial debts. The Giving Project gave space for me to voice my rage of deprivation and acknowledge my privilege- to feel it and work through it, constructively. Learning about the work of dope-as-f* grassroots agencies fighting for transformative change and freedom, and the teaching-learning within the GP cohort helped to restore my hope, when I had lost all hope for change. Reflecting on the GP experience helps me LIVE (beyond simply surviving) through the pandemic and the pain of disparity, ignorance and tolerance of anti-Black violence and oppression, and the heartbreak of gun-violence in our city. When I was overcome with feelings of powerlessness it was the Giving Project that fostered a space for me to exercise my leadership and power in the struggle for liberation, when no other spaces could or would. I am forever grateful for the entire experience.”

- Aisha Truss-Miller, 2020 Giving Project participant

The Giving Project program is part of Crossroads Fund’s commitment to racial justice. Through staff-facilitated training on white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and power, the cohort centers the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and nuanced discussions dive deep into the realities of structural oppression in our society. The cohort explored how race and class show up in fundraising and grantmaking. Each participant made a meaningful gift and mobilized their networks to support grassroots organizations in Chicago fighting for racial justice. Join us in congratulating them on their boldness and determination to fund groups fighting on the front lines for change.

 

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The Giving Project is an innovative model for democratizing philanthropy and grassroots organizing. Through political education that explores race and class, alumni of the Giving Project are equipped with fundraising and grantmaking skills, to be stronger advocates in raising money for progressive movements. Since 2015, the Giving Project program has raised more than $650,000 from over 1,000 donors

Crossroads Fund is a public foundation that supports grassroots organizations for racial, social, and economic justice.

Tue, Aug 04, 2020

Crossroads Fund is excited to announce that we awarded $81,000 in grants to twenty-three organizations through our Youth Fund for Social Change (Youth Fund) in 2020. These impactful youth-led movements are fearlessly challenging Chicago’s unjust systems by imagining bold solutions to build community and heal in a time of uncertainty. 

In 2008, Crossroads Fund launched the Youth Fund to confirm our commitment to supporting the vision and voices of our city’s young people. Since then, we have granted over $500,000 to more than 100 organizations whose innovative activism and resistance has left an indelible mark on Chicago. Some of these movements include the 2010 launch of the Immigrant Youth Justice League's "Coming Out of the Shadows" as undocumented and unafraid campaign, We Charge Genocide’s visit to the United Nations to present a report on the brutality of the Chicago Police Department in 2014, Fearless Leading by the Youth's (FLY) organizing victory to open a trauma center on Chicago's Southside in 2015, and the recent #NoCopAcademy campaign challenging the construction of a new police academy and galvanizing the city in a call for schools for kids, not for cops. 

This year’s awardees are carrying this legacy forward in building cross-connected movements for racial, social, and economic justice in the face of climate change’s looming existential threat. In spite of this, young people are cultivating new ways of healing through art, developing creative new ways to protest and resist the prevailing power structures, and doing all of this with an irresistible sense of hope. Join us in celebrating and supporting the work of these inspiring groups:

A Long Walk Home

About Face Theatre

Alliance of the SouthEast (ASE)

Arab American Action Network (AAAN)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago

Chicago Desi Youth Rising

Chicago Freedom School

Cicero Independiente

Circles & Ciphers

Club Taji Ciudad Hidalgo

Free Street Theater

Free Write Arts & Literacy

Hana Center

ONE Northside

she crew

Solidarity Studios

Southside Together Organizing for Power

Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL)

Student Coalition for Reproductive Justice

Territory NFP

The Warehouse Project & Gallery

Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP)

Youth Outlook

Thu, Jul 16, 2020

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tony McDade

Say their names and add these to the tragic list of Black people murdered by police and white supremacists. These state-sanctioned murders continue the unabated legacy of violence against Black people in the United States. This violence, simultaneously occurring while COVID-19 is decimating Black and Brown communities due to the negligence of elected officials, has pushed community members to their limits. Young people, organizers, neighbors, activists, and others rose up and voiced their rage over the last few days in Chicago.

In response, the police erupted in violence with the full support of Chicago’s mayor. The juxtaposition of medical professionals desperately begging for personal protective equipment during a pandemic while militarized police were fully equipped in armor to battle protestors over the weekend is staggering.

Crossroads Fund stands in solidarity with protestors’ demands for the dismantling of white supremacy, the immediate divestment from carceral racial capitalism, and investment in the things that actually keep people safe: reparations, food, housing for all, healthcare, police-free schools, transformative justice practices, accessibility and more. We will continue to support movements for racial, social, and economic justice by listening to the demands of protesters and funding the grassroots organizations who are imagining a more just future that is yet to come.

Meanwhile, we invite you to support local grassroots organizing. Please find our list of grantees here or contact us if you have questions.

And/Or consider making a gift to Crossroads Fund’s work of supporting local movements even when the limelight has dimmed.

Wed, Jun 03, 2020

Amid a shelter-in-place order due to COVID19 in mid-March, Crossroads Fund’s annual Spring benefit went virtual. The week-long celebration included a LIVE DJ set, online silent auction, and awards presentation. On May 5, Crossroads fund staff hosted a Virtual Grassroots Fundraising Webinar, where we shared lessons learned and best practices. You can access the webinar recording on-demand here or stream it below.

Also, Sarah Best Strategy wrote a blog, "5 Tips for Moving Events Online," summarizing their top takeaways from Crossroads Fund’s pivot online, with embedded social media examples. Read it here.

 

Wed, May 06, 2020

credit: @itsmonicatrinidad

 

 

Dear Friend,

We hope that you are well and that you have what you need. These times, while filled with uncertainty, remind us that community building and resistance are essential.

It is now clear that the harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is not equally distributed. Individuals who are incarcerated, undocumented, part of the informal economy, living in poverty, attending under-resourced schools, are all facing the dual threats of contracting the virus and an inability to meet basic needs.

Amid the pandemic, Crossroads Fund grantees have stepped up to respond to the lack of safety nets for the most vulnerable. The response is through: mutual aid support to ensure community members have information and survival resources; organizing to free people from Cook County Jail to escape the COVID-19 outbreak; organizing to push Chicago Housing Authority to open vacant public housing to the homeless; and inviting people to share their stimulus checks with those excluded and in need. These mutual aid actions have a political analysis and are not based in a charity framework as articulated here by Dean Spade, a leading proponent of “Solidarity, not Charity.”

Since the March 2020 mandated shelter-in-place order by Governor J.B. Pritzker, we adjusted our grantmaking to shorten the approval time of grants, increased grant dollar amounts, and invited groups to apply to our Critical Response Fund.

Crossroads Fund has led two rounds of rapid response funding cycles. Through the Critical Response Fund, we have given $124,500 to 34 grassroots groups. Read the full list here.

We partnered with local foundations that support community organizing to create a Technology Funders Collaborative Fund. The fund offered support to mitigate the digital divide by providing funds for digital access and accompanying technology in a moment when meeting virtually is a necessity.

Additionally, the Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) was a month-long fundraising campaign during the month of May to support the work of 43 independent media organizations who are facing revenue shortfalls of up to 85% during this crisis. These media outlets are essential to the many organizations in Chicago building movements for racial, social, and economic justice as the outlets highlight the stories and needs of community members often ignored by major media outlets. Crossroads Fund is providing administrative and fiscal support to CIMA.

Crossroads Fund is also supporting COVID RRT Chicago and GetMePPE Chicago, which are rapid response networks of more than 800 medical students in Chicago who are identifying ways to meet the gaps in prevention of the spread of COVID-19 for critical populations of people. COVID RRT established a strong model for testing for the cornavirus in overnight shelters and is now working closely with public health officials to replicate in more shelters across Chicago. COVID-RRT is also providing testing in the undocumented community and is helping to support decarceration efforts in ICE facilities through a medical-legal partnership. GetMePPE Chicago effectively, efficiently, and equitably distributes both local and crowdfunded donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals and community organizations in need. Similarly, Crossroads Fund is providing administrative and fiscal support to COVID RRT and GetMePPE Chicago.

Finally, we cannot thank you, our supporters, enough -- you came through to make our virtual Seeds of Change fundraiser a success. The week-long celebration included a LIVE DJ set, online silent auction, and awards presentation. On Tuesday, May 5, Crossroads Fund staff hosted a Virtual Grassroots Fundraising Webinar, where we shared lessons learned and best practices. You can find access to the webinar recording on-demand here.

Also, Sarah Best Strategy wrote a blog, "5 Tips for Moving Events Online," summarizing their top takeaways from Crossroads Fund’s pivot online, with embedded social media examples. Read it here.

Times like these clarify our mission to stand in solidarity with those that our government systematically ignores. We are grateful to be in community with you. Please consider a gift to Crossroads Fund so that we can continue to be a reliable funder for change in Chicago.

#changenotcharity

If you received a stimulus check and it has allowed you to have additional resources, please consider donating it - or a portion of it - to Crossroads Fund. This grassroots stimulus gift will support building movements for racial, social, and economic justice.

Thu, Apr 23, 2020